Yerranderie Regional Park’s Future

Yerranderie is a beautiful historic silver mining town, frozen in the early 1900’s with a stunning backdrop of the Blue Mountains. It should be a shining example of world class sustainable eco tourism and an important feature in the NSW tourism mix.

Our Park is a distinctly unique 470 hectares area with an entire historic town with heritage buildings, extensive historic mine sites, private properties and a community managed by Wollondilly Council within the boundaries. The region has an important and extensive First Nation’s heritage.

Valerie Lhuede donated the town of Yerranderie to the NSW Government in 2010. The specific terms and undertakings agreed to by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service are recorded in a legal Memorandum document which was registered along with the land transfer. You can download it HERE.

Very few of the undertakings agreed to by the NPWS have been followed through despite National Parks Manager Catherine Gallery writing to Ms. Lhuede before the donation to assure her that National Parks “….would maintain its commitment to the implementation of your vision for the site as detailed in previous correspondence between yourself and Bob Conroy of the Parks and Wildlife Group.” This letter can be downloaded HERE.

One condition stipulated was that the NPWS would develop a “Master Plan” for Yerranderie.

Yerranderie Regional Park still does not have a Plan of Management which is required by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Act to be drafted “…as soon as is practicable”. We have now reached 13 years since the land was donated and then gazetted as a Regional Park. It is managed by the NSW Government’s Department of Environment, National Parks Blue Mountains Division.

It should have a plan. It needs a plan. Legislation requires it to have a plan.

The adjacent Blue Mountains National Park Plan of Management is from 2001 despite the NPWS own guidelines requiring them to update their plans every 10 years. That Plan just describes Yerranderie as “privately owned” . There have been six people killed in the Blue Mountains Park in rock slides and landslips in recent years. A lot has changed since 2001 in land management technology.

Having no Plan of Management for Yerranderie Regional Park means that there are no rules or guidelines. This results in ad-hoc decision making or more often it is the case that no decisions are being made.

We believe that Ms. Lhuede’s document should be the starting point for a properly consulted Plan of Management for Yerranderie. Under Section 80A of the NSW Real Property Act, the NPWS has a legal obligation to meet the covenants listed in the Memorandum document. Far more importantly, they have a deep moral duty to honour the deal they did with Ms. Lhuede and the promises they made when accepting the donation.

The Jenolan Caves tourist complex is within the Blue Mountains National Park and run by the Jenolan Caves Reserve Trust, a self-funded Government entity. We believe that there needs to be a discussion about whether this is a suitable model to also manage Yerranderie.

There needs to be a carefully considered approach to consultation between ratepayers, the Yerranderie Management Committee, Wollondilly Shire Council, First Nations people, historic groups and many other stakeholders.

At this stage there only exists a 2014 STATEMENT OF MANAGEMENT INTENT for Yerranderie which is a 5 page cut and paste document outlining some broad principles and stating that a Management Plan would be prepared.

The development of a Plan of Management for Yerranderie Regional Park is an exciting opportunity to build on Yerranderie’s rich cultural, historical and natural assets to preserve it for future generations. Our community needs support to formalise processes and procedures so that we all feel safe and can host visitors in sustainable ways. In other areas, technological advances for land management (including re-invigoration of Aboriginal practices), pest control, seismic monitoring and remote video surveillance need to be incorporated into the Plan.