Eastlakes

    Parkes Developments Pty Ltd began development of the old Rosebery Racecourse in 1968. On 7 November 1971, unit residents at Eastlakes gathered for what would be their first protest against further construction on a nearby site. The owners of the firm originally promised tenants this three-and-a-half-acre area on Evans Street would remain as parkland, reportedly charging those with views of this site a higher price. Residents approached Jack Mundey and the BLF, who called a meeting of workers on another Parkes Developments site; Hotel Metropole. By unanimous vote, the workers agreed to a ‘stopwork’ if the Eastlakes development went ahead and a green ban was officially placed on the Eastlakes site by the BLF in December 1971.

    In February 1973 the Botany Municipal Council approved another Eastlakes development plan from Parkes Developments which involved the construction of four eight-storey residential unit blocks. Eastlakes residents once again gathered in protest, rejecting the the development plan as it would only further complicate existing traffic and parking problems. They sought to enlarge the original green ban from 1971 to cover any home unit development in the Eastlakes area and by early March they had once again enlisted the support of Jack Mundey and the BLF.

    The result of all of this was to ensure that the land now known as Eastlakes Reserve was kept free from further development and instead kept as park land. In August 2021, Bayside Council was successful in their application to the Geographical Names Board to rename 'Eastlakes Reserve' to 'Jack Mundey Reserve' to honour Mundey's legacy and the Green Bans Movement. Signs have been replaced and an interpretative sign and renaming plaque has been installed.

    The project was funded by the NSW Government's Community Building Grant. An exhibition at George Hannah Memorial Library and formal unveiling ceremony was held in late 2021. “Parks for the People! Eastlakes, Jack Mundey, and the Green Bans” exhibition at George Hannah Memorial Library and Gallery, from 6 December 2021 – 17 May 2022.

    The developer Parkes Development warrants further research. In the ABCTV documentary, Juanita: A Family Mystery (part 2), a speaker mentioned that Parkes Development was one of the developers in Victoria St and affiliated with Abe Saffron.

    See Juanita: A Family Mystery at https://iview.abc.net.au/show/juanita-a-family-mystery/series/0/video/DO2017H001S00 

    Photograph courtesy Bayside Council.

    “Parks for the People! Eastlakes, Jack Mundey, and the Green Bans” exhibition at George Hannah Memorial Museum, Mascot Library, from 6 December 2021 – 17 May 2022.

    This cartoon was most likely published in the Sydney Morning Herald in 1973. It shows an over bearing real estate developer with plans in his pocket at the wheel of the bulldozer. The wheel is connected to the head of Pat Morton, NSW Minister for Local Government and Highways, implying that it is really the capitalist developers who are driving the state. Sir Robert Askin, NSW Liberal Premier (1965-1975), holds the gear lever. The big, hairy forearm of the Builders Labourers’ Federation is trying to stop the developers and protect The Rocks, Kelly’s Bush and Eastlakes from destruction.

    Bruce Petty, The real wreckers in the building industry!, 1971. Cartoon used by BLF on their Christmas card to members in 1971. Courtesy Trades Hall Collection.
    This 1971 aerial photograph shows a large patch of open space (coloured in green), and “The Lakes” Shopping Centre surrounded by unit blocks which look very different to the other houses in the area.

    In October 1971, when the new Eastlakes residents witnessed trenches being dug and crates of bricks being delivered to the only remaining open space in the area, they contacted Botany Council to object to the disappearance of their promised park.

    A public meeting was held on 7 November 1971 where locals asked the BLF to support their campaign to save their small green space in the heart of the estate. The BLF agreed and work stopped on the next set of housing units, which were purported to cost $1.5 million.

    Aerial photograph dated 6 October 1971 of Eastlakes and surrounding suburbs. Courtesy and © State of New South Wales (Spatial Services, a business unit of the Department of Customer Service NSW). For current information go to https://www.spatial.nsw.gov.au/.
    This 1963 plan shows existing green spaces wedged between residential areas. The large vacant lots in the centre of the plan were originally set aside for “public garden and recreation space”. Purchasers of the Eastlakes units were told by salesmen that the redevelopment would include parkland.

    Parkes Development Pty Ltd, Plan of Redevelopment of Rosebery Racecourse, April 1963. Bayside Council Local History Collection
    Judy Mundey talking with Ron Hoenig MP (former Mayor of the City of Botany bay Council) about the naming of Jack Mundey Reserve, 2021.
    Judy Mundey talking with curator Alison Wishart about Jack and the Green Bans at George Hanna Memorial Museum, Mascot Library, 2022.
    SMH Article, Residents seek union black ban. 05.03.1973
    SMH Article, Waterloo Not like Eastlakes. 19.02.1973
    Aerial photographs of the Lakes Shopping Centre and surrounding flats construction in Eastlakes, 1965. Here you can see the vacant lot, across from the shopping centre, which would go on to become Jack Mundey Reserve. Photographs by Jack Hickson. (Image source: SLNSW)

    About

    On the 50th anniversary of the Green Bans, the ideals of their struggle to protect heritage and environmental amenity for all to enjoy are more urgent than ever. In 2011 the Green Bans Art Walk and Exhibition (in two parts at The Cross Art Projects and The Firstdraft Depot Project Space), told the story of an inspired period, its charismatic leaders and grass-roots heroes. The project comprised a series of public guided walks between the exhibition venues functioned as a living instruction manual and moral compass charting stories of good and evil, creativity and conflict. Read more

    Now

    The Powerhouse Museum Alliance is a group of concerned citizens working to save the Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo. The Alliance includes longstanding benefactors of the museum, former trustees, design and heritage experts and senior museum professionals. Read more