History of the Campaign

In 2020, the community submitted a 1600 petition and hundreds of letters and emails to Council,. To date this has all fallen on deaf ears. They are continuing to press on with their plastic pitch despite the best efforts of some of the councillors.

Adding a plastic pitch with its millions of plastic elements that break down and wash into the harbour is not acceptable. They call it 4G but it is still plastic. In addition, the heat loads from the synthetic pitch are significant and the loss of natural habitat will be irreplaceable. 

As things now stand, the proposed plastic pitch is over budget by $1.6m and the Council still don’t have any environmental approvals. Furthermore, the Council are now rushing through the Contractor appointment with the contractor now helping to write an updated environmental report. Works aren’t scheduled to start until January 2022.

With your support and your membership, we can still stop Lane Cove Council with this synthetic madness and we can help them build a great new natural pitch for $500,000 not $3.1m. A great result for ratepayers and the community.

Your help is needed to overturn Council’s determination to proceed at all cost. We can do it together.

We all share a deep love of Lane Cove and this wonderful green space… lets stand up and let our votes be counted.

History of Gore Creek & Bob Campbell Oval

Still Gamaraigal country

 

The natural and cultural heritage of this place resonates with the community that now use this special place as a meeting ground. An inclusive space that connects the community to country. 

 

So much knowledge of the traditional owners of this land has been lost, so much country has been covered and is now unseen.

The areas where we can still glimpse that country are special to all. 

 

Bob Campbell Oval was once mangroves and where the creek met the harbour, a place of food and water. Even today with the mangroves largely gone, the oval still breaths and hints at its original natural presence. 

 

To apply the concrete base necessary to build the plastic pitch will mean that this too would be lost.

 

Aboriginal History

 

Gore Cove is located on the land of those traditional owners who lived on the north-west side of Port Jackson along the harbour foreshores hunting and fishing the surrounding hinterland in an area extending from Cremorne in the east through to Woodford Bay in the west. Much of what is known about the Cammeraygal is from archaeological remains that have been left behind including rock engravings, shelters, middens and art. The exposed remains of sea shells along the foreshore track to Bob Campbell Reserve are most likely the remains of a single meal or the evidence of repeated use of the area for hundreds or even thousands of years. The majority of the indigenous Australians within the Sydney Basin died following the 1788 invasion with much of their history and stories of the land lost.

Convict History

 

Clearing and tree felling began in the bushland around the bay after 1788. At this time, Gore Creek was then navigable by barges to a point that is now the northern end of the oval. Here, a wharf was constructed by the convicts who brought timber down the valley on bullock wagons and then onto barges. Just past the existing playground, there used to be a convict built well that was used by the nearby residents, but this was infilled in 1969. A pair of convict leg irons was also lying next to the bush track that heads up to Lilly Pilly Falls until the 1940s  and have since disappeared. Perhaps you may remember seeing them?

 

Although you wouldn’t swim in it now because of the water pollution, Lilly Pilly Falls was a popular swimming hole and picnic spot in the 1800s drawing visitors from the local suburbs. By the late 19th century, informal recreational use of the bay began. A hut, believed to be named ‘The Soakers Retreat’, at the head of the bay acted as a base for those that enjoyed swimming in the harbour in what was known as Betsy’s Bay. The area was often used for celebrations, picnics and even boxing matches  where money was exchanged.

 

Depression Era Works

 

In the 1928, Gore Creek (also known as Betsey’s Creek) was radically altered for the construction of the Northern Suburbs Ocean Outfall Sewer which you can still see today on the aqueduct spanning the car park. The Lane Cove Council minutes from March and April 1925 highlight that the first phase of creek reclamation began in the mid 1920s. Quarrying began in the lower area in the 1930s and the sandstone sides of the valley were blasted to level out the valley floor, with the creek being redirected into a canal. The spoil was dumped into the bay and levelled to create the playing field which became known as Gore Creek Reserve.  

 

Further environmentally damaging works occurred when a local sewer line was constructed along the side of Gore Creek to connect with the main sewer and then in1969, an elevated sewer was put across the valley between Lilly Pilly Falls and the playing field.

 

Whilst these works have ensured sanitation for residents of the area, each of these works had consequences that were not fully understood and realised at the time as they disturbed the natural ecosystems of the surrounding bushland, bay and the creek. Weed infestation of the bushland, water pollution of the waterways and siltation of the creek and bay ensued.

 

Local residents and Council have worked to regenerate the bushland since 1981. In 1988, a grant from the Bicentennial Authority and the NSW Bicentennial Council assisted with restoration of Lilly Pilly Falls, rebuilding parts of the bush track that had eroded and encouraging regeneration of the native bush species.

 

In 2004, the oval was renamed Bob Campbell Oval as recognition of his participation with the Greenwich Soccer Club and his contributions to the management of the oval.

Late 1800s image of Gore Creek and Bob Campbell Oval (current Harbour foreshore in the background)