List of green bans, 1971-1974

Green bans map

A list and map of green bans in New South Wales from 1971, compiled in June 1974. Green bans were refusals of construction workers to work on environment- and community-damaging building projects.

Crisis: Why be an unemployed labourer when you can be an unemployed architect?’ Australian humourist, Lennie Lower.
Cited in Joe Owens, ‘The Building Industry’, n.d. c. late1970s unpublished manuscript.

List of Green Bans 1971-1974

References: BLF (NSW) 15 June 1973; 22 October 1973; 5 June, 1974; Joe Owens Deposit, Noel Butlin Archive, ANU
To Executive Members and Fulltime Workers:- A list of our Green Bans and other community actions in support of residents.
The following is the list:

1. Kelly’s Bush
2. The Rocks
3. Victoria Street
4.Congregational Church
5. Opera House Car Park
6. Theatre Royal
7. Moore Park (Centennial Park Sports’ Complex)
8. Cook Road (Centennial Park)
9. Mt. Druitt
10. North-West Expressway
11. “Lyndhurst” – Glebe
12. Ryde – Dunbar Park
13. Darlinghurst
14. Helen Kellar House – Woollahra
15. Woolloomooloo
16. Royal Australasian College of Physicians – Macquarie St
17. Pyrmont and Ultimo (NW Freeway)
18. Fowler-Ware Industries – Merrylands
19. Jeremy Fisher
20. Diethnes
21. East End – Newcastle
22. Rileys Island
23. Colonial Mutual Building
24. Dr. Busby’s Cottage
25. Eastern Hill – Manly
26. Eastlakes
27. A.N.Z. Bank – Martin Place
28. National Mutual Building – Martin Place
29. C.M.L. Building – Martin Place

30. Mascot High-Rise
31. Newcastle Hotel
32. Regent Theatre
33. Redfern Aboriginal Centre
34. Eastern Freeway
35. Botany High Rise
36. Motorway – Newcastle
37. St. George’s Hill
38. Kings Cross
39. South Sydney
40. St. John’s Park
41. New Doctors Dwellings
42. Tomaree Peninsula
43. Burwood
44. Western Expressway
45. Freeways
46. Soldiers Garden Village
47. Education Department – North Newtown
48. Port Kembla
49. East Woonona
50. Botany Municipality
51. Sydney University Women’s Course
52. Port Macquarie
53. Waterloo
54. Newcastle Motorway

Description

1. Kelly’s Bush (Mid 1971)
An area of natural bushland in Hunters Hill, threatened with expansion by A.V. Jennings.
Bans imposed after a Meeting of A.V. Jennings’ workers at a Public Meeting at Hunters Hill at which a group of women, calling themselves “The Battlers for Kelly’s Bush”, formally requested that the Builders’ Labourers impose a ban.
The Bushland remains to this day.

2. The Rocks (Late 1971)
Original ban on request of residents for proper housing. Changed in 1972, when there was a new rationale brought about by the Royal Australian Planning Institute’s report questioning the Sydney Cove Re-Development Scheme, which would have meant five hundred million dollars worth of high-rise building in this residential area.
Subsequently, the first people’s plan was drawn up for “Rocks” area at the residents’ request.
The ban remained as at October 1973.

3. Victoria Street (1971)
A historic street in Sydney.A wide response to opposition of the building of a forty-five storey complex, and insistence that Victoria Street should be kept low-rise with provision for middle and low income wage earners to reside. To highlight the need for low income earners to live in the city, widespread “squatting” occurred in Victoria Street. In January 1974 a confrontation occurred – all residents (except Mick Fowler) were removed from the Street. Massive arrests took place during the confrontation. The ban still applies in this Street as at June 1974.

4. Congregational Church (February 1972)
First of the bans imposed on buildings considered by the National Trust to be worthy of preservation for historical or architectural reasons. The building still stands as at October 1973.

5. Opera House Car Park (March 1972)
After approaches from Labor Party Politicians, progressive architects and the Total Environment Centre, a Public Meeting requested Builders’ Labourers to impose this ban, because of destruction to part of the cliff face, the destroying of three trees and the affecting of the contours of the Gardens.
The ban was successful.

