Significant gully bushland and wetland in the Royal National Park under threat.
- Former Scout Land – 5.6 hectares of magnificent gully bushland and freshwater wetland. Sold to a developer by the Scouts Association in 2013 after refusing a community funded offer of purchase from the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife.
- Council’s adjoining bushland – 8.5 hectares comprising two upland swamps, the Jibbon Hill sand dune and a site of scientifically significant flora was added to the Royal National Park in August 2015.
- 6 hectares of “paper roads” comprising bushland and wetland, traversing over cliffs, waterfalls and ravines which, while physically within and adjoining the Royal National Park, legally remain under private ownership.
Our mission is to see all this ecologically valuable bushland and wetland added to the surrounding National Park and conserved under the proposed World Heritage nomination for the Royal National Park.
The Royal National Park receives four million visitors per year and the Coast Track is the most popular walk in the park. The World Heritage nomination of the Royal National Park is a great opportunity that will benefit the local community including our walking tours, whale watching tours, existing bed and breakfasts, artist studios, cafes, clubs and shops. Development of Spring Gully and the removal of thousands of trees for the huge asset protection zone clearings required will have direct negative impacts on the amenity of the coast track and pose serious threats to the Royal National Park and Bundeena wetland. Development of Spring Gully threatens the very qualities and values that support World Heritage nomination for the Park.
Endangered Ecological Communities of Spring Gully
Spring Gully contains several highly intact and interconnected endangered ecological communities along a riparian corridor.
Listed under the Threatened Species Conservation Act (NSW) 1995:
- Coastal Upland Swamp*,
- Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub* (Critically Endangered),
- Sydney Freshwater Wetland,
- Sand Bangalay Forest,
- Swamp Sclerophyll Forest,
- Swamp Oak Floodplain Forest,
- Kurnell Dune Forestˆ
* Also listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (Commonwealth) 1999.
ˆ Based on Sutherland Shire Council mapping and preliminary field assessment.
“The Council lands [at Spring Gully] have exceptional scientific values that are part of the suite of ecological qualities identified to support a World Heritage nomination for the Royal National Park” – Prof. David Keith, UNSW, Senior Principal Research Scientist, Office of Environment and Heritage.
“The plant species Bloodwood Coryumbia gummifera, a eucalypt, occurs in important stands in this area. The uniqueness of their sand dune habitat here has led individuals of this species to adapt and develop a mallee growth form with lignotubers of truly gigantic size… They are of outstanding conservation significance” – Robert Crombe, First National Park Committee
Former Scout Land, Bundeena
The “Boy Scout’s Camp” property is 5.6 hectares (14 acres) of bushland in Spring Gully, Bundeena. It was donated to the Scouts Association (NSW) in 1963. It remained rate free as a public place for fifty years. In 2013 Scouts sold the land to a private developer despite a competitive offer from the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife funded by the community.
The land is of high environmental value:
- The property is bushfire prone land. The NPWS fire management plan for the Royal National Park warns that “Spring Gully is dangerous in extreme wildfire conditions”.
- It is strategically located at the head of Spring Gully and is the only stretch of the creek not within the adjoining Royal National Park (see aerial photo below).
- It comprises a large part of the Bundeena catchment area and contains Sydney freshwater wetland, an endangered ecological community.
- Any further development along the wetlands within the catchment would adversely impact the Bundeena floodplain and the flood prone residential areas of the Bundeena township.
- Of particular concern is the impact of any potential development at the head of the Spring Gully catchment on the water quality of Bundeena Creek. The creek runs through the town and enters Port Hacking at Horderns Beach, a popular swimming place for local and visiting families.
- The land is untouched, undeveloped, open space bushland.
- It is covered by large majestic Angophora costata, many estimated to be over 150 years old, and Sydney sandstone gully forest, unusually close to the coast, which form an uninterrupted tree canopy.
- A stand of ancient bloodwood mallee, which could be over 1,000 years old, lies partially on the land and the adjoining Royal National Park.
- The large meadow of sedge-grasses adjoining the creek, grass trees, tall stands of cabbage tree palm and angophora woodlands, which are all located on the property, are stunningly beautiful.
- The property is highly visible from the entrance and opening stretch of the internationally known Coast Walk, which passes nearby, and which attracts many visitors to the Royal National Park and Bundeena. The property is nested into the Royal National Park, which adjoins the property to the east, south and west, and is indistinguishable from it. Most people assume it is part of the Park.
- Spring Gully is habitat to many protected species and migratory birds.
- Spring Gully contains many known sites of aboriginal heritage.
- There are several listed endangered ecological communities present on the land.
In 2013, the fight to save Spring Gully grew to include the 8.5 hectares of adjoining bushland and wetland owned by Sutherland Shire Council plus the immediately adjoining 1.5 hectares of unmade road reserve bushland. Sutherland Shire Council deferred it’s promised transfer of its bushland to the National Parks and Wildlife Service and planned to call for expressions of interest in the sale of the land. The community successfully saw this decision overturned and the land was dedicated an addition to the Royal in 2015.
We continue to work toward our mission; the addition of the former Scout land and the unmade paper roads into the legal boundaries of the Royal.
More information about the land and Spring Gully is available in our purchase proposal.
View Spring Gully, Bundeena, Royal National Park under threat. in a larger, interactive map