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This IS the Most Remarkable Shire!

Beyond any doubt, Sutherland Shire is the most remarkable local government area in Australia. Nowhere else will you find such a concentration of significant features. Just look at the natural features we are blessed with:
  • Two great bays - Port Hacking and the southern third of Botany Bay;

  • Three of Sydney's six rivers - the Georges, Woronora and Hacking;

  • Four national parks - the Royal, Heathcote, Botany Bay and Georges River parks;

  • Many of Sydney's best beaches;

  • Kurnell Peninsula, 'Birthplace of the Nation', where Captain Cook and Phillip first landed."

"So very much!" said the speaker, environmentalist Bob Walshe, who was addressing a Miranda meeting on Volunteering. Pressed for further features by Shire Life , he developed his 'most remarkable Shire' theme.

Green, with water views

Ask most Shire residents, he says, and they'll tell you they like the greenness of the Shire - and that you can't go far without getting a view of water.

Council has estimated that, apart from perhaps 30 million trees in the four national parks, there are well over a hundred 'urban bushland' areas where a million large and five million small trees grow.

On top of these green facts, the Shire has 50 per cent of Sydney's mangroves and 90 per cent of its saltmarshes - both vital to wetlands and littoral (shoreline) biodiversity.

Motorists and train travellers from Sydney to the Shire can only enter it by crossing water (the Georges) and as they drive to many of the Shire's suburbs they get glimpses of water (Georges, Woronora, Botany Bay, Port Hacking and the Shire's long stretch of coastline). We are indeed blessed!

Distinct Shire Identity

You can say the Shire's identity is defined by water and trees, for our boundaries are set by Georges River, Botany Bay, the coastline, and the Royal, Heathcote and Georges River National Parks.

Those natural boundaries guarantee us a uniquely individual identity. How fortunate we are by comparison with nearly all of Sydney's 42 other municipalities whose boundaries are just lines on a map and whose residents often have no idea where the boundaries are drawn.

With such a distinctive natural identity, the Shire is all the more remarkable for nevertheless being an integral part of the mighty Sydney metropolis and close to its CBD. Sadly, we are poorly provided with public transport, but forces are generating within the Shire community which will increasingly clamour for a better transport deal from State Government.

This abundant Shire "Surrounded as we are by this abundance of natural blessings," says Shire Life, "we locals have an obligation to show APPRECIATION in practical ways. How? We offer a smorgasbord of lively suggestions.

Explore the Shire this summer!

You'll never exhaust it SO big is the Shire that even old-timers, veteran bushwalkers for instance, say emphatically, "You'll never exhaust its interests".

Its total area is 370 sq km, but 200 of those are natioanl parkland. Only 170 sq km is urban development. Only? That's a lot. Get out your Gregory's and try counting up the Shire's suburbs - between 40 and 50 on our count.

If you set out to know the urban Shire you'll have a lot of driving to do - nearly a thousand km of roads. But getting to know the national parks, the coastline and the three rivers, will certainly defeat your most strenuous efforts.

That confronts every Shire resident with a burning questions: With so much to explore and enjoy inside this remarkable Shire, why travel outside to Perth, Paris or the Poles when you've got it all here? After all, travel is so costly, it's sometimes dangerous, and it's always rather unsettling.

Experience the Bushcare Movement

If there's a patch of bushland near you, you'll know that it's precious. Does a Bushcare group work on it, monthly, weeding and planting native species?

Such volunteer Groups operate, with Council help, in many bush reserves, but not all. You could get a group of neighbours together and ring Council (9710 0192) to ask how to proceed.

While you're making up your mind, explore some of the Shire's 'urban bushland' treasures:
  • Joseph Banks Native Plant Reserve , Manooka Place, Kareela. A feast for lovers of native plants.

  • Jannali Reserve , accessed from the north end of Linden Street or Tudar Road, is a large tract, with walkways and river views.

  • Prince Edward Park , accessed from River Road, or behind Sutherland Oval, has river fishing and canoeing, playing fields, picnic spots, and many bushwalks. (Several Bushcare groups work in this area.)

  • Menai Park , off Allison Crescent or Mayman Row, is valuable remnant bushland, near busy Menai Marketplace, and is much in need of tender loving Bushcare.

Here's all you desire

There's so much here to be enjoyed. right now, this summer. All the "exploring" suggestions are of course thoroughly enjoyable, but there are many more opportunities, whether for families, single adults, teenagers or groups.

Apart from all the Shire's beaches, parks-for-picnics, and river or coastal fishing, here is a range of special attraction...

