Blackburn Creek Conservation Group

The Blackburn Creek Conservation Group (BCCG) is the forerunner of today’s Blackburn Creeklands Advisory Committee (BCAC).   The BCCG was formed in the early 1980s to save the land which links and integrates Blacks Walk, Kalang Oval and Furness Park into today’s wonderful park.   The land, owned by the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works (MMBW), was surplus to its needs and therefore to be sold off for housing development.

The BCCG’s “Up the Creek!” campaign effectively convinced the City of Nunawading (now part of the City of Whitehorse) to purchase and preserve the land for the community.

Click here if you’d like to know why it was called Blackburn Creek Conservation Group.

The minutes are in two volumes which you can click to download – beware though, they are scanned in both colour and greyscale and the first is a large file (17 MB).  For easy reference, we provide a summary of proceedings below.

volume 0-2 volume 0-1

BCCG Minutes Volume O-1

Minutes  12th April, 1981:   Review of MMBW position re land including possible flooding, consideration of deputation to Council, Working Bee to clear rubbish, newsletter, public meeting, environmental report, letters to members of parliament, local press;  nomination of office-bearers and formation of sub-committees.

Minutes  22nd April, 1981:  report of meeting with Council, follow up with Minister for Planning and MMBW requesting details of its plans; discussion of policy regarding restoration of the land; review of MMBW communication to Dr Brodie describing its position.

Minutes  7th May, 1981:   inspection by the Blackburn Tree Preservation Society; distribution of the newsletter; discussion of next moves – maintenance cost estimation; approach to City of Nunawading engineer; letter to Minister for Water Supply; agenda for Public Meeting; press release by 15/5/1981; letterboxing reminders re Public Meeting, contact to be made with those attending the initial meeting on 8/4/1981; consideration on the effect on bellbirds.

Minutes  20th May, 1981:  Blackburn Tree Preservation Society’s support; invitations to  Public Meeting including Councillors; full support declared by Councillor Wendy Reid; MMBW response emphasizing Council could still opt to purchase the land; discussion on environmental report, publicity for Public Meeting and speakers decided for Public Meeting.

Minutes  of Public Meeting at Wesley Hall (Main St, Blackburn) 27th May, 1981:  Review by Mr Graham Burgess of the current position and formation of the BCCG from a meeting of the Nunawading Progress Association.  Points of interest – the flood-prone nature of the land generally,  proposed sale of land compulsorily acquired due to it being flood-prone, environmental issues (fungi, birds, bellbirds in particular, fauna/flora corridor to Blackburn Lake, Blackburn Tree Preservation Society on large trees), the need for passive recreation as well as the sports conducted at Kalang Reserve, possibility of National Trust support, disgruntlement re level of rates vs private roads, relativity with other wards, impacts of increasing population density and increased leisure time requiring low-cost/passive recreation;  scenarios for the future of the land were summarized including the negatives of the land not being preserved.  Action points:  to review how the MMBW might retain the land, approach the National Trust, further publicity and investigation into regeneration of the area; unanimous support for resolutions re retention achieved.

Minutes  16th June, 1981:  Discussion of next steps: summary of public meeting with 114 signatures to be sent to Council, MMBW and local press, approaches to various Gov’t agencies, review of MMBW act and further pressure to be applied to Councillors/local members re rezoning the land as Public Open Space.

Minutes  13th July, 1981:  West central ward Councillors meeting; assistance offered by Don MacKinnon MLA; Council correspondence re the land; possibility of Council grant for the environmental study, Victorian Conservation Trust offer to assist; Victorian Conservation Council assistance though the Blackburn Tree Preservation Society; further lobbying of local members and opposition counterparts; title searches of the affected land; next actions: rough concept as passive recreation to be developed, submission to Council Open Space plan, contact local Councillors (prior to elections), letterboxed report to residents by 31/7/1981, Working Bee to be 16/8/1981.

Minutes  13th August, 1981:  Application for grant for environmental study; newsletter #2 delivered to households; financial arrangements; MMBW resetting flood levels in Gardiners Creek to Highbury Road; consideration of analogous land in Jeffrey Street land in the Healesville Freeway reservation; consideration of regarding the land as a corridor from the Burwood drive-in to Blackburn Lake and a walk to highlight; road extensions being Crown Land; support from the Victorian Conservation Council; attendance at Council standing committee and planning meetings .  Next actions:  continue to feed local press, a submission for MMBW / Council, local members and Ministers to be prepared.

Minutes  16th September, 1981:  Environmental study; response to Working Bee (16/8/1981) – rubbish burning(!) and BBQ planned for Show Day; consideration of development options, path improvements,  the submission for MMBW and Council; telephone conversations with MMBW rep Mr Apple;  Don MacKinnon MLA to chair meeting with MMBW, Council and BCCG;  BCCG to meet with Council’s Town Clerk to ensure Open Space committee’s understanding.

Minutes  14th October, 1981:  Rubbish burned 26/9/1981; grant application failed though tree donation offered via John Brandenburg; report on 1/10 meeting with Town Clerk (Ted Jane) who suggested a submission for Council purchase of the land should be made and that inclusion of the land in the metropolitan parks scheme (by the MMBW) was unlikely;  track improvements – bridge(Laurel Gve?)  to Main St (requiring fence relocation in MMBW house in Main St), proposed contact to Anne La Traille (The Age); allocation of parts of the submission to various committee members – informal meeting 21/10 to follow up.

Minutes  18th February, 1982:  Report finalized  and distributed to BCCG members, some Councillors and other interested parties, copies to be delivered to remaining Councillors and the Box Hill Council’s administrator; reported that Council and MMBW were having discussions as to the land’s value and the land had been placed on the Council’s Open Space land acquisition list; planning for a walk on 21/3 to Blackburn Lake to highlight the linear park concept; working bee planned for 4/4 1982 – tree planting and tidy-up.

