1998 "a wetland of National significance was reduced to a torn
and twisted wreck which will take 20 years or more to rehabilitate."
Wetland in the Southern Highlands of NSW, was a unique
peat swamp that was rich in flora and home to some
endangered plants as well as
the rare Giant Dragonfly.
The swamp was some 10,000 years old and contained climatic, biological
and heritage records.
which was owned by the Sydney Water Corporation, filtered
water that flowed into the Wingecarribee Reservoir. The Reservoir
supplies water to some 40,000
people in Bowral and Robertson, and is a back up water supply for
Wollongong and Sydney.
had been carried out there since 1967. In 1992 the mining leases
expired. Renewal was opposed by several government departments and
continued despite the expired leases and in 1997 a Mining Warden's
inquiry was held. Although several government departments and agencies,
as well as a variety of experts gave evidence of the detrimental
impacts of the mining, the Mining Warden recommended that the leases
should be renewed.
continued through the inquiry until a temporary conservation order
that it be stopped in March 1998. The
Mining Warden's report to the Minister had still not been released
when the Minister for Mineral Resources recommended that the leases
afterwards heavy rains caused the anchored dredge to break free
tearing a channel through the peat to the Reservoir and the swamp
Wingecarribee Wetland before the collapse by Sydney Catchment Authority
site has been designed, researched and produced by Sharon