Worth Visiting
  • Hazelhurst Arts Centre, Gymea (enq. 9542 8580)

  • Sydney Tramway Museum, Loftus (enq. 9542 3646)

  • Esplanade Walk, Cronulla (around Cronulla peninsula)

  • Bundeena Ferry Trip, from Cronulla (enq. 9523 2990)

  • Camellia Garden, Caringbah, on President Ave

  • Gunamatta Park, Cronulla, near the station · Oak Park and Shelly Park, off Ewos Pde, Cronulla

  • Sutherland Shire Environment Centre (enq. 9545 3077)

  • Shire Historical Society, Sutherland (enq. 9525 4339)

  • Beekeepers Centre, Sutherland (enq. 9542 3251)

  • Cronulla Plaza, near railway and beach; while there, call in at the Tourism Association's office and pick up brochures (9544 2144)

N.B. Literally hundreds of Shire clubs/societies are listed in Council's Community Directory

A great Library

Trips, picnics and explorations this summer will bring home to you the size of this remarkable Shire, but don't forget the even greater size of - the mind. Which is where a library comes in.

The Shire is blessed with a splendid library service - the Central Library, in Belmont Street, Sutherland, and its seven branches, in Bundeena, Caringbah, Cronulla, Engadine, Menai, Miranda, Sylvania.

This is the CCC of the Shire, its Core Cultural Centre, which caters to all ages and tastes - certainly to some interest of every member of the family.

Books galore, of course, but also magazines, newspapers, maps, cassettes, CDs, information videos, and large-print books. And there are photcopiers, fax machines, personal computers and internet services. Oh, and abundant games, toys, activities and story-telling for children.

At the Central Library you'll find an incredible Notice Board plastered with hundreds of opportunities - the leaflets of community groups offering events, courses, clubs that testify to the Shire's vigorous social life.

Community efforts to improve the Shire

Here is a rundown on some efforts we know are being made by community groups to improve the Shire.

  • Coordinate the management of Botany Bay which is now fragmented among 26 authorities.

  • Special care for the Bay's southern third (less polluted by development than is the north)

  • Protection needed for Towra beach/wetland from north-caused wave energies.

  • All of Towra wetlands to come under State Government ownership.

  • Taren Point wetlands to be included in Ramsar-protected areas now limited to Towra.

  • Strenuous efforts to clean up pollution of Georges River (stormwater, chemical effluent, etc.).

  • Need to revive ferry service from La Perouse to Kurnell (later, to Como and tramway).

  • Improve the rail service to Como station along with the staffing of the station.

  • Preserve threatened urban bushland in Sylvania.

  • Oppose largescale urban development of Helensburgh which would pollute Hacking River.

  • Secure culling of the deer population which is devastating Royal National Park.

  • Increase staffing by National Parks and Wildlife Service officers of Royal National Park.

  • Strongly protect Port Hacking from unsightly and polluting developments on its shoreline.

  • Do not make concessions to motorised use of the Port at the expense of other users.

  • Take swift and effective action against entry of exotic marine organisms into the Port.

  • Improve transport - both the Bundeena-Cronulla ferry service and Cronulla train services.

  • Observe Development Control Plan to protect the village character of Bundeena/Maianbar.

  • Protect Loftus and Yarrawarrah local roads from main road 'rat-runners'.

Central (urban)
  • Support for Council's efforts to curb urban overdevelopment throughout the Shire.

  • Support for Council's efforts to reduce traffic congestion and improve public transport, cycleways.

  • An early start with light rail (the modern tram); and draw the community into planning its route.

  • Urgent need to improve bus services throughout the Shire.

  • State's reserved-for-freeway corridor handed to Council for parkland (esp. from Bridge to Kingsway).

  • Preserve all existing urban bushland; consolidate the Green Web across the Shire.

  • Identify about 40 neighbourhoods, and stimulate local 'ownership' of each as a unique centre.

  • Promote 'Shop locally!' to minimise car use and patronise local businesses.

  • Develop policy for aged-care, including preference to living in the family home.

  • No new nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights; the site to pursue other scientific research.

  • Closure of Lucas Heights Tip by 2024; immediate handover of 124 ha bushland to Council.

  • Progressive conversion of Tip areas to extensive new sports facilities and walking tracks.

  • Swift improvements to Menai area roads to cope with increased (Woronora Bridge induced) traffic.

  • Promote the objectives of the Woronora Valley Master Plan.

  • Need to preserve village status of Woronora Valley; no 'access road' from Woronora Heights.

  • Fencing and management of 'transition forest' adjacent to Menai Marketplace. · Menai police site: build permanent station, indoor sports complex, youth centre, swim centre.

  • No residential release of West Menai land - assist its return to natural state. · Encourage business in Illawong, Alfords Point, Bangor, Barden Ridge, rather than commercial expansion of central Menai.

  • Promote awareness of Kurnell history (Cook, Phillip), 'Birthplace of Modern Australia'.

  • Support Council's efforts to end further sandmining on Kurnell Peninsula.

  • A plan of management for the whole Kurnell Peninsula (revise 1989 Regional Environmental Plan).

  • With upgrade of Sewage Treatment imminent, ensure all sources of beach pollution are plugged.

  • Oppose any further large industrial and residential projects on Kurnell Peninsula.

  • Insist State Government embark soon on doubling the Cronulla-Sutherland rail track.

  • Support Council's intention to limit drastically high-rise development in waterfront areas.

  • Tree planting program for the denuded beach foreshores around the whole of Bate Bay.