Friends of Malabar Headland (FoMH) welcomes the handover of the 70 hectare eastern section of the Headland to the state government for the creation of the second part of the Malabar Headland National Park. Our dream for the creation of national parks in the eastern and Western sections of the Headland is about to be realised, and for that we are very grateful. The total park will be 87 hectares, almost exactly half of the total headland.
We look forward to the park being opened to the public in June as proposed by the state government.
However there are many issues to be solved between now and then, especially considering that the park can only be accessed by the public on days when the rifle range is not operating. Issues such as security of the site on shooting days and more secure fencing will need to be addressed.
This will certainly be a unique National Park, not just because of its incredible location, flora/fauna and history, but also because the rifle range has the right to operate 7 days per week if it wishes, which would mean no public access at all in the eastern section!
Presently, the rifle range only operates on Saturdays, but the shooters have indicated that they would like to operate more days per week, with Sunday the preferred day. This would mean no weekend access for the general public.
FoMH have always understood and acknowledged that the existence of the rifle range has enabled the headland to be retained in public hands and, with the help of FoMH bush regenerators, preserved the remnant Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub on the site, and most importantly, not lost the headland to development. We hope that the shooters will work closely with National Parks & Wildlife Service to ensure that public access to the park can be maximised. In that way the park and the rifle range can peacefully co-exist until a new home can be found for the rifle range. This could take up to 17 years according to Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt.
FoMH are still very concerned about the long term future of the remaining 87 hectares of the headland after the shooters relocate, despite Minister Hunt’s claim last year that the “whole site, all of it, will be retained in public hands forever”. Remember, even Barrangaroo is still in public hands.
All levels of government are facing huge fiscal challenges, and privatisation of public assets is one way to plug the fiscal holes in their budgets. The federal government even offers monetary incentives to the states to privatise public assets in their euphemistically titled Asset Recycling Program. The federal government has already looked into development options, and the rifle range site is estimated to be worth some billions of dollars. Cash strapped governments of all persuasions may be tempted to recycle this asset.
FoMHs vision for the other half of Malabar Headland after the shooters relocate, has always been to keep it as public open space, to be used by a large number of groups including horse riding clubs, model airplane clubs and the general public for active and passive recreation.
Our dream of the Malabar Headland National Park is near to fruition, but FoMH will continue to work towards our ultimate dream of saving the entire Malabar Headland for public recreation. As population densities in Sydney increases, the need for this open space also increases. Once it is developed it will be lost forever.
Please join us and help us achieve this dream.
Gil Darby said:
Fantastic, well done!
Thanks for the news. By the way did you know there is a echidna living around the eastern end of the service rail tracks towards the cliff. It was spotted last June during a night training swim/ run for the true grit Aussie titles. I reported it to the National parks the following day, yet found them every casual about it saying maybe some one had dumped it there. I think not, as a city slicker it’s the 1st I’ve seen in the wild. It was also witnessed by another 2 members as I thought is this just fatigue.
Sent from my iPhone
Thanks for your comment. I haven’t seen an echidna on the headland myself, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did live there. It is a surprising place! Perhaps some of our members could tell us what native fauna has been found on the headland?
G’day. Took these on Saturday evening 10/4 around 5pm. No life in the ponds. No ducks and no insects. It smelt a bit funny too. The discharge seem to stay together and near the surface as it sailed right through the rock wall separating the two ponds.
Cheers. Appreciate all the good work
Hi Julian, Thank you for the information, which is quite concerning. It appears that you tried to post a picture or two. I don’t think it is possible to put images in the comments, but you could post them on our Facebook site http://www.facebook.com/malabarheadland where there are other stories and photos relating to these ponds. Alternatively you could email the photos to us – see Membership – Contacts tab at the top of this page for details.
One happy shooter said:
50 more years of shooting on Anzac Rifle Range, tenure until 2066, music to my ears !
Now to get the range running all day on Sundays as well, hahahaha
Thanks for your comment. I didn’t know that the lease had been extended. At least that could mean the headland is safe from development for another 50 years!