Monday, November 30, 2009

Newcastle's Convict Legacy

Dear Newcastle Councillors,

Item 44:  DA 08/ 1160 Newcastle Council Meeting Tuesday

I hadn’t thought that I would have to write to you so soon after wishing you each the compliments of the season - but this matter is of National importance as well as being germane to Newcastle’s image.

With the work and vision of previous Councils in mind we call on Newcastle Councillors, the General Manager and the Council officers to consider the importance of our convict legacy and its contribution to the foundation of our City and to the wealth of our Nation and to protect the integrity of this uniquely Newcastle site.

Doug Lithgow
Parks & Playgrounds Movement Inc

Dear Councillors,

Item 44_ DA 08/1160 Newcastle Council Meeting Tuesday

Thanks for bringing this matter to our attention, it is of great importance to the City that we follow through with the vision of the 1990's Council policy and plans for the site. Subsequent Councils have been strangely unable to give direction to the future and have lacked policy direction. The present council by making determinations at officer level have been remiss and further muddy the vision.

Our letter Attached and its addendum showing the Council plan and its Axonometric View for the layout of the site Dated 1994 together with the details of the funding that has produced the significant  parkland area demonstrates the progressive nature of that former Council.

Our advice at this stage is that the building on the area proposed as Lot 4 be refused and the proposal be referred to the Commonwealth Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts under the EPBC Act for their consideration given the area's potential National and World Heritage significance and the fact that the Commonwealth provided the major share of the funding for the restoration and landscaping of the site. Parks and Playgrounds Movement ask Council to positively implement the vision so clearly presented by the former 1990’s Council for the Convict Stockade/Lumberyard. The vision and strategy are shown in the illustrations in our July letter  and in the extract from ‘The Newcastle Experience’ A Newcastle Council Publication included.

We hope Councillors will be appreciative of our submission and give earnest consideration to this important matter and bring the vision of the Convict Stockade/Lumberyard site to fruition by beginning the process of acquisition of the new Lot 4 which is vital to the future image of the city.

Yours sincerely
Doug Lithgow
Convict Lumberyard - Objection to Building on the adjacent Lot 4 to the east [PDF format]

Friday, November 27, 2009

2009 - 57th Annual Report of the Parks and Playgrounds Movement

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

57th Annual Report Parks and Playgrounds Movement Inc

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I must thank my committee for their tireless work in the past year especially our secretary Pat Hide and Treasurer Suska Scobie also committee members Helen Smith David Horkan David Griffin, Robyn Millington and Bev Southern.

Every conservationist knows of the threat of global warming to our environment. We have known of it since being warned in 1959 by Australia’s eminent CSIRO upper Atmosphere research scientist David F Martyn in his ABC lectures “Society in the Space Age”. We the people of this planet seem powerless to change our carbon footprint and bring human populations and their demands on earth’s resources into a sustainable pattern. Does our civilisation just have to wait for environmental disasters and be ready pick up the pieces?

We believe that conservationists must redouble their efforts to protect our local and regional environments for tomorrow’s people and support those leaders who are working to see we have a future global environment worth living in. I would say we have only this generation to become sustainable.

Parks and Playgrounds Movement have over its life dedicated itself to that task. We acknowledge the wider threats and we do what we can but as a Parks Movement are in despair that the hard day to day conservation work of stopping alienation of public lands and parks and protecting naturalness and supporting altruistic planning is being made more difficult by so-called reforms like Part 3A which are about facilitation for speculators and not planning.

The Movement has kept in touch with our colleague conservations in the peak organisations: National Trust of Australia the ACF and the Total Environment Centre the Nature Conservation Council. And we have continued to support the Save Our Rail people and the Port Stephens Environment Lobby. It is good to see your committee members at the Green Corridor meetings.

We have been particularly active on the University Coal River Working Party.

I have represented the Movement on the Fernleigh Track joint Committee with the Newcastle and Lake Councils and on the Newcastle Environmental Advisory Panel and the Green Point Reserve Committee. Newcastle has restructured its committees under two committees of the whole with ten advisory committees to be appointed. The Movement has not nominated for representatives on any of the ten committees but the new committee should review this.

