In the foreword to Beyond the Untidy Fringe, the history of the Lane Cove Bushland & Conservation Society, Jeff Angel of the Total Environment Centre wrote, “There’s no doubt that having strong contacts in, and a real understanding of government decision making, is of great benefit to those seeking change.” From the beginning the Lane Cove Bushland and Conservation Society entered into local politics and developed programs in partnership with the Council, although not necessarily in agreement with all Council decisions.
Architect Doug Stuart was instrumental in organising a survey of Lane Cove’s bushland and was a mainstay of the Society, spearheading environmental activism. He was President for a decade from 1991 and continued to monitor Development Applications and write countless submissions when they had the potential to affect the environment.
Lane Cove Council has honoured the memory of Doug Stuart, one of our founding members, with a commemorative sign at the commencement of the Lane Cove Bushland park. The 600m loop walk will now be known as the Doug Stuart Track. Doug’s wife Norma joined Mayor Pam Palmer and our Councillors on Saturday morning 8 May, 2021 to unveil the sign
Members of the Society were Councillors and Mayors including Rosilyn Baxter, who in her 21 years on Council, “…worked tirelessly to promote LCB&CS aims.” As one member said, “Ros deserves a medal”. In 1994 Ros received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).
The Society has brought the fight for the preservation of the environment to local, state and federal authorities, organising ‘Meet the Candidate’ election events and writing submissions. In 2016 The Lane Cove Bushland and Conservation Society joined other community organisations in successfully resisting the State Government’s plan to amalgamate Lane Cove with Hunters Hill and Ryde Councils.
Here members of the Society, including Bill Henningham, a past mayor of Lane Cove, Alasdair Stuart, Graham Holland and Doug Stuart stand outside the meeting to make submissions to the Greater Sydney Commission.
The Society has three permanent places on the committee of BMAC, the Bushland Management Advisory Committee. In 2016 BMAC celebrated its 25th anniversary and awards were presented on the night. The speech given on the occasion by the Mayor, Deb Hutchins can be read here.
The history of the relationship of the Society with BMAC is told in a speech made at the 25th Anniversary by Rod Tudge, past Mayor of Lane Cove. The summary is below and the full speech can be read here.
From the Lane Cove River, if you look at Hunters Hill, you will see trees between the houses; if you look at Lane Cove, you will see houses between the trees. All this is due, in no small part, to the Lane Cove Bushland Management Advisory Committee and the Lane Cove Bushland and Conservation Society.
The Bushland Management Advisory Committee (BMAC) had its genesis in the 1960s and 70s when Lane Cove Council was the first council to adopt the Bradley regeneration technique 1978. The Council’s Tree Preservation and Landscape Policy was first adopted not long after in 1983.
A report concerning damage from runoff in gullies led to a recommendation that bushland management plans be developed. The Lane Cove Bushland and Conservation Society (LCB&CS), working in collaboration with Council staff, including Jack Hartman and the Bushland Management Manager, Bruce Stuckey in particular, developed these plans.
The first Plan of Management for Bushland in Lane Cove was adopted in 1990 and resulted in the appointment a Manager and BMAC to coordinate and evaluate the bushland program. BMAC is the only known such committee having direct internal administrative connections to their local council and this has been the real strength of the committee.
In Lane Cove, bushland management includes bush regeneration, track and bush drainage works, development assessment and environmental planning. by Council staff, contractors and volunteers. The plan of management was revised in 1995/96 and regularly thereafter ever 5 years.
A Development Control Plan (DCP) 1 – Control of Development Adjacent to Bushland was adopted by Council in 1994.
In this 25th Anniversary year, some long serving members of BMAC should be noted, including Norma Stuart, Lynne Mcloughlin, Frances Vissel, Susan Butler, Margaret Bergomi and Rosilyn Baxter.
In 2010 young mothers and Society members, Corinne Fisher, Anne Proudfoot and Alyson Hayes were instrumental in establishing the very popular Bushkids program to engage young children with nature and to encourage a life-long love and care of the environment. In 2016 the Council partnered with the Society to further develop and run the program with a permanent coordinator.
Outdoor nature-centred activities are offered during school terms for 2 to 5 years and during school holidays for 2 to 10 years. Activities are open to all families residing in the Lane Cove Council and surrounding areas. Programs are produced each term and for school holidays. Activities include: a bush walk for older children down into the beautiful Bushland Park valley, Grandparent’s Day, Nature’s Nightlife, ‘”Owl Babies”, the bees of the Australian bush, exploring leaves – all accompanied by nature activities. Information and bookings through the Council website.
The Society has assisted in the publication of a number of books including Judy Messer’s book Growing the Native Plants of Lane Cove which is now available for download from the Council website.
A member of the Society, Don Dove, wrote the first Bushwalks in Lane Cove in 1982 which is now in its 7th edition. The latest version is seen here on the Society stall in the Plaza and it is also available at Lane Cove Council and in the library.
Late Winter/Spring wildflower walks
The Society continues to conduct Free Guided Walks in Lane Cove National Park, local bushland and North Head, Manly, as indicated by the sample of our flyer. These walks are led by plant experts and have proved to be very popular. Latest details can be found on our Facebook page and bookings can be made through this website.
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of our foundation we are conducting walks in the Lane Cove Bushland Park beside the Golf Course off River Road. This special area of bushland was preserved for the benefit of all by the campaign of local residents in 1971. They protested the proposed extension of the golf course into the bushland and in the process, founded the Society.
Bushwalks have been conducted in the Lane Cove National Park, Venteman’s Reach and other areas in the past. The Lane Cove area is home to diverse flora types and is part of one of the mega diverse floras in the world. One of the most beautiful and spectacular is the Sydney sandstone flora on the upper slopes of the Lane Cove Valley. This has its main flowering in Winter/Spring with a diverse understory of Pea flowers, Heath land plants and Banksias to name a few. Honeyeater birds such as the New Holland and the Eastern Spinebill can be seen feeding on the nectar flowers.
Lane Cove Bushland & Conservation Society’s plant experts lead walk along the beautiful Lane Cove River and hillside tracks. Mowbray Park forms a bushland corridor and provides a vital home to a great variety of plant and animal species. The walk includes mangroves, Swamp Oak Forest, majestic Blackbutts, Ironbarks, Sydney Red Gums, Banksias and abundant Acacias. Beautiful sandstone cliffs and caves can be seen above the river providing habitat for many species of reptiles. 88 native species of birds have been recorded including the vulnerably listed Powerful Owl. Estuarine Swamp Oak Forest provides food sources for the Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo. You will hear the ring of Bellbirds and the crack of Whip Birds. Keep a look out for Cormorants, White-faced Herons and various duck species and you may be lucky enough to see Fairy Wrens if you are very quiet.
Participants are advised of the requirements and grade of the walks, such as condition of the tracks and stone steps.
GUIDED BUSHWALKS AT NORTH HEAD
Ron Gornall, a long time member of the Society, regularly takes guided bushwalks in Spring in the native plant sanctuary at North Head which has ocean and Sydney Harbour views. Watch our FaceBook page or this website for notifications of this and all walks.
The Society organises two stalls per year, Spring and Autumn, in the Lane Cove Plaza to encourage growing indigenous plants and provide information on environmental issues and activities, locally and nationally. members of the Society are available to discuss plants that are suitable to grow in Lane Cove gardens or balconies as well as provide general information about the Society’s activities.