Friends of Allen Park Bushland
Did you know that a retirement village was to have been developed on what locals call ‘The Walkway’, back in 1994?
It took a band of tenacious Swannie residents a year and a half to halt the process and win back the Tuarts and Marris that stand so magnificently on the Walkway today.
Allen Park is located in Swanbourne, in Perth’s western suburbs. The Allen Park bushland comprises approximately 8 hectares, some 40% of the Park’s total area. The entire park is within 1km of the Indian ocean and stretches inland from the coastal foredunes, through coastal heath and open tuart-peppermint woodland to the eastern fringe including Jarrah and large Marri trees some hundred years old. The dominant landscape feature of the park is Melon Hill, a 40m high dune with magnificent 360 degree views including Rottnest Island and the city of Perth.
Until 1991, Melon Hill was utilised as part of the coastal defence system. A concrete pillbox installation was removed and the area became reserved for public purposes, but remains Commonwealth land under management by the Department of Defence.
The Allen Park bushland provides linkages and corridors to adjacent and nearby bushland. BushForever site 315 is a critical link between the extensive coastal reserve and Melon Hill. Successive years of funding by NHT between 1997 and 2001 ensured that degraded areas were revegetated to secure linkages between fragmented areas of Allen Park.
Allen Park supports a variety of creatures – possums, bats, reptiles, fungi and Banksia sesslis, the big Tuarts, red Cocky’s Tongues and yellow acacias are sanctuary to wrens, honey-eaters, migratory Rainbow bee-eaters, 28s and a popular stop over for endangered Carnaby’s cockatoos. Birds of prey enjoy the elevated vista and include Brown Goshawks, Black-shouldered Kites, occasional Peregrine Falcons and Barn Owls. Tawny frogmouths favour the peppermints and Boobook Owls nest in old-world Tuarts and Marris.
Allen Park Views
Allen Park entry Points
Our aim is to preserve this special pocket of coastal bushland in a city where urban remnant bushland is under increasing threat from urban expansion. We work to regenerate degraded areas, control erosion, remove exotic species, and protect wildlife by improving the habitat for fauna, flora and fungi. We also want to share our experiences, and encourage people to join us in our endeavours.
Friends of Allen Park meet on Tuesday mornings, 9-11am, and the first Saturday of every month for hands-on bush regeneration within the Allen Park Coastal Reserve.
The FOAP Bushland Group is a friendly bunch of people that don’t mind getting their hands dirty. We meet on the first Saturday of every month for a couple of hours of work in the bush before having tea and snacks. Most Tuesday mornings there is also a small group meeting at the cottage before heading onto the hill.
It’s a lot of fun and you meet more people in the community. You get such a sense of belonging to the bushland when you have made a small contribution to caring for it. Many people hesitate to put up their hands as they think they will be asked to commit to a lot of work. But even the smallest amount of support is good. Even if you just join up (membership $15 / family) and don’t ever come to the work days but just get the newsletter and show your interest, that’s fine.
Find us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/FOAPBG/
or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: Lesley: 9384 7983, Judy: 9383 1501
Activity Dates 2018
MARCH 11th 2-5pm “Splashfest” Swanbourne Beach (no bushcare day). Organised by the City of Nedlands its a family fun day. Car parking proceeds to Allen Park Bushland Group (help fund-raise for the cottage project).
APRIL 7th 9-11am Watering, seed collecting.
MAY 5th 9-11am seed collecting.
JUNE 9th 9-11am planting.
JULY 7th 9-11am planting.
AUGUST 4th 9-11am Fungi search.
SEPTEMBER 1st 9-11am Bird walk from Boobook Sector to Swanbourne Beach.
OCTOBER 6th 9-11am weeding.
NOVEMBER 3rd 8-10am Pellitory seed collecting.
DECEMBER 1st 8-10am Bridal creeper berry collection and end of year wind-up bush brekkie.
Also meet on Tuesdays from February to mid December 9-11am.
The cottage used by the friends group is close on 100 years old. This is a wonderful community asset and is located within the Heritage Precinct in Allen Park. This year FOAPBG will enter into a joint venture with the City of Nedlands to make a grant application to Lotterywest to fund restoration works. There will be a campaign by the friends group to fundraise as a contribution to the project. Watch this space!
Without people who care, this local treasure would have already been lost forever to commercial development. Read on…..
The Friends of Allen Park community group emerged as a result of a crisis. Early December 1993, 5 residents adjoining the walkway/ cycleway (between Wood Street bend and Sayer Street) received a letter from the council giving preliminary notice about a proposed development of the site.
A week later a councillor showed plans of 2 different concepts to these people. A public meeting was called on the 13th December, with 44 people attending (and 10 apologies). On the 22nd December, a petition was signed on the walkway, requesting that the council did not proceed any further until a special electors meeting was held.
The meeting was held on 24th January 1994 and 50 people attended. Submissions to preserve the walkway were received.
At this point a residents’ consultative committee was formed, which then became the Friends of Allen Park (FOAP). The purpose of the group was to establish a community view of the use of public land in the Allen Park vicinity, and to promote genuine consultation about current land use and issues between the community and the council. The FOAP sought amendment to the Town Planning Scheme as the use of the walkway was so apparent that it ought to have been included into the Parks and Recreation Reserve, and not to be developed as a “retirement village” for the over 55’s.
Although the Sayer Street site was designated in 1977 as a crown grant for the purpose of homes for the aged, it had not been used for that purpose within a reasonable time frame. This scheme did not meet the criteria.
Over the next 10 months the FOAP and council were at loggerheads. Dissatisfaction with council over its intent to proceed with the proposed $14.5 million development, regardless of community concern, the FOAP grew in numbers. It also became apparent that a few Councillors had a vested interest in the project, and that a deal had been made – a management agency had been appointed without going through the tender process. This led to a meeting with Paul Omodei, the Minister for Local Government to express concern that all aspects of the process were dubious. The Minister later requested the council needed majority approval of ratepayers (citywide) to go ahead with plans for development. A solicitor was engaged by some locals to investigate and expose the flawed administration by the council. On the 22nd December 1994, a Supreme Court injunction was granted against council preventing an agreement on the management of the village taking place.
On the 23rd December, the FOAP overturned the sign on the walkway. The saga came to an end when on the 27th March 1995, Nedlands Council, by then under enormous scrutiny, collapsed due to the resignation of 7 Councillors. The Minister then appointed as an interim measure an Administrator, John Gilfellon, to undertake the duties of Council. On election of the new Council the project was thrown out. Since then the walkway has been rezoned as recreational.
In the meantime the FOAP has flourished and accomplished extensive bush regeneration work in the different sectors of Allen Park north and south of Sayer Street. Bushland activities became more formalised, and managed by what later became the FOAPBG Inc (Friends of Allen Park Bushland Group). A Management Plan was adopted in 1996 and a proportion of Allen Park was included in the National Trust of Australia (WA) List of Classified Places.
Sayer Street closure
Historic moment for Allen Park – the road traversing A Class reserve was closed at the end of July 2016, with a boom gate placed in position across Sayer Street. Although it remains an access route for emergency services, it is now a safe passage for park users as well as bobtails and variegated fairywrens, which flit busily across into the Boobook Sector at the north eastern end of Allen Park.