SIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN THE HISTORY OF
1964 Meroo Lake Nature Reserve was proposed by the NSW National Parks Association.
1966 Mr. J.F.Starling working for the Fauna Protection Panel wrote a report indicating the Service’s interest in part of the Termeil State Forest, between Meroo and Termeil Lakes (File M373, ref A64/1658, 25/7/66).
1969 The Scientific Committee for Parks and Reserves, and submissions to that committee by the NSW National Parks Association recommended establishing Murramarang National Park.
1969 NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service formulated a proposal to include Durras Lake in Murramarang National Park. This was later withdrawn after agreement with the Forestry Commission on a joint management plan.
1970 The South Coast Committee wrote to the Premier of New South Wales requesting a 27 square mile Murramarang National Park include:
- 5 miles of coastline adjacent to Benandarah State Forest
- 6 miles of coastline adjacent to Kioloa State Forest
- 4 miles of coastline adjacent to Termeil State Forest
- Durras Lake, and
- extend from Merry Beach in the north to the Clyde River estuary in the south
1972 The South Committee requested extensions to the proposed Murramarang National Park.
1973 The 975 ha. Murramarang National Park was declared, including 4 off-shore islands.
1973 and 1975 The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service made two further proposals to include Durras Lake in Murramarang National Park.
1976 The NSW National Parks Association proposed a much enlarged Murramarang National Park for inclusion on the Register of the National Estate. The extended National Park of approximately 18,000 ha. was to include Benandarah and Kioloa State Forests with Tabourie Point its boundary to the north, Batemans Bay the southern boundary and the western boundary, the Princes Highway. Termeil, Meroo and Durras Lakes were within the expanded National Park.
1977-1979 Two blocks of about 300 ha. each at North Head and Acheron Ledge were added to Murramarang National Park.
1983 The forests of the "Greater" Murramarang National Park(and much of Benandarah and Boyne State Forests, west of the Princes Highway) were placed on The Register of the National Estate, "significant for both natural and cultural values."
1985 The Nature Conservation Council at its annual conference resolved that: "The Nature Conservation Council endorse, in principle the proposal for an enlarged Murramarang National Park put forward by the Total Environment Centre and write urging the New South Government to make the appropriate arrangements, including:
- Dedication of coastal lands from Ulladulla south to Willinga Point and including O’Hara Head;
- Revocation of Termeil, Kioloa and Benandarah State Forests, east of the Princes Highway for inclusion in Murramarang National Park;
- Purchase of private lands between the Princes Highway and South Durras village, including much of the foreshore of Durras Lake;
- Cancellation of all proposals for subdivision of Crown Lands west of South Durras village, including portions 33, 92-95 inclusive, 103, 169 and the dedication of those lands as national park.
1985 The Friends of Durras formed with the dual and complementary aims of retaining Durras Lake and its catchment in pristine condition and of seeking to improve the viability of the nearby Murramarang National Park by expanding its area.
1985 Friends of Durras commissioned Mr P.J. Craven, Bachelor of Natural Resources (Hons.) to research and publish an Environmental Survey of the South Durras District.
1986 The Friends of Durras applied to have an Interim Conservation Order placed over all undeveloped lands adjacent to Durras Lake.
1986 On environmental and economic grounds the Friends of Durras prevented the introduction of reticulated water to South Durras.
1986 The Friends of Durras put an end to the practice of dumping raw sewerage in Durras Lake.
1987 The Friends of Durras commenced campaigning against the development of the 500 ha Urban Expansion Zone of the south-west foreshore of Durras Lake.
1987 After a successful campaign by the Friends of Durras, the then Minister for Planning, Mr Bob Carr, disallowed the Urban Expansion Zone re-zoning. The NSW Department of Planning noted the high conservation value of the area.
1987 The Forestry Commission of NSW released plans to harvest 61.6% of Benandarah State Forest Compartment 128 which abuts Durras Lake.
1987 Friends of Durras commissioned Mr P.J. Craven to research and publish a Review of Forest Management within the Durras Lake Catchment Area.
Friends of Durras negotiated with the Forestry Commission over the extent of the proposed logging and its potential to degrade Durras Lake.
1987 The Forestry Commission agreed to reduce the harvesting area of Compartment 128 to 52% and to avoid some particularly ecologically sensitive areas (rainforest gullies).
1988 Friends of Durras commissioned Mr P.J Craven to research and publish a Post-Logging Assessment, Compartment 128, Benandarah State Forest.
1989 The 500 ha parcel on the south-west corner of Durras Lake became available for purchase. The Friends of Durras began an unprecedented public campaign to raise the almost $1m being asked by the vendor. A massive media and public fundraising campaign ensued.
1990 Following an invitation by the then Premier of New South Wales (The Hon. N. Greiner), the Friends of Durras applied for a grant from the Open Space and Heritage Fund to help with the acquisition.
1990 The Women’s Weekly prepared a feature story on the Friends of Durras campaign.
1990 The owner of the private land was placed in receivership.
1990 The Friends of Durras commenced purchase negotiations with the receiver, ESANDA.
1991 The Friends of Durras was advised a grant of $600 000 from the Open Space and Heritage Committee had been recommended to the Premier and negotiations for the purchase advanced with ESANDA.
1992 The Open Space and Heritage funding was abruptly suspended.
1992 Urgent lobbying and negotiations were entered into with the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and the NSW Department of Planning.
1992 Funding from the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and the NSW Department of Planning was approved. The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service advised ESANDA, to learn that contracts would be exchanged the very next day with a ‘sympathetic purchaser.’
1993 The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, NSW Department of Planning and the Friends of Durras pursued negotiations with the new land owner.
1993 (26 August) The NSW Minister for the Environment, Mr Chris Hartcher announced that about 370 ha of the 504 ha private holding on the south-west foreshore of Durras Lake had been bought by the Friends of Durras and the New South Wales Government and added to Murramarang National Park. The land included approx. 5 Km frontage to Durras Lake and increased the size of the Park by around 25% to 1,970 ha.
1996 The IDFA process deferred almost all Kioloa State Forest compartments, from logging. Compartments in the Benandarah State Forest were not deferred. The Friends of Durras decided to undertake their own forest assessment of the area.
1996 (October) The Forestry Commission of NSW (State Forests) posted an Intent to Harvest for Compartment 133, Benandarah State Forest, and remove up to 50% of the canopy cover. Friends of Durras objected and the logging plan was dropped. The Friends of Durras continued negotiations with State Forests over future logging in the "Greater" Murramarang National Park. State Forests agreed not to harvest in any "Greater" Murramarang National Park compartments during 1997, 1998 and 1999.
1997 (5 December) The Friends of Durras sent the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service a cheque for $113,582.56, their contribution towards the purchase price of the Murramarang National Park addition.
1997 (5 December), Senator Robert Hill, Federal Minister for the Environment advised Friends of Durras that the Commonwealth and New South Wales governments had renegotiated the Deferred Forest Agreement. Benandarah State Forest Compartments 128, 129 and 133 had "been placed at the end of the harvesting schedule and (would be) accessed only if all other reasonable options for providing resource have been exhausted."
1998 (February) Friends of Durras and the NSW National Parks Association conducted a biodiversity survey in Benandarah State Forest. Seventy volunteers gathered data over four days. The results were added to the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service’s comprehensive assessment of the forests of the RFA Southern Zone.
1998 (May) The Friends of Durras began to prepare the proposal for the creation of the "Greater" Murramarang National Park. The final publication will be submitted to state and local government and to the Regional Forest Assessment process.
Lesley Wallington - FoD