OPPOSITION TO PRIVATE LEASE OF QUARANTINE STATION AT PT. NEPEAN, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA.
The Quarantine Station site is an integral part of Victoria's history. Dennis and Honora Sullivan leased the land from the Crown in 1843 but when a ship arrived near the start of the gold rush in 1852 carrying a great number of infected passengers, immediate steps were taken to establish a quarantine station on their land because the current station at Elwood was considered too close to Melbourne.
The Quarantine Station buildings replaced the tents that were hastily erected in 1852 but are of equal historical significance to that of the Port Arthur penal buildings in Tasmania. Visitors to Pt Nepean are able to soak up the heritage of the pioneer cemetery, Cheviot Beach where Harold Holt disappeared, the quarantine station and the underground passages at the fort-amidst Mother Nature's garden.
A lease to private operators would lead to an historically insensitive situation such as at Dromana where the historic Church of England is now dwarfed, engulfed, by a huge apartment complex only metres away.
Vicky Sullivan is opposing this lease of crown land at Pt Nepean and she needs our support.
Here's some background on the issue. I believe the lease proposal is now for a 99 year term.
Stateline Victoria - Abc
Aug 29, 2003 - ZOE DANIEL: At the old Quarantine Station, where some of the first ...Vicki Sullivan is a direct descendant of the earliest settlers at Portsea.
ZOE DANIEL: Defence land at Point Nepean, near Portsea at the very tip of the Mornington Peninsula, will not be sold. Instead the Federal Government has revealed what it calls a compromise plan for it to be leased with its historic buildings to a private bidder for up to 50 years. The Government says it's the best way to preserve prime, coastal real estate for community use.
FRAN BAILEY, PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY: We believe that the outcome that we have will provide that maximum protection by having the Commonwealth ownership, Commonwealth planning, Commonwealth legislation and having the leasehold very stringently controlled.
ZOE DANIEL: But its motives are being questioned.
JOHN THWAITES, VICTORIAN ENVIRONMENT MINISTER: Anything could happen there, we could end up with helicopters, five-star hotels, exclusive compounds.
ZOE DANIEL: At the old Quarantine Station, where some of the first Victorians came ashore, renovations have already begun to prepare the site for a new manager. Around 30 hectares will now be available here, under a new tender process based on a 40-year lease with an option for an extra 10. There'll be no State planning restrictions, and there is likely to be an accommodation element.
FRAN BAILEY: It might be student accommodation, it might be backpacker accommodation, it might be family accommodation.
ZOE DANIEL: It might be high end accommodation?
FRAN BAILEY: It...it could be any sort of accommodation. But what I can rule out is that there can be no high-rise multi-storey hotel on that site.
ZOE DANIEL: A children's camp is more likely - with the historic Portsea Camp, which has been operating since early last century, likely to be offered a new home within the development. Ecotourism and property developer ES Link is most likely to win the tender. In these previously unpublished plans, it proposes a research institute and maritime centre, a quarantine museum, simple accommodation and restaurant and parklands complete with walking trails. But there's a catch - it'd take over the Portsea Camp's current site on prime headland which is zoned residential, and would be divided into house blocks - each returning millions of dollars to the developer. Before the Federal Government abandoned its intention to sell, local residents campaigned with the National Trust and National Parks Association for all of the land at Point Nepean to be added to the existing national park. Now they're mobilising again. They question the future of the historic Quarantine Station under the Commonwealth's plan - which doesn't rule out an exclusive hotel or convention centre.
JUDITH MUIR, TOURISM OPERATOR: With all the goodwill in the world, governments change and so we need State planning laws that are enshrined, we need to be aware that we're doing this for future generations not just for now.
WILL BAILLIEU, RESIDENT: What happens down here is not going to be in the control of Victorians at all, it's going to be totally in the control of what Canberra wants to do.
ZOE DANIEL: But there's even division among the lobbyists on this issue - and at least one group now supports the Commonwealth. Environment Victoria is an umbrella organisation representing environment groups. In this plan for Point Nepean, never published, it calls for the integration of the remaining Commonwealth land into the national park. The group sent out press releases along the same lines, and accepted and spent donations based on that premise. Now for the sake of pragmatism it says, it's applauding the Federal Government, even though private development on the site is ahead.
ERIC NOEL, ENVIRONMENT VICTORIA: Environment Victoria took the position that we wanted a solution based on the key tenets, that was that the land must remain in public hands and any development of that site, of the built Heritage area, must be done in accordance with the community master plan.
ZOE DANIEL: Environment Victoria is now at odds with some local residents, the National Trust and the National Parks Association. It's been accused of political favouritism and has received a complaint from Federal Labor after a confrontation with MP Kelvin Thompson over the State Government's failure to buy the site.
ERIC NOEL: Quite clearly Mr Bracks has broken another election promise and Kelvin should explain that to you members of the media.
KELVIN THOMPSON, MP: No, well, your political partisanship stands clear and stands exposed. The State Government has made very clear that it is willing to take over this land and manage it as national park...
