“Very relevant to current planning debates on heritage and green protection.”

“Appeals to a broad audience beyond planning circles.”


2017 Gerd Albers Award for Best Book On Planning: International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP) - The Hague

“This chronicle, written as a popular narrative, revolves around the Australian heritage and environmental activist , at the same time focussing on a more general intersection of neoliberalism, planning and heritage protection, observed through decades.

As Jack Mundey coined the term “green ban” – as a response against endangering heritage and wilderness sites – in the early 1970s, he certainly became the pioneer of the modern environmental debate. Moreover, his influence became greater in the coming decades – coinciding with the global movement for careful management of the environmental resources.

Finally, his message remains relevant nowadays, as environmental responsibilities are usually put aside in the name of ‘progress’ and selective interest of both public and private sector, while the NGOs are again considered a safeguard of the environment…Conveying such a message in an appealing way is one of the book’s main qualities…”

"Innovative ... the first time an in-depth link is made between Mundey’s career and planning."

"Easy to read."


Planning Institute Of Australia - NSW Division
2017 Awards For Excellence

“The book is about the influence Mundey had as a trade unionist and environmental activist on the emergence of the heritage conservation movement and planning reforms in Australia. It is innovative in that it is the first time an in-depth link is provided between Mundey’s career and planning.

The book is well-researched, easy to read, and explains why ‘green bans’ came about.

It will be a useful resource for academics, students and the general public in helping towards an understanding of Mundey’s influence – both direct and indirect – on policy matters.”

“A beautifully contextualised history of the urban environmental movement in Sydney from the late 1960's.”

“A raft of historical evidence ... provides a balanced picture.”


New South Wales Premier’s History Awards 2017 - NSW Community and Regional History Prize

“James Colman has not simply produced a fine biography of the famous activist, conservationist, communist and unionist Jack Mundey. He has written a beautifully contextualised history of the urban environmental movement in Sydney from the late 1960s. Though other places in Australia and overseas are mentioned, this book is about Sydney and the overlapping communities that have contributed to maintaining the city’s built heritage and social amenity.

Colman lived through the times and events he writes about, and his philosophical and political positions on heritage and the environment are clear. But this is not a partisan account. Drawing on a raft of historical evidence, he provides a balanced picture of the last half-century of Sydney’s urban growth and activism. He pays particular attention to the turbulent 1970s, when Green Bans are the main focus.

The ‘battle for The Rocks’ was perhaps the Australian heritage movement’s major urban coup. It destabilised the dominant ideology of progress, which had gone largely unchallenged throughout Australia’s past, and brought to the fore participatory democracy in civic affairs.”

“Timely ... a richly detailed book."

“A social history (that) vividly places Mundey in his time and place.”

Review by Peter Tonkin

ArchitectureAU - 2 Nov 2017

“The conflict between those focussed on progress at all costs and those appalled at the loss of a sense of continuity and order is played out on these pages, taking us from a time of active disdain for heritage to our current period. The House that Jack Built vividly and comprehensively details this deep shift in our society’s thinking and Mundey’s pivotal role in it.

Mundey made activism respectable – through consultation and a real reflection of society’s neglected values … it moved to the mainstream. (The book) is timely in reinforcing this essential message in an era when our larger cities – and Sydney in particular, again in part resemble bomb sites and as the planning and government procurement processes sidestep key strategic protections.

The book’s subtitle sums up the entire picture – Jack Mundey as the ‘green ban hero’. This powerful and positive word emphasizes that, apart from some minor readjustment of profit, there was a huge amount of gain and not much downside to his and his associates’ efforts … we are all the beneficiaries now …”

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