Beaumaris Conservation Society Inc. will email a .jpg file of the original of the letter below to interested persons.

 

 

 

TELEPHONE
FJ 0484

Badge of the University of Melbourne

 

University of Melbourne

                                   

    T/W

Carlton, N.3,    26th October, 1955

The Town Clerk,
Sandringham City Council,
Abbot Street,
SANDRINGHAM.

Dear Sir,

I have been informed by Mrs. S.M. Ridland of a project to reserve an area of natural vegetation in the Beaumaris district. She tells me that three areas have been inspected by Miss Wadell and others, and that the most suitable one comprises eight building blocks on the Dunlop Estate. I have not seen these areas for some years, but I am confident that the local people would take good advice in their selection.

I am writing to support this project in the strongest possible terms, and to ask the Council to give it very serious consideration. I am also writing to my friend Mr. Blackwood, the General Manager of Dunlops, in the hope that the Company may be willing to collaborate in some way.

The idea is, as you know, to preserve a sufficiently large area of native vegetation for the benefit of citizens of Sandringham and of Melbourne generally. I am perhaps in a particularly favourable position to point out to you the need for such preservation. Melbourne is growing at an enormous rate, and it is beoming increasingly difficult to find, within twenty miles of the Town Hall, any surviving remnants of native Australian vegetation. When I first came to my position in the University we could take our students to various areas in Sandringham and Cheltenham to study the native heathland vegetatioon, but for the last fifteen years it has been necessary to go as far as Frankston to find untouched examples of the Victorian heath country. During the last year even the Frankston area has rapidly been cut up for building and commercial purposes. It is no exaggeration to say that within twenty years, unless some preservation is put in hand at once, this extremely interesting and important Australian plant community will no longer exist within fifty miles of Melbourne. The heathland is quite important scientifically from a great many angles, but apart from this there appears to me to be a very good case for the preservation of small areas, if only to remind the people of Melbourne that they are living in an Australian city. Most of the suburbs of Melbourne are extending over land which was cleared long ago and which even now bears very few surviving traces of the native vegetation. Beaumaris and a few other parts of the Sandringham area are most exceptional, and I very strongly support the public-spirited action of the local people in trying to preserve parts of Beaumaris as a suburb with what we could call an Australian flavour. However, with increased building activity this could only be done on a limited scale, and by the preservation of the larger trees and shrubs in and-around gardens and streets. Unless a small sanctuary is created in the area the great majority of the plants will disappear. I am sure you will agree with me that the Council would earn the gratitude of future citizens if it could be instrumental in preserving at least one small link with the past.  

I do not regard the project to preserve a sanctuary as something put up by a few sincere but sentimental fanatics. The small group at Beaumaris is ahead of its time and deserves every support from the leaders of the community Victoria is lagging behind all the other States of the Commonwealth in preservation schemes, and Sandringham could give a real lead to other centres. As you probably know, the need for preservation of natural features is being increasingly recognised in America and Britain In Britain a Government authority, the Nature Conservancy, under the direct authority of the Lord President of the Council has been set up, and almost every month very large areas of natural countryside are set aside for the benefit of posterity. A similar move in under consideration in Victoria, but by the time it is under way I am afraid that a great many areas of unique character will have been destroyed.  

I understand that the best area comprises about eight building blocks, and that it is hoped to save at least four of these. My own view is that a sanctuary of this kind should be as large as possible if preservation of the native vegetation is to succeed and I earnestly hope that you will be able to preserve the whole area as a native park. I feel sure that the group of local residents will be happy to assist in its maintenance and protection.  

I am,  

Yours sincerely, 

 

(S) J.S.Turner  

PROFESSOR OF BOTANY.