6. Theatre Royal (Mid 1972)
The demolition of the Theatre Royal stopped the proposed construction of a seven hundred (700) feet M.L.C.-Lend-Lease project until a written guarantee was given that a live professional theatre of comparable size, incorporation features of the old Theatre Royal, was constructed. Under-taking was given by Lend-Lease and M.L.C.

7. Moore Park _ Centennial Park Sports’ Complex” (June 1972)
A very large Public Meeting of diverse groupings of people requested that the Builders’ Labourer’s impose a ban on the construction of a sports complex, which would have destroyed Sydney’s most beautiful park, Centennial Park. The ban has been successful and the Liberal Government of New South Wales has announced that it will not go ahead with the proposed construction.

8. Cook Road (Centennial Park)
At the request of the residents a ban was imposed on new high-rise buildings until a community plan for the area is drawn up. The ban still exists as at June 1974.

9. Mt. Druitt (Mid 1972)
In support of resumption and demanding reasonable compensation from Lend-Lease and Housing Commission. Ban lifted – by Labor Council of N.S.W.

10. North-West Expressway (Late 1972)
At the request of a Public Meeting in Glebe and Balmain, old areas of Sydney, where, if the freeway had been constructed, one-sixth of the total houses in these suburbs, would have been destroyed, a ban was imposed.

11. “Lyndhurst” – Glebe (1972)
Historic building.A National Trust preservation ban. It was proposed to demolish this historic building to make way for a freeway, in Glebe. The ban still applies and the building still stands as at June 1974.

12. Ryde – Dunbar Park (February 1973)
Residents requested ban after Ryde council proposed a tipping site for non protresable waste materials. This park is surrounded by new homes and the ban has been imposed to ensure that the parkland remains a passive area. Ban successful.

13. Darlinghurst (March 1973)
Ban imposed on commercial building in this historic area of Sydney. Residents requested “Green Ban” and demanded that all housing should be high density low-rise with adequate provision for low and middle income families to live within the inner-city area.

14. Helen Kellar House – Woollahra (March 1973)
A National Trust preservation ban. This house belongs to the Royal Blind Society who wanted to demolish it and other houses in order to develop the land and to provide more income. Residents requested ban against demolition of this house, in Woollahra. Ban still exists as at June 1974.

15. Woolloomooloo (April 1973)
Ban imposed on commercial building in this historic area of Sydney. Residents requested “Green Ban” and demanded that all housing should be high density low-rise with adequate provision for low and middle income families to live within the inner-city area.

16. Royal Australasian College of Physicians – Macquarie St (May 1973)
A National Trust preservation ban. The national trust gave permission for the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in Macquarie Street, Sydney. The ban was imposed until union bad discussions with the National Trust. Ban still exists as at June 1974.

17. Pyrmont and Ultimo (Mid 1973)
Part of North-West Expressway. A Public Meeting of these two inner city suburbs, carried a resolution requested a “green ban”, as large parts of these suburbs would have been destroyed by the Freeway.

18. Fowler-Ware Industries – Merrylands (Mid 1973)
Ban on a factory in a residential area requested by a meeting of eight hundred residents in that area. Factory moved elsewhere. Ban Lifted: residents requested lifting of ban after the area was classified as “Residential A”. (March 1974).

19. Jeremy Fisher (June 1973)
Jeremy Fisher was expelled from Macquarie University Sir Robert Menzies College because he was a homosexual. At the requests of students at the University, a ban was placed on all building at the University. Ban Lifted: Jeremy Fisher decided not to pursue the matter.

20. Diethnes (July 1973)
Request made by shop owners after block sold to developer, that a ban be placed on the demolition of this building. Ban was imposed by B.L.F. in support of the tenants of the building.

21. East End – Newcastle (August 1973)
Ban imposed following a meeting of the citizens of the historic East End, wishing to retain the working class content, and opposing the extension of high-rise office buildings and motels in the East End.

22. Rileys Island (October 1973)
Residents requested B.L.F. ban. This island was purchased by Hooker-Rex, who intended developing removed all vegitation and the damage to its environment and ecology could never be repaired as happened on St. Hubert’s Island which was developed by Hooker-Rex. Ban has been successful.

