Fernhill was acquired by the NSW Government in 2018 to bring the 412-hectare site into public ownership "for its heritage value to be protected, and its open green spaces enjoyed by the people of Western Sydney for generations to come."
The NSW Department of Planning Industry and Environment has released the Plan of Management for Fernhill (www.westernsydneyparklands.com.au/fernhill). Public comment is due by 1st February.
At the suggestion of Heritage NSW, FFMV has nominated Mulgoa Valley for listing on the State Heritage Register. If approved, this would consolidate current local and state environment and development control plans for the Valley into a single planning instrument.
The Mulgoa Valley, located on the western edge of the fertile Cumberland Plain of Sydney, is rich in diverse native vegetation owing to its fertile clay and shale soils that transition toward the less fertile sandstone soils of the adjacent Blue Mountains. These soil types result in mixed, yet distinct , vegetation communities that provide essential habitat and attractive foraging areas for many of the rarest native fauna (Swift Parrots, Regent Honeyeaters, Microbats, small woodlands birds, an array of reptiles and, potentially, koalas).
Almost 95% of the Cumberland Plain is now devoid of native vegetation due to urban, commercial, industrial and agricultural uses. The Valley could be considered a ‘living museum’ of the Cumberland Plain Woodland with at least 870 hectares permanently conserved on both public and private reserves for biodiversity values.
The Mulgoa Valley is significant as a cultural landscape that evolved in the 19th Century from the large estates established by the Cox, Jamison, Blaxland and Norton families. 200 years of rural land use has resulted in a rich tapestry of historic sites along the picturesque Mulgoa Road. The Valley’s homesteads, churches, cemetery, schools, cottages and archaeological sites well demonstrate the historical themes of colonial pastoralism and agriculture, convictism , religion and architecture.
The Valley has a proud history as an important centre for agriculture: the growing of wheat and vines, grazing of sheep and cattle and the breeding of fine bloodstock.
The Traditional Owners of the Mulgoa Valley are the Dharug people who geographically extend into Greater Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains and have been custodians of country for over 65,000 years. The name Mulgoa is derived from the Dharug speaking community known as the Mulgowie who, with a number of other distinct Dharug groups formed what is known today as the Dharug First Nations. Aboriginal people continue to exercise the living traditions of ‘Caring for Country’ to protect and maintain the natural and cultural heritage of the region.
Conservation and Preservation
With the suburban sprawl of Sydney and associated road construction, subsuming so much of the once fine landscape of western Sydney, and the building of the nearby Nancy Bird Airport, the rural character of Mulgoa Valley is rapidly becoming more precious and more threatened. Its heritage buildings and landscapes, scenery and endangered vegetation make the Mulgoa Valley unique and worthy of preservation from unsympathetic development, while developing its tourist potential. A Conservation Management Plan is needed for the Mulgoa Valley.