To give you some idea with the problems of park alienation you need to look no further that Enterprise Park / Convict Stockade and the Foreshore at Lynches Prawns which were surreptitiously zoned for mixed commercial in the CBD LEP 2008. The new buildings at Fort Scratchley that had no Local Council approval and at the Merewether Beach Pavilion and Beach front land are matters indicating wrong conduct. These issues are reminiscent of the problems the community had at Green Point with the Cardiff Coal Company interlopers.

The extent of the Merewether Estate Old System Title Land including Beach Pavilion Site

This year was the 150 anniversary of Local Government in Newcastle. The Movement is disappointed that the Newcastle Foundation Monument concept has not progressed and is embarrassing that there is no public place dedicated to the foundation stories which are so mixed up in the public mind. We had proposed that the monument reflect the concept of the 1909 Borough Council Jubilee Monument (Coal Monument) by symbolising the four foundation stories. How can Newcastle present itself to the world if it is confused about its foundation.

* Muloobinbah – Aboriginal dreamtime and place of sea fern.
* Coal River 1797-Shortland’s discovery of ‘a very fine coal river’.
* Coal Harbour 1801–First settlement at Colliers Point
* Newcastle 1804-Permanent settlement established under Lieutenant C Menzies.

Councillors are the trustees of Enterprise Park at Watt and Scott Street which is a crown reserve R97943. They were appointed Trustee for the reserve and notified in the Gov. Gazette 23/11/90.
Enterprise Park was the first part of the Newcastle Harbour Foreshore Scheme landscaped and dedicated in 1986 to mark the centenary of the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce and Industry 1886 – 1968. These lands are held for the benefit of the General Public of Newcastle and the historic Convict Lumberyard actually extends into Enterprise Park. An amendment to the City Centre LEP 2008 to correct this matter is absolutely essential.

Enterprise Park and the Convict site perform important roles in the life of the City. The area provides a distinctive setting for the surrounding historic buildings and also protects the archaeological relics of early Newcastle. The park is well managed by Council in keeping with an approved Plan of Management. We want the Council act as true trustees and protect the parklands for the benefit of the City and the community.

The Movement reinvigorated its work on the corridors for conservation concept following the successful Judgment in the Gwandalan Action Group V Minister for Planning, which sets out a clear chronology of events. We also adopted the Newcastle Old Town Strategy which has been widely circulated. We must work hard in the New Year for a new lower Hunter Strategy and:

(a) Campaign to have the NSW State Government recognise and establish a biodiversity corridor for conservation from Stockton Bight through the Hunter estuary to the Sugarloaf Range, and a biodiversity corridor for conservation in the Wyong/Lake Macquarie buffer zone from the Wallarah Peninsular to the Watagans.

(b) Urge the NSW Government to amend the existing statutory Hunter Regional Environmental Plan 1989 and any future Lower Hunter Planning Strategy , to include these corridors as inviolate conservation zones and to dedicate Nature Reserves, National Parks Regional Parks and State Conservation Areas within these corridors.

(c) Reaffirm its support for the retention of passenger rail services to the historic Newcastle Railway Station and recommend to the NSW Government that the Regional Planning Strategy encourage urban development adjacent to railway stations in the rail transport corridor.

In response to the divisive HDC Renewal Report March 2009, Parks and Playgrounds Movement decided to promote the Newcastle Old Town Strategy. This strategy should not be construed to suggest that existing university facilities that relate to the Civic Area be relocated. However it does make it quite clear that we firmly believe that the Legal facilities should remain in the old town and that the rail must stay as part of a Transit Orientated future city and district and that the unique unity of the old town must be identified maintained and promoted.

Acknowledgement: Architectural illustrations by Charles Martin

Newcastle needs a City Strategy that combines the completion of the Area 1 of the 1981 Joy Cummings Newcastle Foreshore winning design public domain and the identification and promotion of Newcastle’s proud heritage and history and the formation of a Cathedral, University, and Legal sector within the Old Town Newcastle serving a modern transit orientated and multi centred Newcastle urban district.