23. Colonial Mutual Building (November 1973)
A National Trust preservation ban. However the National Trust allowed this historic building to be demolished. Ban lifted.

24. Dr. Busby’s Cottage (December 1973)
This was the oldest house in Bathurst, N.S.W. Part of this cottage was classfield “C” by the National Trust. The cottage was purchased by a development company from two pensioner sisters, conditional upon them demolishing it. An inspection by the National Trust, the developers, Bathurst Council and the local resident action group, together with the B.L.F. it was decided to allow development to proceed. Ban lifted – at branch meeting in March.

25. Eastern Hill – Manly (Late 1973)
A large meeting of residents of Eastern Hill, requested a ban on the construction by L.J. Hooker on two huge tower blocks. Builders’ Labourers acceded to the residents request and called upon the Meeting to draw up their community plan for the area.

26. Eastlakes A working-class area of Sydney.
Ban imposed following a large Public Meeting at which the Parkes Development were accused of duping unit dwellers into believing that nearby open land was to remain park, only to find that the land was privately owned by Parkes Development. The area remains as parkland.

27. A.N.Z. Bank – Martin Place
A National Trust preservation ban. It was proposed to demolish this historic building for redevelopment. The ban still applies and the building still stands as at June 1974.

28. National Mutual Building – Martin Place
A National Trust preservation ban. It was proposed to demolish this historic building for redevelopment. The ban still applies and the building still stands.

29. C.M.L. Buildng – Martin Place
A National Trust preservation ban.

30. Mascot High-Rise
Ban on single dwelling blocks. This was place at the request of a large meeting of citizens of Mascot, who were opposing town-house type dwellings, if there was not sufficient green area retained around them.

31. Newcastle Hotel
A working-class Hotel in the Sydney Cove Re-development Authority’s are a of “Rocks” re-development.

32. Regent Theatre
A bun imposed at the request of Actor’s Equity demanding that this theatre be kept for live professional Theatre. The ban still exists as at June 1974, and the theatre is still operating as such.

33. Redfern Aboriginal Centre
B.L.F. imposed a ban at the request of the aborigines until such time as they were consulted as to the construction of the complex. The Federal Government gave the Aborigines money to build the centre. Ban lifted – Mid 1973. The aborigines are now (June 1974) building the Centre themselves.

34. Eastern Freeway
Ban imposed following meeting of eastern suburbs residents opposing the destruction of working class homes in the make of the proposed freeway, which could have destroyed large sections of Woolloomooloo, Darlinghurst, Kings Cross, Taylors Square and Bondi Junction. Ban still imposed as at June 1964.

35. Botany High Rise
This was place at the request of a large meeting of citizens at Mascot, who were opposing town house-type dwellings, if there was not sufficient green area retained around them.

36. Motorway – Newcastle
Freeway ban at the request of the residents. Ban still exists as at June 1974.

37. St. George’s Hill
A ban imposed at the request of the residents of this suburban area, following failure of the developer to pay adequate compensation.

38. Kings Cross
It was decided by residents in this area.Community Plan Proposal. This plan is being drawn up by the residents of the community.

39. South Sydney
Ban imposed following large Public Meeting at which people called upon the authorities to re-consider the high-rise scheme for the area.

40. St. John’s Park
A poorer area of Sydney. A dispute over land resumption and a lack of proper compensation.

41. New Doctors Dwellings
A Branch Meeting decided to refuse to construct any new dwellings for doctors in New South Wales, until such time as they agree to co-operate with the Australian Government’s Health Plan. Ban still exists as at June 1974.

42. Tomaree Peninsula (January 1974)
Residents objected to proposed high-rise development in this area. A petition was signed by 1,700 people who formed a resident action group. They formed a code or building in the area which banned building over 3 floors. At a public meeting the Council informed that it had never intended to allow high-rise buildings – their plan for the area was for low-rise building. Ban lifted – May 1974 following this meeting.

43. Burwood (March 1974)
At the Request of Burwood Residents Action Group ban placed on demolition of premises in Burleigh and Elizabeth Streets, Burwood, to make way for a car park.

44. Western Expressway (March 1974)
Residents in the Leichhardt Municipality requested B.L.F. to impose ban on demolition to make way for this expressway.
If the expressway goes ahead, 1,180 homes in the muicipality will be demlished and Annandale, Glebe and Leichhardt would lost most of their parkland.