ERIC NOEL: Don't get excited...
KELVIN THOMPSON: ..for all people for all time.
ERIC NOEL: Calm down, calm down.
ZOE DANIEL: But the lobby group says it changed sides because the Federal Government came up with the most realistic option. So you picked a winner and basically that was the Federal Government?
ERIC NOEL: Well, I think everyone is a winner in this situation, I think there are no losers.
ZOE DANIEL: Long-term Portsea resident David Stewart agrees. He likes the plan for an educational precinct taking advantage of the area's maritime heritage and environment and agrees with Environment Victoria's view that developing the Portsea Camp site is a fair swap for the sake of preserving the valuable defence land on the foreshore.
DAVID STEWART, RESIDENT: I think the value of that site that the people will come to enjoy over the next 40 or 50 years will make it so valuable, priceless in fact, that it will be preserved for all time.
ZOE DANIEL: But opponents of development at Point Nepean are still not satisfied. Vicki Sullivan is a direct descendant of the earliest settlers at Portsea. Many of her relatives are buried at Point Nepean and it's the time after her own passing that she fears.
VICKI SULLIVAN, RESIDENT: I would feel a lot safer if it was national park, because we don't sell our national parks and you know the Commonwealth wanted to sell it five minutes ago. Who's to say in 50 years, when I'm 90 and far too old to fight again that they're not going to sell it off then, who knows?
KATHY BOWLEN: By the way, among the backers of ESL are Melbourne's Lieberman family, Steve Vizard and Toll Holdings' boss, Paul Little.
AND NOW FOR MORE CURRENT INFORMATION.
22 September 2014
Local groups condemn planning proposals for Point Nepean Quarantine Station
The Nepean Conservation Group and Nepean Historical Society have voiced their strong criticism of the proposed granting of a 99-year lease over the Point Nepean Quarantine Station to a Sorrento property developer.
Dr. Ursula de Jong, Chair of the Nepean Conservation Group, said that the Government has kept the community in the dark on critical details.
?What we do know, however, is that government plans effectively excise a large area (not yet determined) from Point Nepean National Park. And that their preferred developer Point Leisure Group have proposed an exclusive luxury health, wellbeing and geothermal spa retreat that ignores the values of the national park and will deny public access to many areas of the park. The community fought long and hard for an integrated national park at Point Nepean - the proposal further separates the QS from the NP.
?A new planning zone (Special Use Zone 5) is proposed, as well as some other changes including removal of environmental significance overlays, amendments to the park management plan, removal of third party appeal rights to VCAT. The new zone allows future sub ?division. It puts the Minister for the Environment in charge of both the town planning decisions and the requirements under the National Parks Act, which as Minister he can override. He is also in charge of lease length and conditions.?
Doreen Parker, President of the Nepean Historical Society, said that rich and complex layers of history at the Point Nepean Quarantine Station are of national significance but are not properly planned for in the story being told by the Point Leisure Group.
?PLG has even airbrushed out reference to the name Quarantine Station by calling its development ?The Point?.?
The community groups consider that consultation process was too short, lacks critical information, and denies the community any future involvement in the important decisions about development at the Point Nepean Quarantine Station.
The Victorian Government?s consultation ends on 1 October 2014. After that, all decisions about development of the Point Nepean Quarantine Station will be made behind closed doors between the property developer and the Government.
One of those decisions may be to subdivide the land, an action that will be enabled under the government?s planning processes and made much easier if the property developer is granted the 99-year lease. It?s as good as selling off the Point Nepean Quarantine Station.
Every Victorian will be affected by this proposal for such major development in one of our NPs. The groups are calling on the Victorian Government to redraft the SUZ5, establish planning processes that involve the community in key decision making, provide the details necessary for the community to make an informed judgment, extend the consultation process, and then reconsider the Point Leisure Group?s proposals. They are also calling for people to submit their concerns to the Government by the 1 October 2014 deadline.
Some of the building at the Quarantine Station led to the death of Rosebud fisherman,Patrick Wee Wee (buried at the Rye Cemetery, where a detailed plaque has been installed by the Rye Historical Society) and four quarrymen whom Patrick was taking to the Quarantine Station.
The Telegraph reports that last Sunday evening, 26th ultimo, about 5 o clock, a Maori fisherman, named Patrick
Tomut Wee Wee, living at Rosebud,near Dromana, was drinking in the bar of the Tootgarook Hotel, at Tootagrook, and conversing with four young men named respectively Richard Knott, Richard Barry, Richard Abbott, and Richard
Bellringer, who wanted him to take them to the Quarantine ground, where they were employed by Mr Muir, a con-tractor, as stonemasons.
(04 Jan 1870 - VICTORIA.
on 2014-10-24 22:42:01
Itellya is researching local history on the Mornington Peninsula and is willing to help family historians with information about the area between Somerville and Blairgowrie. He has extensive information about Henry Gomm of Somerville, Joseph Porta (Victoria's first bellows manufacturer) and Captain Adams of Rosebud.