Opera House Car Park

    Though the BLF worked mainly with resident action groups and environmental organisations, professional organisations did occasionally enlist their support. For instance, in 1972 it was proposed that a carpark for the Opera House would be built under part of the Royal Botanic Garden.

    Architects, engineers, and conservationists alike shared concerns as construction would pose a threat to ancient fig trees within the proposed site. The carpark would interfere with their root systems and cause the destruction of at least three full trees. The ventilation plans for the underground carpark were also inadequate, meaning that the health of all nearby people and vegetation was at risk due to harmful exhaust fumes.  

    After the government dismissed these concerns the groups turned to the BLF for support and on March 22, 1972 they announced that members of the union would refuse to ‘desecrate the area purely for the sake of present-day expediency.’ The fig trees were saved, and the green ban held until 1975 when the state government announced the carpark would be built on another site.

    References
    Meredith Burgmann and Verity Burgmann, Green bans movement, Dictionary of Sydney, 2011.

    Research provided by Isabella Maher


    About

    On the 50th anniversary of the Green Bans, the ideals of their struggle to protect heritage and environmental amenity for all to enjoy are more urgent than ever. In 2011 the Green Bans Art Walk and Exhibition (in two parts at The Cross Art Projects and The Firstdraft Depot Project Space), told the story of an inspired period, its charismatic leaders and grass-roots heroes. The project comprised a series of public guided walks between the exhibition venues functioned as a living instruction manual and moral compass charting stories of good and evil, creativity and conflict. Read more

    Now

    The Powerhouse Museum Alliance is a group of concerned citizens working to save the Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo. The Alliance includes longstanding benefactors of the museum, former trustees, design and heritage experts and senior museum professionals. Read more