Sunday, December 30, 2007

Celebrate Nobbys Lighthouse 150th Birthday

You are cordially invited to an informal gathering to celebrate the 150th Birthday of Nobbys Lighthouse on News Years Day at 4pm at Nobbys Breakwater.

It would be a shame to let this day pass us by. It is our opportunity to offer our thanks to the leading light of Newcastle that has guided many a soul home to safe shores.

More Info: Ann Ph: 0438509139

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Nobbys Lighthouse - Controlled Action

The Hon Peter Garrett
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts
Box 6022 House of Representatives
Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Minister,

Nobbys Lighthouse - Controlled Action EPBC Act, Commonwealth Heritage Place

It is essential that the proposed development affecting the 150 year old Nobbys Lighthouse is rejected and the Conservation and Tourism plan for the whole Coal River Precinct SHR 1674 be publicly exhibited and adopted.

Attached is a copy of the Parks and Playgrounds Movement submission to the proponents of the Controlled Action. Nobbys Lighthouse, 20th July 2007. Also attached is a copy of the National Nomination, Coal River Heritage Park, prepared by the University’s Coal River Working Party under the chairmanship of Dr. Erik Eklund.

The national and world heritage value of Newcastle’s Coal River Heritage Park which includes the whole public foreshore through to the ocean with its heritage transition from Aboriginal and Convict to Colonial and modern times, should be acknowledged in any future development.

The Nobbys Lighthouse is a Commonwealth Heritage Place of special significance and the key heritage item on Nobbys Headland within the Coal River Precinct SHR 1674.

The proposed development that would impact on and impair the efficiency of Nobbys Lighthouse must be rejected.

We ask you to help the Parks and Playgrounds Movement and the people of Newcastle, protect, preserve and promote, their Nobbys Lighthouse as part of the Coal River Precinct SHR 1674.

Yours Sincerely,

Doug Lithgow
A Freeman of the City of Newcastle
President Parks and Playgrounds Movement Inc.

A copy was sent with 2 electronic attachments to 26/12/07 Enclosed with this letter: Copy of P&PM Submission to Controlled Dev. Copy of submission Controlled Development from combined conservation groups in NSW National Nomination Coal River Heritage Park, Newcastle University Coal River Working Party.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Nobbys Must Stand Free

Fellow Citizens of Newcastle,

Nobbys Lighthouse should stand free as a lighthouse and a beacon to all. We don't need to sell off the Nobbys headland to open it to the public.

The wretched gate stopping public access to Nobbys Headland must be removed forthwith.

Click the link for a copy of the submission we made to the developer who would destroy Nobbys Lighthouse (re the Controlled Action Nobbys Lighthouse 20th July 2007).

Also read a copy of the National Nomination of the Coal River Heritage Park prepared by the University’s Coal River Working Party under the leadership of Dr. Erik Eklund.

This matter will not be finished until Newcastle has National recognition of the World Heritage value of this iconic Nobbys site within the whole Coal River Heritage Park which includes the entire public foreshore through to the ocean featuring a heritage continuum from Aboriginal and Convict to Colonial and modern times.

What we are seeing is a targeted action through the property development lobby that have the NSW Labor Party in their pocket.

They are a well entrenched vested interest cluster in Newcastle that is taking over Nobbys and other public ocean front sites at Newcastle at Fort Scratchley (Succeeded) Newcastle Baths, The Newcastle Bowling Club (In the process) and at the Merewether Surf Pavilion. Also at the headland at Catherine Hill Bay in Lake Macquarie

Given the representatives we have we may not be able to prevent the excesses of crass privatisation of our public foreshores at these other places but at Nobbys commercial interests are not content to take over the use of the Macquarie Pier for access to their development at Nobbys they have already scarred the Nobbys headland with a widened road way and turning area without development consent. They intend leasing most of Nobbys and the adjacent turning area and build another house on the headland for their manager, gut and extend the existing buildings for 8 motel styled units.

The last straw in all this is the proposal to swallow the 150 year old Lighthouse in a surrounding restaurant and takeaway and kitchen that destroys the lighthouse as a lighthouse that removes the view from Nobbys except for patrons inside the restaurant.

The public would be relegated to a stairway onto the roof of the restaurant at the pleasure of the owner. The public would not be able to have access in front of the lighthouse or restaurant. Nor would the public be allowed free access to see the operating lighthouse which is a unique heritage item and one of the earliest navigational aids on the Australian coast.

You are seeing ugly hand of blatant privatisation of Nobbys which could ultimately be sold off if the NSW Government continues in its current public asset sell off trend.

Please spread the word. I ask that all concerned citizens write to Prime Minister Mr Kevin Rudd and Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts Mr Peter Garrett and ask that the Nobbys Lighthouse be saved from the impact of this development and that Nobbys be transferred to the National Parks Service.

They are the current legal issues that must be addressed but Novocastrians will also have a view on the Privatisation of Nobbys and the over building on this iconic site.

The breathtaking vista of our beautiful Newcastle from the summit of Nobbys is for all, not for the few who can afford it.

Doug Lithgow
Freeman of the City of Newcastle

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Fort Scratchley Multi Purpose Centre

Memo to Newcastle City Councillors Regarding Multi Purpose Centre - 5th December 2007

This is an extraordinary and unsatisfactory situation we find ourselves in after nearly 40 years of open and transparent community effort not even recognised or consulted.