Minutes  19th April, 1982:  Money-raising badges; report on walk to Blackburn Lake and return by 100 residents with good press; report on Working Bee – 50 residents attended and 140 donated trees planted;  Council / MMBW discussions have slowed – Mr Apple (MMBW) to be contacted to accelerate; enlisting support of Margaret Ray (new MHR for Box Hill (ALP)); Council desire to support another walk in May; boulders in creek for erosion control near Blackburn rd; tree donation from Council; communication to the public to be via newsletter within 3 months;  meetings to be every 6 weeks.

Minutes  25th May, 1982: Council / MMBW discussions continue to be slow; Margaret Ray’s offer to raise with Minister; proposed meeting with Tree Society to consider Tree Preservation Order; Furness Park works completed;  contact with Men of the Trees group towards tree propagation;  Year of the Tree – supply of 100 tree guards; Council sponsored walk 30/5 – publicity brochure to 1000 households;  approach to Peter Evans (ABC presenter).

Minutes  13th July, 1982: Report on latest discussions with Council – MMBW waiting on a survey report of the whole area – Valuer General’s dept to value before end of October;  MMBW admonished group for planting trees without permission; collaboration with Nunawading Garden Education Advisory Committee;  McKellar bequest to National Trust for natural fauna and flora reserve; report on Laburnum Walk 30/5 attended by 140-160 people; report on Alan Reid’s Honeyeaters Walk and tree planting in Kalang park attended by 200 people; Nunawading Family & Community Services – possible grant emphasizing community benefits; contacting Ministers for Planning and for Water Supply; kite day suggestion.

Minutes  9th September, 1982: Contact from, and support for, recently formed Blackburn Residents Association; Tree Preservation Order towards a Local Development Scheme; application for Dept of Community Welfare Services FACS grant; Bowling Club application to extend green and clubhouse – objection to be raised because car park would become an issue; submission to Council consultant re municipality structure plan;  Sandra Bardwell’s The Age article on the walk;  Mr Apple’s (MMBW) advice that the survey had been completed, valuation was underway and board’s offer to Council to be finalized by first week in November; contact with two new Councillors; proposed working bee to pull down fences subject to permission; Year of the Tree committee contact.

Minutes  28th October, 1982: Margaret Ray to raise with Minister for Planning; report sent to Council’s Town Planner, Mr Apple (MMBW) and the Planning Dept of the MMBW; Mr Apple advised delay in presentation of valuation to Council (until early 1983);  Barry Palmer lease able to be terminated at one month’s notice; erosion to be referred to MMBW Mitcham Office;  National Trust not buying land; FACS grant unlikely; Year of the Tree function; Tree Preservation Society assessment of big trees in Acacia Ave;  report on Blackburn Residents Association – 400 people in favour of a Local Development Scheme – subsequent Council vote 11 to 1 in favour, BCCG to propose addition of the creek land to the Local Development Scheme;  communication to the Minister of Planning re the value of the land as a community asset; proposed Christmas get-together and send off for the Shorts.

Minutes  24th November, 1982: Bowling Club’s proposed extensions refused by Council due to car parking issues; Mr Apple (MMBW) advised the off to Council should be finalized by February, 1983; further work towards pushing the board;  successful Year of the Tree meeting attended by 60 people; advertisement by Council of proposed lease to Bowling Club of land for car park; Men of the Trees communication re the State Conservation Strategy; CAE walk from Blackburn Railway Station to Blackburn Lake and then Laburnum Railway Station via the creek.

Minutes  18th April, 1983: Cricket match with Blackburn Residents Association won by BCCG attended by Mayor McKittrick, MLA Ray and city administrator Jane;  report on meeting with Evan Walker arranged by Margaret Ray resulting in the MMBW being asked to reassess its valuation in the light of the land always being open space – thought to be $300,000 – half the previous valuation.  Offer to be discussed by Councillors on 26/4 towards a Council meeting on 9th May.

Minutes  24th May, 1983: Nunawading Council unanimously voted to purchase the creek land from the MMBW – letter from Council 12/5 confirmed; letter of thanks; proposed walk in Wandinong Sanctuary on 29/5 promoted by Council; proposed celebration at Le Calvados restaurant; discussions on the Committee of Management to manage the land and the pros/cons of including Blacks Walk and Furness Park in the one committee;  future of BCCG considered premature; suggestions for names for the park to be considered at walk on 29/5.

Minutes  6th October, 1983: Report on walk – about 100 residents attended; report that transfer of land to Council was progressing slowly – to go to MMBW board on 18/10; development plan to be started by a walk of members through the park on 16/10;  damage to trees on north side of creek by horse; guidelines re forming a Committee of Management to be sought from Council; constitution and mailing list to be developed .

Minutes  30th November, 1983: Letter from Council calling on the group to form a Committee of Management also covering Blacks Walk and Furness Park; Bowling Club application to Council re car park;  BCCG to be renamed and a new constitution developed to cover the Committee of Management role covering Furness Park to Middleborough Road; desire to hold meetings involving a wider cross-section of the community;  3 members walked through the park on 16/10 to commence the development plan; submission towards the State Conservation Strategy to be made.

BCCG Minutes Volume O-2

Minutes  7th March, 1984:  Bowling Club Car Park, Council – finalization of settlement towards identification of boundaries, contacting residents re formation of the Committee of Management, closure of streets (eg Malcolm Street), definition of stream and floodway zone, development plans for park, MMBW re bank works near scout hall, posts at entrances and Working Bee Sunday 15th April, 1984.

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