The Movement notes that the URGE ‘United Residents for the Environment of Lake Macquarie’ is to disband. The Movement has been very active through URGE and well represented on their Management Committee. Our former Treasurer the late Jack Shield was Chair of URGE. However like many voluntary groups it has to fall to a small band of dedicated people to keep it working. Peter Morris the current chair and his wife Vicky have done sterling work with URGE and we wish them well for their hard earned rest and challenge ahead.

It was during Heritage Week 1987 (8/4/87) that the Movement called a Public Meeting at Warners Bay which was attended by over 200 people. That meeting established a working party to co-ordinate the many interest groups with concern for the welfare of the Lake Macquarie Environment and formulate a constitution. Another public meeting with over 200 people on the 24th of July, 1987 officially launched URGE.

On this 20th anniversary of the Newcastle Earthquake it is interesting to read the Aftermath Report I made for the Citizens Earthquake Action Croup and the Movement exactly one year after the event and the problems that faced the city and its people. The City was closed off, the railway was cut at Broadmeadow and the many buildings arbitrarily demolished. The issue was brought to a head with the George Hotel and the Carrington Chambers court injunction but the buildings were razed to the ground to prevent them being assessed by the National Trust heritage engineer Colin Crisp.

I thank my Committee and all members for their support and wish you well in the future.

Click here for the PDF version of this Report -
Click here for the TEXT only version of this Report -

Doug Lithgow
Parks and Playgrounds Movement Inc

Monday, November 16, 2009

Enterprise Park

Councillors and Officers of the Newcastle City Council
Newcastle City Council;
City Hall and Administrative Centre
King Street

Dear Officers and Councillors,

Council is trustee for Enterprise Scott and Watt Streets Newcastle

Parks and Playgrounds Movement are sharply aware that probity and good management are the hallmarks of successful Local Government.

Councillors as the Newcastle City Council are the trustees of Enterprise Park at Watt and Scott Street which is a crown reserve R97943. Council was appointed Trustee for the reserve and notified in the Gov. Gazette 23/11/90.

Enterprise Park was the first part of the Newcastle Harbour Foreshore Scheme landscaped and it was dedicated in 1986 to mark the centenary of the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce and Industry 1886 – 1968 in appreciation to its service to the Newcastle Region. These lands are held for the benefit of the General Public of Newcastle. The historic Convict Lumberyard actually extends into Enterprise Park

The current problem was caused unintentionally during the drafting the City Centre Local Environmental Plan 2008. The error was only discovered at the end of the last Council’s term and I understand that an amendment to the City Centre LEP 2008 to correct this matter has been proposed.

Enterprise Park and the Convict site perform important roles in the life of the City. The area has been landscaped to provide a distinctive setting for the surrounding historic buildings and also protects the archaeological relics of early Newcastle. The area is well managed by Council in keeping with an approved Plan of Management.

Parks and Playgrounds Movement asks Council to inform the NSW Department of Lands that it intends to remain the trustee of Enterprise Park and continue to maintain the area as a historic park for the benefit of the City and its community.

We trust that Council will continue to remain trustees for this historic area of Newcastle.

Yours Sincerely,
Doug Lithgow
Freeman of the City of Newcastle
Parks and Playgrounds Movement

Newcastle’s Convict Lumberyard and Enterprise Park are important city parks

Enterprise Park was the first part of the Newcastle Harbour Foreshore Park completed in 1986 to mark the centenary of service to the Newcastle Region by the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce and Industry 1886-1986. It was zoned for openspace in 1960 and the Open Space 6 (a) Zone should be restored as the appropriate zone for the park.

