Protest stand, 'Kelly's Bush', wire / Australian timber and flora, made by R.E. (Mac) Taplin, Hunters Hill, New South Wales, Australia, 1970-1971
This hand made stand is a protest banner in an unusual form. It is a significant reminder of Australian environmental protest including the battle for Kelly's Bush and subsequently the world's first green ban.
Kelly's Bush was the last remaining area of natural bush on the upper reaches of the Parramatta River in Hunters Hill and scheduled for housing development when a group of local housewives approached the Builder's Labourers Federation (BLF) in 1971. Scientists, artists and professional societies have voiced concerns about environmental issues for most of the twentieth century, but the involvement of the Union movement and local citizens was new. The result was a black ban which then became the first of the union's 43 green bans (first time in the world and predates the German green movement), and this movement saved much of Sydney's natural and built heritage.
The fight for 'Kelly's Bush' was the beginning of the Green Bans in Australia, an unlikely combination of upper middle class housewives and Trade Union representatives, like Bob Pringle, Joe Owens and Jack Mundey. These 13 house wives with support of the BLF battled for 13 years to stop development of their local piece of bush for housing. This stand is made out of material from Kelly's Bush and was used at one event in a series of awareness raising events.
A green ban is a refusal by builders and labourers to demolish or construct buildings. From 1971 to 1973 green bans brought together Sydney residents and unionists, led by Jack Mundey, to fight the massive push for development in the inner city and suburbs. They saved historic buildings in the Rocks, Woolloomooloo, and Darlinghurst and stopped a freeway being built through Glebe. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Centennial Park and Parramatta Park benefitted from green bans.
Protestors are sometimes regarded as a nuisance by police, industry and governments. But their actions often lead to positive change. In Australia, protests have resulted in legislation to protect human rights, historic buildings, flora, fauna, rivers and parks.
On September 4 1983 the Premier Neville Wran for the State Government's Department of Planning bought the bush and gave the land to the Hunters Hill Council to manage as open space.
1. Forward by Kylie Tennant, p3
The Battlers for Kellys Bush: Thirteen women and the Worlds first Green Ban complied and edited by Pip Kalajzich, 1996
The Battlers for Kelly's Bush: thirteen women and the World's first Green Ban
Complied and edited by Pip Kalajzich, 1996
Green bans, Red Union: Environmental activism and the NSW Builders labourers Federation. Meredith Bergmann and Verity Bergmann
Uni of NSW Press, 1998.
Little green book: the facts on Green Bans,
Booklet produced by Anne Summers, Wendy Bacon, Dave Morrisey, Ruth Gregory and Syd Sheldon, 1970s.
Protest! Environmental activism 1968-1998
Historic Houses Trust, 1998
Teaching heritage website http://www.teachingheritage.nsw.edu.au/d_reshaping/wd2_kellychron.html
Ecologic: creating a sustainable future. Exhibition
Tyrrell collection (1855-1929 ) of photographs mainly of Sydney
Rocking the Foundations: history of the Builders Labourers Federation in NSW, Pat Fiske, 1986.
Jack Mundey, SBS, Interview. Sharon Conolly, 2001
Concrete City by Mandy King and Fabio Cavadini, 1994
Killing of Angel Street