A sneak peek at chapters from The House that Jack Built: Jack Mundey Green Bans Hero.

Grass roots stirrings - the movement gathers pace

Within a decade or so of the first green ban, Australian people began to think about cultural and natural resources at the national as well as the local level.

Places like Fraser Island, the Gordon Franklin Rivers in Tasmania, the great Mallee forests of Western Australia, the Great Barrier Reef, and the rainforest of North Queensland were in the news – people were active in defending them against threats to their geographical or scenic values. In urban areas, it was acceptable to support the preservation of treasured old buildings and historic places.

While pioneering conservationists of the 1920s and 1930s were battlers of an earlier generation, their activities and interventions were sporadic and leadership was in short supply. The 1960s and ’70s saw the emergence of strong leaders such as Mundey, Bob Brown, Geoff Mosley and Milo Dunphy who acted as a unifying force for the grass roots membership.

Chapter 4 – Grass roots stirrings

▲ Photo: Susannah Place, The Rocks, today.
◀︎ Photo: Burdekin House, Macquarie St, Sydney. Grand mansion - demolished 1933.

Heritage and environmental conservation - how the law has changed

50 years ago, heritage had little or no standing in Australian law. Today governments at every level and all persuasions are bound by statute to engage directly or indirectly in heritage matters and projects.

50 years ago civil society had little or no influence in urban conservation. Today we regularly see governments dealing with NGOs and communities as a matter of course.

Until the green ban era, heritage buildings could be demolished over-night, no questions asked – unless they enjoyed the temporary protection of a green ban. Society soon came to realise that new laws were necessary. Throughout Australia, heritage legislation was gradually introduced; and the short-term protection offered by the bans was replaced by the long-term protection of the common law.

Chapter 2 – How green was my valley.

Environmental conservation milestones - in Australia and overseas

1892 – Sierra Club established in USA. Probably the first international conservation body.

1900-1950:   1915 – Tasmania’s Scenery Preservation Act. First Heritage Statute in Australia;   1933 – Athens Charter. At Congres Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne;   1944 – Commonwealth Department of Housing Report;  1945 – National Trust of Australia (NSW) established.

1960s:   1961 – World Wildlife Fund established;   1962 – Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson published; 1964 – Venice Charter;  1966 – Australian Conservation Foundation started.

1970s:   1970 – Green ban era runs from 1970-75;   1971 – Greenpeace established (Vancouver);   1972 – First Club of Rome Report: Limits to growth;   1974 – Report on the National Estate;  1976 – Wilderness Society established (Hobart) and HABITAT Conference (Vancouver);   1977 – Australia ICOMOS founded;  1977-78 – First NSW heritage legislation. Creation NSW Heritage Council.

1980s:   1980 – NSW Historic Houses Trust established;   1987 – Brundtland Report;  1988 – UN International Panel on Climate Change.

Part of Appendix 1  – Key national and international influences on growth of Australia’s environmental conservation movement.

The Athens Charter 1933
▲ Photo: Athens Charter by Le Corbusier.

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