Convict Stockade Lumberyard

More than a million dollars has been expended by Newcastle Council, The Heritage Council NSW and the Commonwealth Government on the site archaeology and restoration. A $700,000contribution from the One Nation initiative of the Commonwealth was made in 1992and the Site was officially opened by the Hon Bob Carr Premier of NSW

The Convict Stockade Lumberyard provides a unique openspace setting for important historic buildings and is an especially important part of Newcastle’s convict past. It is of National significance and was Gazetted as 7 (d)Environmental Protection Heritage Site Zone by the Minister for Planning in 1992.

Under the modern planning scheme the Convict Lumberyard and Enterprise Park should be zoned 6(a) Openspace the same as the Fort Scratchley area.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cardiff Coal Company Land was sold by Company interlopers

Dear Minister,

I would be pleased if you would read this document because it is important that your Government shake itself free from the taint of inappropriate land dealing.

It is an outrage that justice had not been done in this particular matter and there is a lesson to be learned regarding the need for transparency and openness generally in land and zoning matters.

I would be pleased to discuss this matter with you or any Member of Parliament without prejudice and in the interests of good governance and judicial fairness.

Yours faithfully
Doug Lithgow


The Hon Ms Jodi Mckay MP
Member for Newcastle Minister for Tourism
Minister for the Hunter and Minister for Science & Medical Research

Dear Minister for the Hunter,

Company fraud and 20 year delay for justice.

Important dates and actions from evidence & research: Lunn V Savage Supreme Court NSW- Equity Division -. 3047/89.

Magna Carta, clause 40
"To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice” 1215.

I write to you as my Member of Parliament and request that you help your colleague Mr Robert Coombs MP, of Swansea place information before your cabinet colleague the Hon. John Hatzistergos, MLC Attorney General and Vice President of the Executive Council.

I laid information with the police in about 1995 regarding this matter and I was shocked when I recently heard that the Lunn Family were still seeking a remedy to the wrongs that had been done to them by the misuse of the Cardiff Coal Company.

After twenty years it is high time that this matter was properly settled, the Lunns compensated and that those people responsible for making false declarations brought to justice.

The Lunn family had won their actions in the Supreme Court even though the litigation was allowed to stretch out over ten years. They received a favourable principal judgment in April 1997 with wide ranging orders being handed down. These were tested in the NSW appeal courts and later by the High Court of Australia.

I specifically ask that you request the Hon Attorney General to use his fiat to direct that those people concerned with Company Law investigate and prosecute those responsible for the false declarations that have caused all the trouble in this matter since the early seventies.

I know about the activities of the Cardiff Coal Company because the Parks and Playgrounds Movement together with the Lake Macquarie Shire Council in 1957 had a proposal for parkland on the shores of Lake Macquarie. The proposal affected land Portions, 35A and 36A which were registered in the title of the Cardiff Coal Company. The Movement supported the Shire in evidence to the Ministerial Inquiry into the County Plan 1957.

A colliery named Belmont Colliery P/L had been operating a coal mine from a small Mineral Lease area on Por. 35A of the Cardiff Coal Company land from 1938 and the park proposal was not progressed partly because of the difficulty of locating people connected with the Cardiff Coal Company. Consideration of the park was not expected until after underground mining had ceased beneath the property.

In 1984 a large development proposal was announced by a person who was reported to be the owner of the land. A planning study was requested of the proponent by the Lake Macquarie Council and there was considerable public discussion about the land and the proposed park over many years. The proponent was protected at all time by the corporate veil.

About 1990 a development company announced its intention of buying the land for development. Prior to this in 1989 the Lunn family who were shareholders in the Cardiff Coal Company had started proceeding in the Supreme Court because the persons claiming control of the Cardiff Coal Company had relied on shareholding transferred to them through bogus share transactions. The Lunns sought an injunction to prevent the sale of the land to the development company but were unable to obtain the necessary order. However Justice Bryson handing down his judgment stated that there was a prime a facie case of forgery in respect of share transfers and that if those operating the Company had no warrant for what they are doing they may be liable to the Company and others for damages.

