Thursday, December 20, 2018

Community Land Management

Parks, Playgrounds and the Environment - Community Land Management

Parks and Playgrounds Movement have had long experience upholding the Community Land provisions of the Local Government Act 1993 and the statutory nature of Plans of Management for public land classified as “Community Land”.

The Minister for Local Government in his second reading speech stated the reason for Community Land was to bring a “new approach to the concept of public land management” and “enable community land to be more appropriately managed”.

Council Parks & Reserves are classified Community Land and required to be controlled by a Plan of Management. Public land is Community Land if it is: 
1.  Public Land comprising a public reserve,
2.  Public Land subject to a public trust for a Public Purpose,
3.   Public Land dedicated as a condition of Development Consent Sec 94 EP&A Act.
4.   Public Land reserved, zoned or designated under a planning instrument for open space.

Elected Councillors are Trustees for Community Land and the Plans of Management and the public equity in these lands should at all time be uppermost in their minds.
A Trust is an important legal concept and a Trustee has a responsibility to the beneficiaries.
A trust exists if three conditions are present:
1. The Intention (community Land provisions of the Act),  2 The property (Community Land)
3. The object of the trust (beneficiaries - Electors and the General Public)

Community Land concepts were clearly argued in the High Court of Australia Judgment ‘Bathurst Council V PWC Properties P/L’ Sep 98 & Council’s responsibilities are set out in Chapter6 & Clause6 of Shedule7 Local Government Act 1993.

Under the new Crown Land Management Act 2016 Sect 3.23 a Crown Land Manager (chiefly a Council) is required to manage Dedicated or Reserved Crown land as if it were Community Land under the Local Government Act 1993. That means that it must be controlled by a lawfully made Plan of Management that honours the principal dedication of the land.

Public Land that is not Community Land and is temporally held by a Council is classified Operational Land. It is commercial property with few restrictions on its use or sale. Councillors should honour their public trust and protect Community Land. Unfortunately some public lands were wrongly classified “Operational” at the commencement of the Local Gov Act and should be classified “Community” in time.

We are pleased to provide above information in the public interest.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Coal River Precinct SHR 1674 Our Industrial Heritage

COAL RIVER PRECINCT SHR 01674 & SHR 0570 – Our Industrial Heritage April 2006
‘Coal and Colonials’ (Jim Comerford Published. 1997) is an informative book on Coal River, Newcastle and the coal industry and the importance of the convict coal-miner John Platt. 

Jim writes fondly about the miner John Platt and incisively on the significance of coal and the beginnings of the coal mining industry. Coal fuelled the industrial revolution and still comprises 80% of the tonnage exported from Newcastle the largest coal export port of the world.

Captain Cook when he noted the ‘small clump of an island that was Nobbys on the 10 May 1770 was carrying in his bunker on board the Endeavour, coals perhaps from Newcastle on Tyne.
Coal was used for cooking and heating and extended the range of sailing ships like the Endeavour.

Platt a convict with mining experience was 35 yrs old when sentenced at Shrewsbury on August 18th 1798. He was transported for life and arrived in Sydney aboard the Royal Admiral 22/11/1799.

Sydney Traders who had been interested in the coal resources at Coal River applied to have Platt assigned to their coal gathering enterprises. He had been examining the coal outcrops south of Sydney and had developed the belief that the north and south outcrops were part of a single extensive coalfield. Platt was intelligent and had a grasp practical mining problems.

Governor King set Platt and eleven other convicts to work boring for coal bearing strata in the Georges River area using boring gear that had been made by Wapshott toolmakers for Joseph Banks and brought out to the colony by Governor King. They sank a vertical shaft 24 feet in six months and bored down a further 50 feet without striking the seam. The final depth was to be 98 feet before abandoning the shaft. Prospect Creek where they were working was long known as Coal Creek.
The Balmain Colliery shafts were put down to the coal seams 90 years after Platt’s work and were 2,880 ft. deep. They were abandoned in 1933.

Transportees Simeon Lord and Hugh Meehan turned traders were the new owners of the 170-ton ex-Spanish ship Anna Josepha. This vessel was sent on a number of trips to Coal River between June and October 1800 for cargos of coal and timber, which they sold for a hansom profit.

King began preparations to begin coal mining at Coal River. Colonel Patterson and James Grant together with six soldiers, 2 Sawyers, a Pilot, a Miner and a Native (Bungaree) were in the 1801 survey party as well as surgeon Harris and Ensign Barrallier. The Lady Nelson and the sloop Francis arrived off the Hunter on Sunday June 14th 1801 after checking the entrance of the Lake Macquarie (Reid’s Mistake). Platt guided the miners to where he had won coal for the Sydney Traders. Colonel Patterson named Nobbys, Coal Island and the mainland headland, Colliers Point.

Dr D F Branagan 1966 identified the seams mined by the convict miners as the Dirty or Dudley Seam and the bottom seam as the Yard Seam, which yielded the best quality coal. (The mine adits were closed over by the concrete wall built around the Fort Scratchley fortifications in 1882-9)

Geo-technical work proving the seams and the systematic way Platt had set out the convict mines has been carried out over the last 3 years. The ground penetrating radar and the drilling work has been done by Arthur Love of Coffey Partners and based on a mine plan of Lt Menzies July 1804 & a Surveyor’s plan of Adams 1853 and 1801 Barrallier plan of the Coal Harbour settlement. It is obvious that the modern bord and pillar technique was adopted for the underground layout.

34 Irish convict survivors of the March 4th insurrection at Vinegar Hill were sent to establish the permanent settlement at Coal River to be named henceforth as ‘Newcastle’. Lieutenant Charles Menzies and party landed the 30th March 1804 and the convicts were put to work at Colliers Point under the Chief Miner John Platt. John Platt died in Sydney Hospital June 10, 1811 aged 48 from ‘Asthma’ a miners’ lung disease.

The convict coal miners rendered the most valuable service to the fledgling colony of NSW and were the reluctant pioneers of Newcastle’s proud industrial heritage.

 Notes Doug Lithgow (April 2006) inspired by ‘Coal & Colonials’ 1997-Jim Comerford and University of Newcastle Coal River Working Party Erik Eklund, Cynthia Hunter, Gionni Di Gravio, Peter Sherlock, Roslyn Kerr Russell Rigby and Mardi Ryan.