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Kurnell Peninsula

Towra Point forms part of the Kurnell Peninsila, one of the most historic, yet neglected, areas in Sydney

Towra Point in a Holistic Context

The Kurnell Peninsula’s biggest claim to fame is as the site of Captain James Cook’s first landing place in Australia and site of one of the first contacts between European and Aboriginal peoples..The Peninsula is bounded by the Tasman Sea and Botany Bay. Apart from the finest remaining wetland system in the Sydney region and scientifically important vegetation, the Peninsula also hosts one of the largest oil refineries in Australia, some of the more significant sand dunes and a village of about 2000 residents. However, it has been neglected and abused over many decades with the dunes being depleted through indiscriminate mining, landfill operations and resort development proposals causing concern and the Sutherland Shire’s sewage being discharged from the Peninsula’s coastline. Noxious weeds and development also posing a serious threat to the ecology of the Peninsula.

Weeds on the Peninsula

The Kurnell Peninsula has a significant problem with invasive weeds. These include pampas grass, bitou bush, asparagus, lantana, castor oil plant, asthma weed and green cestrum. Sutherland Shire Council has recently appointed a Noxious Weeds Officer whose job it is to formulate strategies for managing the weeds. In 1998 all major landholders on the Peninsula were contacted and informed of the extent of their problems and ways to fix them. They began on-ground action on their properties later that year and into 1999. However the rate of weed cleanup is still too slow to prevent an increasingly serious threat from weeds to natural vegetation and wildlife.

Botany Bay National Park

Botany Bay National Park, located on the eastern end of the Kurnell Peninsula, covers an area of 324 hectares and contains coastal heathlands, wetlands and woodlands. A significant feature is Captain Cook’s Landing Place where Cook and his crew first set foot on Australian soil in 1770. In 1870, Thomas Holt erected a monument (below) to celebrate the centenary. Others are sites of Aboriginal cultural significance, remnant vegetation and threatened species and a spectactular coastline.You can also visit the Discovery Centre which has displays and information on the history and wetlands as well as a souvenir shop and other facilities.

Did you know...

One of the most recient major events at Towra was the "Bitou Bash"?

Other Community Initiatives on the Peninsula

Clean Up of Historic Drive

Another intiative on the Kurnell Peninsula is the clean up of the main access road into Kurnell. The local Progress/Precinct Committee has teamed up with the Sutherland Shire Tourism Association to put forward a proposal for volunteers to adopt a 1 km section of the road which they would be responsible for cleaning up. Local businesses have also been approached and Council are in support and will provide insurance and gloves for volunteers. 17 volunteers have signed up and work is underway.

Kurnell Gateway

NPWS are developing a proposal to construct a major environmental education facility at the entrance to the Kurnell Peninsula. The proposal is centred on a former sandmining site which is now a constructed wetland. The facility will allow visitors to enjoy the wetland experience without disturbing the conservation values of the Nature Reserve.
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