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Conservation Society Inc.
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FJ 0484

Badge of the
University of Melbourne


University of



N.3,    26th October, 1955

The Town Clerk,
Sandringham City Council,
Abbot Street,

Dear Sir,

I have been informed by Mrs. S.M. Ridland of a
project to reserve an area of natural vegetation in the Beaumaris
district. She tells me that three areas have been inspected by Miss Wadell and others, and that the most suitable one
comprises eight building blocks on the Dunlop Estate. I have not seen these
areas for some years, but I am confident that the local people would take
good advice in their selection.

I am writing to support this project in the strongest possible terms, and to
ask the Council to give it very serious consideration. I am also writing to my
friend Mr. Blackwood, the General Manager of Dunlops,
in the hope that the Company may be willing to collaborate in some way.

The idea is, as you know, to preserve a sufficiently large area of native
vegetation for the benefit of citizens of Sandringham
and of Melbourne generally. I am perhaps in a particularly favourable position to point out to you the need for such
preservation. Melbourne is growing at an enormous rate, and it is beoming increasingly difficult to find, within twenty
miles of the Town Hall, any surviving remnants of native Australian
vegetation. When I first came to my position in the University we could take
our students to various areas in Sandringham and
Cheltenham to study the native heathland vegetatioon, but for the last fifteen years it has been
necessary to go as far as Frankston to find untouched examples of the
Victorian heath country. During the last year even the Frankston area has
rapidly been cut up for building and commercial purposes. It is no
exaggeration to say that within twenty years, unless some preservation is put
in hand at once, this extremely interesting and important Australian plant
community will no longer exist within fifty miles of Melbourne. The heathland is quite important scientifically from a great
many angles, but apart from this there appears to me to be a very good case
for the preservation of small areas, if only to remind the people of
Melbourne that they are living in an Australian city. Most of the suburbs of
Melbourne are extending over land which was cleared long ago and which even
now bears very few surviving traces of the native vegetation. Beaumaris and a few other parts of the Sandringham area are most exceptional, and I very
strongly support the public-spirited action of the local people in trying to
preserve parts of Beaumaris as a suburb with what
we could call an Australian flavour. However, with
increased building activity this could only be done on a limited scale, and by the preservation of the larger trees and
shrubs in and-around gardens and streets. Unless a small sanctuary is created
in the area the great majority of the plants will disappear. I am sure you
will agree with me that the Council would earn the gratitude of future
citizens if it could be instrumental in preserving at least one small link
with the past.  

I do not regard the project to preserve a sanctuary as something put up by
a few sincere but sentimental fanatics. The small group at Beaumaris is ahead of its time and deserves every support
from the leaders of the community Victoria is lagging behind all the other
States of the Commonwealth in preservation schemes, and Sandringham
could give a real lead to other centres. As you
probably know, the need for preservation of natural features is being
increasingly recognised in America and Britain In
Britain a Government authority, the Nature Conservancy, under the direct
authority of the Lord President of the Council has been set up, and almost
every month very large areas of natural countryside are set aside for the
benefit of posterity. A similar move in under consideration in Victoria, but
by the time it is under way I am afraid that a great many areas of unique
character will have been destroyed.  

I understand that the best area comprises about eight building blocks, and
that it is hoped to save at least four of these. My own view is that a
sanctuary of this kind should be as large as possible if preservation of the
native vegetation is to succeed and I earnestly hope that you will be able to
preserve the whole area as a native park. I feel sure that the group of local
residents will be happy to assist in its maintenance and

I am,  

Yours sincerely, 


(S) J.S.Turner