The Campaign

The Campaign To Save Heritage Listed Headland at Middle Head

Latest Developments August 2014

In response to the Minister and the Trust’s call for simultaneous public submissions under 2 different Acts of Parliament, the EPBC Act and the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust Act, HPG pulled out all stops. Our submission contained 19 documents and over 300 pages. It included expert reports on heritage, ecology and bushfire. In addition, HPG members and volunteers did a combined analysis of over 70 pages in length.


Developments July 2014

On July 7 Middle Head Health Care released the 3rd version of their proposed aged care home. Both the Minister and the Trust are called for simultaneous public submissions under 2 different Acts of Parliament, the EPBC Act and the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust Act.[ to be made by the closing date of 3rd August 2014

We provieded information on how to make submissions  READ THIS POST.

Below: Slide presentation from Save Middle Head Public meeting 17 July 2014

Developments May 2014

The developer sent its ‘new’ revised proposal to Environment Minister Greg Hunt, and asked him to ‘flag it through’ so that it would not need the normal full environmental and heritage assessment.

The proposed development would:

involve the majority demolition of an “exceptionally rare” collection of buildings [10 Terminal] and its replacement with a large monolith – is this adaptive re-use?

  • create a massive 2-storey building with a heat shield (fire wall) over 100 metres long 2 to 3 metres high – out of all proportion to the existing footprint and environs
  • increase traffic and put even more pressure on parking
  • impact on views from historic fortifications and harbour




Background and Issues (original proposal)

On October 31, 2013 at the busiest time of the year in the lead up to Christmas, the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust announced a development application (DA) had been received by a private company for the development of a private residential aged care complex on the Ten Terminal site, Middle Head.

This would also require amendments to the Trust’s Middle Head Management Plan to accommodate this DA.

Middle Head encompasses the Statutory Heritage-Listed Ten Terminal site including makeshift former barracks buildings on the opposite side of Middle Head Road. The whole site, the buildings, landscaped areas around the buildings and car parks occupy a total area of approximately 25,000 square metres.

The proposed development will require demolition of existing buildings and the construction of new structures including two storey structures, fenced off areas and steel fire walls. The existing footprint will be approximately doubled and the requirement for 24/7 servicing of the residential aged care complex includes provision for a special vehicle to transport meals and other goods from the northern side of Middle Head Road where the it is proposed the kitchen facilities will be located to the other (southern) side of Middle Head Road where the majority of the residential accommodation facilities will be located.

Key Issues

    • Loss of public access and potential open green space for at least 25 years and likely longer
    • Loss of heritage values on Commonwealth Heritage-Listed Site
    • Residential development on public land
    • Addition of second storey on existing Ten Terminal buildings
    • Excavation for a large underground basement car park
    • New access road and loading dock for delivery services
    • Extension of footprint for waste removal services
    • Loss of avenue and view to the Sydney Harbour National Park
    • Loss of potential outlook from Middle Head to Harbour and vice versa
    • Scale and form of construction (estimated $33 million cost)
    • Lack of transparency and community consultation
    • Advanced stage of development proposal
    • Timing and limitations of release of public information
    • The proponent as far as we know is presently is not an operator of aged care facilities
    • Acquisition of 89 bed licenses with possible bond value well exceeding $500K each
    • 24/7 operations including food and other services moving across Middle Head Road
    • Bushfire dangers on isolated Middle Head necessitating steel shields almost 2 metres high
    • Increased traffic on Middle Head Road

Alerting The Community

The Sydney Federation Harbour Trust is highly regarded by the community for fulfilling the letter and spirit of its Act. However this abrupt announcement by the Harbour Trust was regarded by many as a breach of trust.

Linda Bergin OAM and the communities of Mosman and wider Sydney were puzzled by the lack of community consultation and the fact that the announcements were made so late in the year. The Development Application was quite advanced and would have required considerable time and investment by the proponent.

We believe the proposal to be contrary to the Objects of the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust Act.

Linda Bergin sought assistance from people in the community including former members of the Headland Preservation Group. They included lawyers, architects, designers, management consultants, town planners, former local government officials, builders, accountants, teachers, health care professionals, advertising and media professionals, and online marketing executives.

Letterbox Drops and Public Meetings

A Save Middle Head campaign swung into action organising letterbox drops to alert local residents in the first instance of the threat to public land on the Harbour Trust Ten Terminal site and potentially other Harbour Trust sites in future.

With less than one week’s notice the Save Middle Head campaign managed to spread the word about the Harbour Trust’s upcoming “Information Session”.

The Save Middle Head campaign set up a table outside the Ten Terminal site where the 90 minute “Information Session” took place. More than 200 people registered their support for the Save Middle Head campaign and provided their email addresses for updates on the campaign.

Blog and eBlasts

A Save Middle Head blog was produced and regular email updates from [email protected] were provided to keep people informed and to maintain the momentum of the campaign over the Christmas break.

Save Middle Head Public Meeting Thursday 5 December 2013

Linda Bergin addressed more than 200 members of the community at a public meeting called by the Save Middle Head campaign on Thursday 5 December 2013. She called on the Harbour Trust and politicians to remain true to the original vision “To provide a lasting legacy for the people of Australia by helping to create one of the finest foreshore parks in the world and provide places that will greatly enrich the cultural life of the city and the nation.”

Boxing Day 26 December 2013 Petitions and Sign-ups for Email Updates

Julie Goodsir led a team of volunteers to bring the Save Middle Head campaign to the attention of visitors arriving at Georges Heights and Middle Head on Boxing Day to watch the start of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. More than 1,500 people signed petitions and completed forms to receive email updates on the Save Middle Head campaign.

Headland Preservation Group Reactivated Sunday 5 January 2014

The Headland Preservation Group was reactivated on Sunday 5 January 2014 by Linda Bergin OAM, Peter Jones AM, Julie Goodsir and other members of the community supporting the Save Middle Head campaign. It was agreed that once the wider membership was formed all executive positions would be declared vacant and elections held. Linda Bergin, who was the Founding President of Head Preservation Group in 1996 agreed to be President of Head Preservation Group 2014.