45. Freeways (March 1974)
Ban imposed on all demolition work to make way for expressways. Mass meeting of builders labourers in Sydney in late May 1974 expressed condemnation of the Nielsen Transportation Plan for expressways.

46. Soldiers Garden Village (April 1974)
At the request of the residents of the village in Matraville an interim ban was placed on demolition of this community. The Housing Commission planned to demolish the village to make way for Housing Commission Accommodation. The reason for an “interim ban” is that it was not possible to find which Government Dept. was responsible for the village. The ban still exists as at June 1974.

47. Education Department – North Newtown (May 1974)
At the request of the North Newtown Resident Action Group a ban was placed on the proposed Education Complex. Demolion is banned on the area bounded by King Street, Missenden Road, Carillon Avenue, and Theological Land’’ until the Sydney Teachers’ College is relocated elsewhere. The residents are drawing up a Community Education Plan – incl. infants & primary schools, playgrounds, open space areas, before & after school activity groups, and nursery. The ban still exists as at June 1974.

48. Port Kembla (June 1974)
At the request of the residents of Port Kembla a ban was placed by the South Coast Labour Council against high rise development and for the reclamation of the beach to be made a parkland. The B.L.F. Executive endorsed this decision on 4th June, 1974.

49. East Woonoa (2nd July, 1974)
Ban imposed, following request from South Coast Labour Council for endorsement of their ban. Council imposed ban, at the request of the local progress association. The ban will remain until the residents are taken into consultation and are involved in the planning of the area. Ban is on all high rise and flat development, including major roads in the East Woonoa area. Ban still exist as at June 1974.

50. Botany Municipality (September 1972)
Council of the Municiplaity of Botany opposed units and high-rise buildings on single blocks of land. Ban covers high-rise building on single dewelling blocks and industrial development in residential areas.

51. Sydney University Women’s Course
A ban was placed on the construction of a new building because they refused too allow two women tutors to
give a course. Ban lifted – the dispute was resolved by the University internally.

52. Port Macquarie
At the request of residents a ban was placed against high rise buildings on beach head and water front. Ban still exist as at June 1974.

53. Waterloo
At the request of South Sydney Residents Action group a ban was placed on the demolition of houses, both privately and Housing Commission owned, for development by the Housing Commission of multistorey dewelling blocks of Housing Commission flats. Ban still exists as at June 1974.

54. Newcastle Motorway

A ban was placed on the construction of this motorway at the request of the residents. The ban still exists as at June 1974.

Maps from: Where the green bans were’, The Sun, 8 November 1973 and Green Bans map from Anne Summers, Wendy Bacon and others, The little green book. The facts on green bans, Tomato Press, 1973. Printed and distributed by the Builders' Labourers (NSW) This list taken from http://greenbans.net.au/green-bans-1971-74

Comments

Steven.
Jun 17 2017 10:46

If anyone would like to help us build a map of these green bans that would be amazing! Please let me know in the comments or send us an email to libcom.org@gmail.com. It should be pretty straightforward as you can just do it on Google maps

Steven.
Jun 17 2017 10:49

On a related note, these green bans in Australia I think one of the most amazing high points in the class struggle worldwide, along with May 68, Italy 60s-70s, etc.

The Liberal New South Wales Premier at the time, Bob Askin, intimately connected with developers and underworld figures said of these construction workers: “they’re mere labourers who do they think they are— proletarian town planners.”

I would love to put together a pamphlet or small book on the green bans, called "Proletarian town planners"!

paul r
Aug 26 2017 22:19

The authoritative study on the Green Bans movement is the book by Australian academics, Meredith Burgmann and Verity Burgmann:
Green Bans. Red Union: Environmental Activism and the NSW Builders Labourers’ Federation. UNSW Press, Sydney, 1998.

paul r
Aug 26 2017 22:30

I've just discovered that a revised edition of Green Bans, Red Union has just been published (Aug 2017):

https://www.bookdepository.com/Green-Bans-Red-Union-Meredith-Burgmann-Verity-Burgmann/9781742235400?ref=grid-view&qid=1503786314488&sr=1-1