History of the Swamp

Efforts to Make it a Nature Reserve

by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS)

The New South Wales Fauna Panel, the original NSW fauna conservation authority, which subsequently was encompassed within the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), on its establishment in 1967, first considered and proposed a nature reserve over Wingecarribee Swamp in the early 1960s as a response to an application for a Crown lease to mine peat in the swamp (see map).

NPWS further recognised the very significant scientific, natural and cultural values of the swamp and proposed the establishment of a wildlife refuge and subsequently, a nature reserve over the swamp in the late 1960s. NPWS has pursued this objective since it first prepared a reference statement (statement of natural, cultural and historical values, and interest in the land), in 1967 and referenced the area to other agencies in 1968.

The referencing of the swamp involved the forwarding of the reference statement (see chronology) to the Sydney Metropolitan Water; Sewerage and Drainage Board (MWSDB), (now SWC Corporation), the Lands Department (now Dept. of Land and Water Conservation) and the Department of Mines (now Dept of Mineral Resources). The Dept. of Mines objected to the nature reserve proposal and mining leases were subsequently granted for a term of 21 years from 1971 to 1992. Following expiry of the leases mining has continued under the Mining Act provisions which provide for continuation of mining until a decision is made by the Minister for Mineral Resources to either renew or cancel the leases.

The NPWS again referenced the swamp to the Dept of Mines in 1969 for the establishment of a nature reserve for that part of the swamp which was not to be inundated by the waters of Wingecarribee Dam which was to be constructed in 1972.

The Dept. of Mines again objected, as peat mining was to continue over part of the swamp for the term of the mining leases (21 years)...

Due to a number of factors including the transfer of tenure from the NSW Lands Department to the Sydney Water Board, the construction of Wingecarribee Dam, objections from the Department of Mineral Resources and their approval of mining leases over the swamp, it was not possible to proceed to gazettal of a nature reserve. It was anticipated in 1992 that upon the expiry of the mining leases the nature reserve proposal could be finalised.

The NPWS has over the years maintained the objective to establish a nature reserve at the earliest possible date and has continued to pursue this objective to the present time.

Corporatisation of the Water Board, establishing the Sydney Water Corporation (SWC) further delayed consideration of the nature reserve proposal. Under the Corporatisation Act, the NPWS and SWC were to be joint sponsors of plans of management for all designated "Special Areas" around SWC reservoirs and Wingecarribee Swamp.

A draft plan of management has been prepared for Wingecarribee Swamp (1995/96). It was developed with the consideration that any management actions carried out are done 50 within the context of the swamp becoming a nature reserve in the short-term.

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National Parks and Wildlife Service, Submission to the Mining Wardens Inquiry into Possible Renewal of Mining Leases for the Extraction of Peat from Wingecarribee Swamp, 1997, Exhibit 23, pp. 3-4.


This site has been designed, researched and produced by Sharon Beder

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