A full enquiry should be made to investigate better Governance of the site. The way the Council and the former Federal Government has dealt with this matter is totally confusing and unsatisfactory.

Even though the processes have lacked transparency, it is the Councillors assembled as a Council who are responsible because they have not demanded to be kept informed.

The Newcastle University was forced to go to extraordinary lengths to have 3 x 4 inch diameter holes drilled to prove the convict mines. They were even served with threatening legal action by Janet Dore and denigrated publicly in the Newcastle Herald. It took 3 years of voluntary effort to have these mines proved. The holes are still there and no impact. Whereas a large Multi purpose centre and a workshop can just appear without any environmental assessment at the local or National Level. The State who will have to protect the Heritage after the handover doesn't know anything about this project and they are in the process of preparing a Conservation /Tourist Management Plan! The Pizzey Plan.

Fort Scratchley is part of a precinct that is of National significance and potential World Heritage. It is the birth site of the City of Newcastleand the site of the establishment of the Coal Mining Industry. (The reason for the massive military works)

It is the site of the first navigation light on the coast and the lookout for shipping.It was replaced by Nobbys Lighthouse just 150 years ago.

The Pasha Bulker marked the 150th year of Nobbys lighthouse by being left on the morning of 8 June 2007 to be grounded without help because our port Authority had stopped keeping a proper lookout at Nobbys during wild weather.

Parks and Playgrounds Movement prepared a Prospectus for the Newcastle Council in 1999 with a Ten Point Plan for the Council to establish National and World recognition of the whole Coal River site for the 200th anniversary of the founding of the permanent settlement of Newcastle 30 March 1804 -2004.

The $40,000 funding gained was frittered away by Council and the ten points disregarded.

With the new Federal Government there may be a chance to gain proper National and World recognition of the significance of Newcastle's Coal River Heritage Site and establish a professional management structure.

This is a matter the Parks and Playgrounds Movement first presented to all authorities in 1968 following the enactment of the NSW legislation for Historic Sites NPWS Act. The National Trust adopted and published a Newcastle East Historic Site Proposal 1974 as a supplement to the National Trust’s Hunter 2000 Document 1972.


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

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Support the National Nomination for Coal River

Parks and Playgrounds Movement seek your support for the National Nomination of the Coal River Heritage Park which includes the Coal River Precinct and Convict Lumber Yard at Newcastle for placement on the National Heritage List.

The Heritage Park is situated at the entrance to the Hunter River and includes all the public lands directly linked by distinctive landform, landscape, built environment, relics and history to convict coalmining, port development, and the founding of the city of Newcastle. It is an area of vital Aboriginal significance and cultural heritage demonstrating unique transitions in Australia’s journey to Nationhood.

Notwithstanding Newcastle’s obvious significant claim it has suffered because its convict heritage values have not been widely acknowledged protected and promoted. This has led to uncoordinated management and a lack of financial and tourist support for the area. For example, the recent Convict Sites of Punishment exhibition at the Hyde Park Barracks identified certain potential world heritage convict places but inexplicably failed to mention Newcastle’s convict sites which include the convict coalmining at Colliers Point which returned the first export shilling made in the colony of NSW and the convict construction of Macquarie Pier which was one of the largest civil engineering undertakings in the colony connecting the mainland to Nobbys Island (Whybaygamba). It is disappointing that Newcastle’s unique heritage was overlooked and not directly mentioned in the potential World Heritage Convict Sites exhibition.

Newcastle’s Coal River Heritage Park marks a series of important transitions in Australia’s journey to nationhood; from government industry to private enterprise, from convict to free labour, from punishment to profit, from a natural to a human-fashioned landscape.

The National recognition and further development of the Coal River Heritage Park will present an unparalleled opportunity to show large numbers of Australian and overseas visitors crucial elements of the Muloobinbah and convict story in a vibrant, lively and accessible park setting.

Coal River Precinct is the gateway to the Hunter and the front door to the City of Newcastle and it is bizarre that this area’s significance to the heritage of Australia is not fully recognised and promoted.

On behalf of the Parks and Playgrounds Movement in Newcastle I particularly ask you to help protect this unique heritage place and support the attached nomination which was prepared by the University of Newcastle’s Coal River Working Party chaired by Dr Erik Eklund.

Download the final version of the National Heritage Nomination

We thank you for your help and ask you to Email your support to:

The Hon Peter Garrett MP,
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

Please advise me by return Email of the action you can take to support the national nomination..

Yours Sincerely,

Doug Lithgow
Freeman of the City of Newcastle

President Parks and Playgrounds Movement

Welcome to the Parks and Playgrounds Movement Inc,

Welcome to the Parks and Playgrounds Movement Blog.

The Parks and Playgrounds Movement was brought to Newcastle (Australia) by the late Tom Farrell in 1952. The Parks and Playgrounds Movement of New South Wales was established in Sydney in the early 1930s. Its secretary was the late C E W Bean, the historian, lawyer and journalist. The Newcastle organisation was originally called the Northern Parks and Playgrounds Movement. Under the legendary Doug Lithgow the Movement was incorporated in 1999 under the Associations Incorporation Act of 1984, and continues the fight to safeguard the Hunter Region's Natural and Cultural Heritage. If you wish to become a member of the Parks and Playgrounds Movement Inc., please read throught our stated aims, and if you wish to support the organisation, fill out the registration form.

For information on our past campaigns please click here:


Doug Lithgow,
President and Freeman of the City of Newcastle Australia