2018 Update by Bea McNicholas

Bea McNicholas –
A tireless worker for St Kilda Road and Environs, Planet Ark National Tree Day.

Heritage Walk and Talk with historian Dr Judith Buckrich, author of Melbourne’s Grand Boulevard – the Story of St. Kilda Road
Download the information: Australian Heritage Festival 13 May 2018 – Domain Parkland

Everyone should write, email, do media comment, contact State and Federal politicians. There is much that can be done.

–      State government: e.g  Coalition and Greens could unite and demand protection of St Kilda Road and its environs, and alternate Metro plans, methods and/or alignments and locations to protect and preserve St Kilda Road and the whole area, including vistas and landscape.

–      Federal government: e.g. more liaison with State government, further consideration of the EPBC Act and /or other….

Further media and actions re protection St Kilda Road and its inter-connected national heritage listed vistas, landscapes and values from the proposed Metro works.

Bea McNicholas

State of the State and State of the Nation: St Kilda Road and Environs – Status up-date January 2018


As we start the new year, after the exhausting masses of data and many submissions of December 2017, here is a ‘State of the State and State of the Nation: St Kilda Road and Environs – Status up-date January 2018’, for your information.

1. A status up-date on Permits issued by Heritage Victoria (copies of these 2 Permits attached) and the 5 Permit Applications by Cross Yarra Partnership currently under consideration by Heritage Victoria (Heritage Victoria Permit decisions to be made in February 2018).
See attached.

2. See attached a copy of December 2017 submissions by Fiona and Reuben Reed, Chris Fellows and others at Paramount in St Kilda Road.

3. Media:
a. “Rotten Growth”, Thursday 21 December 2017 letter to the Editor, The Age, by Dr Ernest Healy, vice-president, Protectors of Public Lands Inc, Victoria. See attached.

4. National Heritage Register: details on the permanency of the listing of St Kilda Road and Environs on the National Heritage Register is due to be made prior to 13 February 2018.

a. The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy, said he is reviewing matters in relation to this, including the September 2015 Permit issued.

b. QC advice was provided in 2017 that the Permit may be invalidated or may be revoked etc… given changes to the project and new details believed to be at variance with the Permit Application/conditions.

c. Regardless there is a strong moral imperative to preserve and protect St Kilda Road and its environs, including Domain Parklands.

d. We hope this may open the way for Minister Frydenberg to declare to MMRA/CYP that it is a controlled action under the EPBC Act, requiring bi-lateral agreements (Federal and State) and to put in place joint management plans. It is up to the Federal Government to contact MMRA/CYP in relation to this.

e. I am advised that our extensive submissions to the Department of Environment and Energy and the Australian Heritage Council, and their research work throughout the year of Emergency National Heritage Register listing of St Kilda Road and Environs, has led to a broadening of the initial draft listing, its details and wording, both in a historical context and in its contemporary cultural significance, so the permanent listing should be much more comprehensive. We hope this will include significant legal protection, and, additionally, for landscapes and inter-connected landscape values, views, vistas and sightlines, including aerial views, promenade and ceremonial uses, which are of outstanding heritage value to the nation; for Aboriginal sites of significance, highly important to the Australian community as a whole; and for a number of persons of outstanding Australian significance with highly significant associations with the heritage place.

f. We hope the Hon. Josh Frydenberg and the National Heritage Council team will make a poignant statement, possibly in January 2018, with an announcement required before 13 February 2018, to protect and preserve St Kilda Road and Environs.

5. the Victorian Coalition:

a. The Hon. David Davis MP, shadow Minister for Public Transport, Planning and Equality: following his December 2017 media release, he is further reviewing documentation in relation to alternative METRO tunnel/station alignments that would diminish impact on St Kilda Road and Environs. It is understood he will make further announcements in January in relation to our beloved St Kilda Road and Environs and its protection and preservation.

b. The Hon. Margaret Fitzherbert, elected to represent the Southern Metropolitan Region, an upper house seat in the State Parliament of Victoria, and Shadow Assistant to the Leader, continues to actively support alternative alignments and the preservation of St Kilda Road and Environs.

With Heritage Victoria due to make decisions on 5 CYP Permit Applications in the first part of February 2018, these State and Federal considerations and re-considerations, and announcements to be made, are of vital importance to the preservation of St Kilda Road and its Environs.

6. Closure of the Bowen Street tram stop in St Kilda Road from Sunday 21 January 2018 was announced on the No. 58 tram last week:

a. A ‘pop up information session’ by MMRA/CYP re Bowen Street and other works is to be held on Monday evening, 22 January 2018, 5.30pm to 7.00pm, 402 St Kilda Road: See attached Notification. Park Street works are mentioned. (?)

b. HV advised no trees can be removed. There are exemptions for tree ‘pruning’ (with conditions, under supervision…). Local residents should keep an eye on this and immediately report, including to Heritage Victoria, any breaches of this.

c. Fiona Reed has expressed concern re the removal of median strips and impacts on trees, as well as the lack of adequate notification and publicity of the information sessions. Hard copy delivery to residents is reported to have been made after the first two scheduled meetings were over. It would be good if you can attend the meeting this Monday evening and get more details.

