In 1985 the residents and ‘friends’ of Durras determined to gain the attention of governments at all levels in order to address their concerns for their community and the Australian environmental heritage.

The Friends of Durras was formed and has sustained a high level of activity over 13 years to protect Durras Lake and improve the integrity and long term viability of Murramarang National Park.

The enclosed chronology of work by the Friends of Durras includes the outlines of an exceptional public campaign which, against great odds, saw the purchase of a vital piece of private land for inclusion in Murramarang National Park in 1993. The Friends of Durras contributed $113,000 to this purchase. Only once before in Australia’s history, has anything like this been achieved when Miles Dunphy and his group of bushwalkers raised money for the purchase of the Blue Gum Forest, now in the heart of the Blue Mountains National Park (and possibly soon to become a World Heritage Area).

Ironically, it was Miles Dunphy and the same group of bushwalkers who instigated the creation of the Murramarang National Park. Doubtless they would be proud and pleased to see our commitment to, and love of this special place transformed into active work to protect it for all Australians, forever.

Now Friends of Durras has once again galvanised to deal with the final threat to our vision. Almost unbelievably, this threat takes the form of a public process of ‘forest assessment’ which has so far ignored several crucial matters –

  • the depth of community concern for protection of this beautiful and special place;
  • the fact that this area is almost entirely within the coastal zone and protects a range of coastal and wetland ecosystems (as well as forests). Its conservation value is therefore much greater than the sum of its forest conservation values;
  • high-integrity, forested coastal ecosystems are extremely rare;
  • the forest conservation values are much higher than those acknowledged in the forest assessment processes to date. The area is home to 15 endangered bird and 11 endangered terrestrial mammal species;
  • the fact that the boundaries of the existing Murramarang National Park are ecologically meaningless and the Park’s ability to protect mammals and birds is entirely dependant on the conditions of the adjoining State Forest;
  • the fact that its already significant (let alone long-term) economic value to the region would be maximised by National Park status accompanied by development of appropriate tourism and recreational infrastructure. A visitor’s centre and well developed walking trail system would be well utilized in a coastal park where visitation is already second only to Royal National Park;
  • to achieve a genuine "comprehensive, adequate and representative reserve system", sites of ‘high productivity’ must be included.