Save St Albans Common

Written by: Project Director   On: 03rd Nov, 2016
The historic St. Albans Common near Sydney is threatened with forced acquisition by the Baird Government.
 
 
 
 
Angry MacDonald Valley residents voted last night to demand the 160
year old St. Albans Common be retained under local and democratic management. The Government plans to acquire the land this week with the passing of the Crown Lands Management Bill 2016.
The 1,000 hectare Common was given to the valley residents by Queen Victoria 160 years ago for additional grazing of horses and cattle. It is a piece of living history.
Cattle are still mustered on horseback and The Common continues tomake farming a viable option for smaller landholders.The land is an important habitat for wildlife including wallabies and koalas. The unique wetlands are a haven for black swans and other water birds.
The St Albans Common has been successfully managed since 1824 by valley residents in accordance with the original deed of grant and at no cost to government. The Common is a major feature of the MacDonald Valley settled within a few years of the arrival of the First Fleet.
The St Albans Common action group was established on 31/10/2016 under the auspices of the St Albans Common Trust and the Macdonald Valley Association to fight to keep the ownership and management of the St Albans Common in the hands of the community, for the community, as it has done for the last 160 years.
The entire valley is a reminder of early colonial days and has become a popular destination for Sydney siders and overseas tourists alike.
The St. Albans Common is not Crown Land but has been included in the Crown Lands Management Bill 2016 listed for its second and final reading in the Legislative Council this week.
This has been done without direct consultation with the owners of the land, the valley residents as represented by the St. Albans Common Trust.
The President of the St Albans Common Trust, Mr Bob Bolin, told last night’s public meeting "The Government is betraying and destroying 160 years of democratic local decision making, effective management and stewardship.”
It’s another David and Goliath situation with the valley residents as the keepers of this precious piece of Australian history and environmentally significant bushland.
The St Albans Common Action Group are appealing for public, political and media support to Save the St. Albans Common.
For more information, photos and video opportunities please contact
Vera Zaccari. PH 0245682167 E:vera@yengo.com.au