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90-year community conservation campaign concludes with Gardens of Stone declaration

The declaration of the Gardens of Stone State Conservation Area today is the culmination of possibly the longest conservation campaign in the state’s history. [1] 

“It has been a long time coming but it was definitely worth the wait,” Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said.  

“This is a very significant addition the state’s conservation reserve system — more than 30,000 hectares of stunning landscapes and wildlife habitat that the conservation movement has campaigned almost a century to protect.  

“The Gardens of Stone reserve was conceived by Myles Dunphy, the spiritual grandfather of the conservation moment in Australia, as part of his broader vision for a Greater Blue Mountains National Park. 

“His vision has now been realised after one of the longest conservation campaigns in the state’s history.  

“Today’s announcement is as a testament to the passion and determination of thousands of people who have for more than three generations campaigned to protect this beautiful area.” 

Mr Gambian said many people and organisations had contributed to the campaign to protect the Gardens nof Stone, especially Keith Muir and the Colong Foundation for Wilderness, the Blue Mountains Conservation Society, the Lithgow Environment Group, Bushwalking NSW, the Colo Committee, National Parks Association of NSW, and the National Trust.  

“This is one of the conservation movement’s proudest days – it shows what people can achieve when they work together and stay focussed and optimistic in face of many setbacks,” Mr Gambian said. 

“It is also a testament to what can be achieved when people of good will from all sides of politics — Liberals, Nationals, Labor, Greens and independents — focus on the common good and providing a legacy for future generations. They all deserve credit for what has been achieved today. 

“I pay special tribute to Premier Dominic Perrottet, Deputy Premier and Bathurst MP Paul Toole, and Blue Mountains MP Trish Doyle.” 

Mr Gambian said the commitment of $50 million for tourist infrastructure and roads would grow Lithgow’s ecotourism industry, bolster the local economy and create many jobs. 

“This part of the Blue Mountains has been largely unexplored by tourists — both those from Sydney and internationally — but the potential is enormous,” Mr Gambian said. 

"Many people have no idea there is scenery on the edge of Lithgow that rivals the best that Katoomba and Blackheath have to offer. Today’s announcement will hopefully change that forever.” 


[1] New 30,000 hectare expansion to Blue Mountains national park after years of negotiation, SMH, 13-1-21.   

‘Storybook of nature’: a landmark win as Gardens of Stone in NSW’s Blue Mountains protected, 13-11-21, The Guardian 



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