It is important that you all continue now, with renewed energy, with meetings, correspondence, media etc… to demonstrate broad, united opposition to the diminishment of St Kilda Road and its environs, including the Domain Parklands and the Shrine and Shrine Gardens and the Albert Road Reserve.

7. Citizens petition and demand for the green girdle to the south of the city

In 1836 Governor Richard Bourke established the District of Port Phillip. In 1837 Bourke confirmed the site for the new town and named it Melbourne. On 12 August 1842 Melbourne was incorporated as a town. In 1844 a bridge was built across the Yarra River at Swanston Street. In 1844 a petition by the citizens of a fledgling Melbourne also led to the allocation of a ‘green girdle’ around the city, to the north and south.

The southern ‘green girdle’ is St Kilda Road and Environs and Fawkner Park.

Here we are again, one hundred and seventy-three and 174 years later, citizens of Melbourne and of the nation, asking, demanding and petitioning our government to maintain and preserve St Kilda Road and its environs, the green girdle to the south petitioned for, and allocated, in 1844. The city’s character has been shaped, recorded, reflected and honoured by and in its typography (design, layout, composition and contents) and history.

Now, again, for our health and recreation, as well as for the cultural, historic and aesthetic purpose and heritage, we petition for preserving St Kilda Road and its environs, including to retain tranquillity and the custom of promenading and strolling in St Kilda Road and its environs, epitomising this civilising process requested and won in 1844.
“In 1844 Charles La Trobe the colony’s high-minded first lieutenant received a petition from the infant Melbourne Town Council, ‘It is of vital importance to the health of the inhabitants that there should be parks within a distance of the town where they could conveniently take recreation therein after their daily labour’, it urged. The 500 acres La Trobe reserved as parkland to the north and south of the town formed the green girdle that now includes Royal Park, The Domain, the Botanic Gardens, Fitzroy Gardens and Fawkner Park. It was the most” benevolent and far-reaching planning decision in the city’s history.”
Ref. Remembering Melbourne, 1850-1960, Royal Historical Society of Victoria, Richard Broome with Richard Barnden, Don Garden, Don Gibb, Melbourne 2016.
“…. The Domain Public Parkland established to the south of the city in 1854, was supplemented by Kings Domain in 1933. It also encompasses the Alexandra and Queen Victoria Gardens (1901) and lies adjacent to the Royal Botanic Gardens. It includes many memorial statues and sculptures as well as the Shrine of Remembrance, the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, La Trobe’s Cottage, the Melbourne Observatory (1862-1944) and the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden. Melbourne’s public gardens form a circle of green around the city; they primarily reflect their Victorian origins, with wide paths, majestic plantings of mature trees and the occasional explosion of floriferous carpet bedding.”

“Melbourne Metro: 6 Tunnel Boring Machines needed for $6 Billion Build”, The Age, 11 July 2017, Richard Willingham, State Political correspondent:
“The winning bidders will share access with the government to development rights above and around new stations. Mr Andrews said the government would use some of the profits from development around stations to pay for the $11 billion Metro project.”

Little is known of the government’s public private partnership plans and contracts, but to ‘share development rights above and around’ the proposed Anzac (Domain) Station, that is, in fully State and National heritage registered St Kilda Road tree-lined, world renowned boulevard and its State and National heritage registered Environs, sends alarm bells ringing; it is more than ill-conceived, it would be ruinous urban vandalism. We want to retain and preserve St Kilda Road and Environs as the first priority, above commercial interests, contractors and transport infrastructure.

The creep of commerce (or commercial take-over) into the cultural heart, public landscapes and heritage parklands of Melbourne would be a tragic loss, and a fatal diminishment of the liveability, health and beauty of the city. This is not privatised public space, as Federation Square tragically is – this is entirely State and National Heritage listed places.

Many believe woe betide the government that ignores the petition of the people (from 1844 to 2017-2018) and who would, against the petition of citizens, seek to undo the “most benevolent and far-reaching planning decision in the city’s history”, and seek to diminish Melbourne’s iconic green girdle, the heart and soul of Melbourne, St Kilda Road and Environs.

Willian McDougall* writes, in Comment, in the Age and Sydney Morning Herald, 6-7 January 2018: “…I hereby refuse to associate myself with Victoria’s state government anymore. I strongly encourage my fellow practitioners to join me in revolt and to stop selling themselves out to a dysfunctional system. Our energies as a profession should instead go to sorting out the mess.”
* Willian McDougall is a transport planner with 40 years experience. He has advised Labor and Liberal state governments in Victoria on projects including ….airport rail links; the Metro tunnel, and the West Gate tunnel.

Best regards and good wishes for 2018,

Bea McNicholas

Director, Walk in St Kilda Road and Environs, Planet Ark National Tree Day
World Heritage submission to Federal Government for St Kilda Road and Environs
Cultural historian, researcher