The Lunn family continued their action even though the land which was the principal asset of the Cardiff Coal Company was sold to a Development Company, McCloys Pty Limited

Ultimately Lake Macquarie Council purchased for about 3 million dollars part of the land for the proposed foreshore reserve and initiated the rezoning of the remainder for residential development in an agreement with the Development Company.

The Lunn family continued with their action and have had Judgments in their favour restoring their name to the share register, appointing a receiver to the company and ordering that accounts be made back to 1973. The defendant’s appeals were dismissed.

From the court hearings and judgments it seems that:

  1. Interlopers may have been operating the Cardiff Coal Company.
  2. Minutes had been written for meetings that were not held,
  3. A bona-fide Board of the company had not held a meeting since about 1910,
  4. Interlopers moved assets of Cardiff Coal Coy to their family company.
  5. Share transfers had not been validly made,
  6. The Cardiff Coal Coy had not keep books between 1973 and 1992.
  7. The interlopers had not protected the interests of the company.
  8. A typed Deed of Settlement to replace the original was adopted in 1916 at a bogus meeting.
  9. The Deed had been typed with a typeface that had not been invented in 1916,
  10. A “Cardiff Coal Company Pty Ltd” had been registered about 1976,
  11. A trade name “Cardiff Coal Company” was registered about the same time.
  12. A letterhead bearing the name Cardiff Coal Company was printed,
  13. The Cardiff Coal Company was claimed to have been recommenced in 1976 but the General Meeting of Shareholders required was never called.
  14. Conflicting affidavits were tendered to the court by certain persons.

I know from searches I have made at the Land Titles Office of NSW and by Freedom of information from the Hunter Water Board in relation to the 1948 water Tower erected in Crown Street Belmont and the Croudace Bay Road reservation in 1934 that the registered owner, the Cardiff Coal Company, could not be discovered and that the Belmont Colliery P/L had no title to the land. Both 1934 and 1948 parcels of land had to be resumed by the State Government.

A detailed Chronology of events up to recent court appearances is attached. Documents relating to each step indicated should still be available on the public record. I trust that the above summary of events relating to the Cardiff Coal Company is sufficient to convey the gravity and unexplained delay of justice in this matter.

It is exactly 17 years since interlopers sold the property and it is time that Justice was done and seen to be done. Furthermore there is a lesson to be learned regarding the need for transparency and openness generally in dealing with land and zoning matters. Please ask the NSW Attorney General to use his fiat in this matter.

Yours faithfully
Doug Lithgow



Important dates and actions from evidence & research: Lunn V Savage Supreme Court NSW- Equity Division -. 3047/89.

Interlopers sold the Cardiff Coal Company land 35A & 36A at Lake Macquarie without warrant to a development Company McCloys P/L on 11/11/1992

Cardiff Coal Company Incorporation Act of NSW Parliament assented to 1863. (Deed of Settlement)

15 April 1910 ,19 April 1916, 22 August 1916, 5 October 1916, 22 November 1916, Were bogus Cardiff Coal Company meetings.1910 to 1938 –Minutes contained forged signatures and meetings that were not recorded in Wigram Allen (Company Secretary) diaries.

New Deed of Settlement bogusly adopted 1916. The Deed was typed on an English Imperial Typewriter manufactured between 1930 & 1967: (Tytell expert witness) Typeface used was not available in 1916.

5 April 1917 & 6 April 1938 Cardiff Coal Coy meetings are bogus entries in minute book.

5/4/1917 bogus date of transfer of Lunn & other shares to Blackwood.

17/12/1919 Caveat entered on title L. Blackwood, / V. Geary 13/1/1920 & J. Fletcher 24/8/1923.

2/2/1934 notified Gov. Gazette. Resumption part Por.35A CCC land for road purposes Lake M Shire.

7/4/1937 incorporation of the Belmont Colliery P/L. (Coy. obtains mining lease on Cardiff CC land)

10/5/1938 bogus transfer Blackwood shares to Belmont Colliery P/L - Stamp Duty paid in decimal currency on Transfer document. (Decimal currency was not introduced into Australia until 1966)

17/9/1948 Gov. Gaz: Part Por. 35A resumed by HDWB for water tower–Cardiff Coal Coy not found.

