Sunday, January 29, 2012
Pioneer Dairy Swamp
The Tuggerah Lakes Reserve is more commonly known as the Pioneer Dairy Swamp. It is predominantly cleared land that for a long time has been used for dairying. The Reserve has been the subject of much debate and negotiations amongst the past owners and their attempts to sell the site for development, community groups who have fought to save the site from development, and numerous Government departments who have been involved throughout the process, which lasted over several years.
The Electricity Commission acquired the property in 1986 as part of its plans to build a power station at Mardi. In 1989, the old manager’s house was leased to people who ran cattle on the site. The Mardi power station never eventuated, and the EC attempted to auction the site in1996, but the property was withdrawn 30 minutes before it was due to go to auction purportedly due to expressed environmental concerns regarding the sale. The property was again placed on the market in June 1999, however public protest resulted in a new committee being formed that lobbied the State Government for its preservation. The property’s sale was once again temporarily withdrawn pending a Supreme Court decision on an Aboriginal claim. Although this claim was rejected, pressure from the community and conservation groups stalled the sale for almost 12 months as they continued to lobby the State Government.
In 2000, the Reserve was finally gazetted as Crown land for environmental protection and public recreation, and is presently under the care of the Tuggerah Lakes Reserve Trust. It will be open to the public from the middle of 2012.