North Head Sanctuary Foundation
is working with Government agencies
towards the establishment of
on North Head
at the gateway of Sydney Harbour
- a flagship for Australia's
and a celebration of
our natural and cultural heritage.
Car-rang-gel Sanctuary on North Head, Sydney
towards a Sanctuary since 2002
- Forum hosted by Sydney Harbour Federation Trust (SHFT) to discuss
North Head as a Sanctuary
2003 - Jim Lynch commissioned to prepare a Sanctuary
2003 - Broad scale Plan of Management for all seven
former defence sites around Sydney Harbour
2003 - 2005 North Head Sanctuary Foundation conducted
workshops to define values, meaning of Sanctuary, etc
2006 - Sanctuary Plan of Management is adopted
by the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust
2006 - April Tender to prepare wildlife management
plan was let to Australian Wildlife Conservancy
2006 - May - National Heritage listing for the whole
of North Head
2007 - January 3rd - Announcement that NSW Govt
handed title deeds of School of Artillery site to SHFT
2007 - June - formal opening of the former Gate House
as the Visitor Centre for the Sanctuary
2007 - April - expressions of interest invited for
occupation of buildings within the Sanctuary
2007 - Tender for wildlife management
2008 - Preferred tenderer for wildlife management
2008 - Partnership Agreement between Sydney Harbour
Federation Trust and North Head Sanctuary Foundation
2008 - Approval for Native Plant Nursery operated
by North Head Sanctuary Foundation
- Announcement of two grants to help set up the Nursery and the education
2009 - January - Education Centre begins operation
2009 - April - Nursery ready for plants
2009 - June - First seedlings planted out
2009 - August - Official opening of Nursery
2009 - November - Second bay of Nursery completed
2011 - December - official opening of the new Education
2012 - February - North Head Sanctuary recognised with new signage
2017 - June - Introduction of pygmy possums and brown antechinus
In July 2002, the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust together with the National
Parks and Wildlife Service organised a forum on North Head in the Artillery
School buildings at which various participants presented the possibilities
for the area to become an ecological sanctuary. The ways in which the
community could participate were discussed.
The importance of
integrated management of the whole of North Head, so as to protect and
conserve this amazing place, with its natural,
Aboriginal, built and cultural values, has long been recognised
by those with an interest in North Head.
of its significance comes from the relative isolation derived from its
uses, both before and since European settlement - a place of peace and
tranquility, a place of refuge. As the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust
has identified in its Draft Plan and subsequent work, North Head's relative
peace and solitude, to be found on the doorstep of our largest city, are
another important aspect of its 'sanctuary' value. North Head should,
as the Trust proposes become "a retreat, place of contemplation and reflection".
for integrated management of North Head took a step closer to formalisation
when the North Head Advisory Committee was set up under Section 22 of
the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act in 1995.
August 1997 address on the State Government's vision for Sydney Harbour
Foreshores, NSW Premier Bob Carr identified Sydney Harbour as "one of
the most notable and renowned natural urban features in the World". In
that same address, Premier Carr set down some important principles for
the hand-back of Commonwealth land to the State - principles which he
said were to "ensure that decisions are made in the best interests of
the people of New South Wales."
years local voices in support of integrated conservation management across
North Head have strengthened, until in July 2002, the Sydney Harbour Federation
Trust (SHFT), in conjunction with the National Parks & Wildlife Service
(NPWS) hosted the North Head Sanctuary forum. While the SHFT is currently
responsible for planning for the School of Artillery site, the State Government
controls most of the land on North Head.
of people from community, scientific, educational and other interests
came together at that conference to champion the need for a North Head
Sanctuary. From that group came the North Head Sanctuary Foundation -
now incorporated as a not-for-profit community-based organisation that
has obtained tax-deductible status and a place in the planning and management
of a North Head Sanctuary.
Sanctuary Concept Plan
In 2003 the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust (SHFT) commissioned New Zealander
Jim Lynch (the champion and driving force of the Karori Sanctuary in Wellington)
to prepare a draft Concept Plan. In January 2004, Andrew Woodmansey was
appointed by SHFT to manage the North Head project and has added more
detail to the draft Concept Plan.
Head Sanctuary Foundation had a place at the planning table, together
with the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, the National Parks & Wildlife
Service (subsequently renamed as Dept of Environment and Climate Change
- DECC) and Aboriginal interests.
Plan of Management for seven former defence sites
The Sydney Harbour
Federation Trust prepared a draft plan for management of all seven former
defence sites in Sydney Harbour. This draft plan, which included an outline
of a plan for a sanctuary on North Head, was available for public comment
towards the end of 2002 and was adopted by the Federal Government by the
end of 2003.
2004 SHFT had appointed a Scientific Committee to assist with biodiversity
management planning and was recruiting a Natural Resource Manager for
North Head's former School of Artillery site.
- 2005 Planning processes
Head Sanctuary Foundation, through its subcommittees, organised a series
of workshops to define what the community meant by the word "Sanctuary"
and to produce vision statements for aspects of the proposed sanctuary
- Aboriginal heritage, Built
Heritage, Natural Heritage.
A further workshop produced a statement outlining criteria
for uses for buildings and spaces on North Head that would be
compatible with being part of a Sanctuary.
Plan of Management for Sanctuary is adopted
The Concept Plan prepared by Jim Lynch was modified by Andrew Woodmansey
and, during 2005, was used as a basis for the preparation of a Plan of
Management for the School of Artillery site.
During 2005, Sally
Hamilton was appointed by SHFT to manage North Head projects. These included
bush regeneration, invertebrate survey, bird survey, bandicoot monitoring
and rabbit control. NHSF members voluntarily assisted with some of these
projects. In addition there were maintenance works and upgrades of buildings
including the preparation of a Visitor's Centre.
Early in 2006, the
Plan of Management for the School of Artillery site was ready for public
comment. Via a workshop and subsequent collation of contributions, NHSF
made a submission to this process. That Plan was eventually adopted by
the board of SHFT as the official Plan of Management.
- Plan for natural environment management
In April 2006, the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (who manage 14 Wildlife
Sanctuaries in Australia) was the successful tenderer for the task of
preparing a management plan for the natural environment of the School
of Artillery Site.
On May 12th, 2006, The Hon Tony Abbott formally announced that the whole
of North Head has been added to the National Heritage List which provides
another layer of protection for the area, including requiring that any
new development at any of the sites on North Head cannot proceed without
approval from the Federal Minister for the Environment. This may influence
what is permissible at the Quarantine Station, North Fort and the Police
Sydney Harbour Federation Trust commissioned a Conservation Management
Plan for the built heritage of the School of Artillery Site.
North Head Sanctuary
Foundation celebrates the Heritage Listing of North Head in May, 2006
The Hon Tony Abbott,
Federal MP for Warringah, said while announcing the National Heritage
listing of North Head on 12 May 2006 that this Listing is especially
important and timely given the State Government's refusal to agree to
the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust's plan to protect former defence
lands on North Head.
impasse over the future of the Sanctuary
The Trust had proposed
to spend $20 million restoring heritage buildings and establishing an
ecological sanctuary subject only to the State Government providing
title over the School of Artillery site to the Trust while the work
was being completed.
backs up a previous media report in the Sunday Telegraph on 8th January
2006 that suggested the Federal Government might axe its $20 million
plan for North Head if it cannot get a green light from the State Government
for the rehabilitation and refurbishment of the site proposed by Sydney
Harbour Federation Trust.
Resolution and action
the disagreements between State and Commonweath were resolved. On 3 January
2007, Hon Greg Hunt MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the
Environment and Heritage, announced that the former School of Artillery
site had been transferred from NSW State Government to Commonwealth control
in a joint announcement with NSW environment Minister Bob Debus and the
Hon Tony Abbott MP for Warringah.
The Hon Greg Hunt stated that the 72 hectare site will be managed by the
Sydney Harbour Federation Trust who will create a wildlife sanctuary on
North Head, the adaptive reuse of the Military buildings on this site
will complement the sanctuary, the public will be able to access the site
and the Indigenous heritage of the site will be preserved.
here to read the Media Release issued by North Head Sanctuary
Foundation on 3rd January, 2007.
Opening of Visitor Center
The Sydney Harbour
Federation Trust was able to conduct a formal opening of the North
Head Sanctuary on 1st June, 2007.
gave an Aboriginal Acknowledgment of Ancestors. The Hon Tony Abbott,
MP, and Geoff Bailey (CEO of SHFT) gave speeches.
The North Head
Sanctuary is now open 10am to 4.00pm daily. There are volunteers
in the visitor's centre to give information about the Sanctuary
and there are walking tracks to explore.
You can download
a guide from www.harbourtrust.gov.au.
John Moriarty and The Hon Tony Abbott, MP making speeches
at the opening of the Visitor Centre for the Sanctuary on 1st June,
Leasing process begins
In April 2007 the
Sydney Harbour Federation Trust called for Proposals for leasing the Former
School of Artillery, North Head. The proposals have to be compatible with
the Sanctuary. and community groups were encouraged to apply to occupy
spaces it their use was compatible with the Sanctuary.
North Head Sanctuary
Foundation applied for lease space under Community Users guidelines.
Our focus is on a range of community-oriented actives
- North Head environmental and heritage study centre
- Community based indigenous plant nursery
- A Sanctuary outreach progam.
The closing date was
8 June 2007 and as of July 27th 2008, we have not been formally advised
whether our application is being viewed favourably. We believe that the
Nursery is being considered separately from the total application for
The Australian Institute
of Police Management (AIPM) has leased some buildings in the former School
of Artillery (now the Sanctuary) while the AIPM site in Collins Beach
Road at Spring Cove is being considered for redevelopment. The site was
originally part of the Quarantine Station. The AIPM now wish to redevelop
the site by "replacement of residential blocks, so that the number of
beds can be increased from 30 to 60, and administrative and academic office
accommodation from 35 to 45 employers."
However this development
puts at risk the Little Penguins, an Endangered Population, which use
the Harbour foreshore cliffs as home. About 18 pairs of the colony of
Little Penguins have their nests within metres of the proposed development.
The site is also used by Long-nosed Bandicoots for foraging.
Tender for wildlife management
The Wildlife Management Plan prepared by Australian Wildlife Conservancy
was adopted by the Trust and suitably qualified organisations invited
to tender for management of Natural Heritage.
Successful Wildlife Management tenderer selected
As of July 27th, 2008, the news is that the successful tenderer has been
selected but not yet announced.
We are delighted to report that a Partnership Agreement has been organised
between Sydney Harbour Federation Trust and North Head Sanctuary Foundation.
Shed and former
truck washing bays approved for use as Native Plant Nursery
North Head Sanctuary Foundation applied to use the truck washing
bays and adjacent shed for a community
nursery propagating North Head flora species for use in
bush regeneration areas within the Sanctuary and in nearby places
on North Head.
The front section
of the shed is for a community education centre featuring information
about Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub. During December, volunteers
helped to prepare for construction of the nursery.
Click here to see more about
North Head Sanctuary Foundation receives two grants
grant is from the Threatened Species Network and the other is from
Coastcare. These grants will help fund the construction of the Nursery,
the purchase of necessary equipment, the setup of the Education
Centre, the formation of a plant database, the production of educational
materials and the operation of workshops.
January - Education area ready for visitors
Volunteers cleaned and painted the floor of the education area and
set up the furniture and initial displays. The education area was
ready for visitors and volunteers began staffing the centre in the
weekends. Volunteers sanded and painted the wooden sections for
the construction of the Nursery.
April - Nursery ready for plants
first Nursery Bay was completed, benches installed and seeds planted.
June - First seedlings planted out
The first seedlings from the Nursery were planted in the grounds
of the former School of Artillery in consultation with staff of
Sydney Harbour Federation Trust.
August - Official opening of Nursery
official function was held to celebrate the opening of the Nursery.
The local Member of Parliament, the mayors of four local councils
and senior staff of Sydney Harbour Federation Trust attended.
November - Second Bay of Nursery completed
helped to complete the second bay of the Nursery. The second bay
is designed to be a "hardening up" area for seedlings
before they are ready to be planted out. During the year more than
12 benches were built by volunteers to support the trays of plants.
Planting out continued as seedlings matured.
2011 - December -
official opening of the new Education Centre venue
Sydney Harbour Federation Trust gave permission during 2011 for
North Head Sanctuary Foundation to move the Education Centre from
Building 21 to Building 20. This is a much larger area and is
right on North Fort Rd so more people notice it as they are walking
2012 - February - North Head
Sanctuary recognised with new signage
New signage was erected near the archway across the road from Manly
Hospital - this signage advertises the various uses of North Head
and gives a prominent place to "North Head Sanctuary".
2017 - June -
Another re-introduction of species formerly known to be on
There have been several successful re-introductions of species,
such as bush rats and
pygmy possums, to North Head since the Sanctuary has been
Click here to read about the re-introduction of the brown
Mike Baird,MP, at the opening of Building 20
Pygmy possums and brown antechinus
re-introduced to North Head in June 2017