29/11/1971, 24/4/72, 22/5/1972, 27/11/1972, 12/2/1973 24/2/1975. Dates of Yacht Club Meetings where discussion of Cardiff Coal Co land was mentioned. - Copy of relevant Minutes available

22/12/1972 Belmont Colliery Propriety Ltd. shares acquired by Mr. Savage

17/2/1975 a company named Cardiff Coal Company Pty Ltd incorporated.

29/7/1975 a “Cardiff Coal Company” Business Name was registered.

31/7/1975 Cardiff Coal Co. Pty Ltd name was changed to Caralco Pty Ltd.

9/6/1975, 22/12/1975 22/3/1976, 10/6/1976, 23/6/1976, 23/2/77, 28/2/1977 (Yacht Club (Minutes)

17/5/1976 Mr Savage collects Cardiff Coal Company Records from office of Allen, Allen & Hemsley.

23/2/1977 Cardiff Coal Co. ‘reactivated’ by members of Savage family. L. Savage made Chairman.

25/2/1977 Application for new Certificate of Title Statutory Declaration by LH Savage Director.

1/6/1979 Real Property (Possessory Titles) Amendment Act 1979 proclaimed.

15/5/1980 Savage buys 25 Cardiff Coal shares from Harris Wheeler Williams, (T. Fenwick Estate)

13/11/81 Caveats lifted from Title on Request of LH Savage Director & JW McGregor Secretary under a seal of Cardiff Coal Company with Statutory Declarations of LH Savage & PJ Anicich.

Nov. 1982 Mr. Savage began writing to Lloyd family saying he was researching family tree. He obtained 50 Lloyd’s shares 1982). (Copies of letters are available)

3/11/1984 ‘Proposed $100 million development at Lake Macquarie’ Newcastle Herald (Cardiff Coal land).

10/11/1992 Injunction hearings to stop sale of land, See judgment Justice Bryson. (Pgs.5, 9 &10)

11/11/1992 Date when Company Interlopers sell Cardiff Coal Co. land to McCloys Pty Ltd.

14/10/1994 Interim Judgment Lunn V Savage case Finding: Forgeries proved.

10/11/1994 funds were withdrawn from Cardiff Coal Company. (Detail in Receivers Report)

11/11/1994 Date Court put a hold on withdrawal of Cardiff Coal Co funds

12/6/1996 Police charge Mr Savage with Perversion of the Course of Justice: dismissed on technical grounds.

6/9/1996 Judgment Lunn V Savage case Orders made: Shares restored, Receiver appointed, Account of dealings with property of Cardiff Coal Company to be made.

15/4/97 Receiver’s Report submitted to the Court

24/4/97 Judgment Hulme J: Part 1 & 2 Belmont Colliery never owned shares in Cardiff All transfers were forged Orders Part 1 &2 All documents be produced to Mr A Lewis Receiver.

9/3/1998 Judgment 1st Appeal CA40564/96 Dismissed

10/11/1998 Judgement 2nd Appeal CA 40564/96 Dismissed

18/6/99 Application for leave to appeal by defendants to High Court Australia Dismissed

25/10/02 Application to wind up the Cardiff Coal Company published Company Notices SMH

20/12/02 Lunn V Cardiff Coal Coy (5095/02)- Judgment Barrett J - Application Refused on technicality that NSW Law did not now recognise Cardiff Coal Company as a company.

29/8/03 Cardiff Coal Company Application to Wind up granted and liquidator appointed.

21/3/04 Supreme Court NSW No.04068 Cardiff Coal Coy in Liquidation V Sparke Helmore.

4/4/06 Supreme Court NSW No 3047/89 Order discharging the Receiver.

16/6/2009: The Cardiff Coal Company matter is still unresolved because the assets have been disposed of and income disbursed by interlopers. Liquidator & lawyers use last available funds. All Funds syphoned off between 1975/1992 have not been recovered.

For the pdf version click here: