Locals Fight to Stop West Head Fort Invasion
Media release: 19 September 2012
A bunch of dedicated and adventurous locals have been working tirelessly with National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) staff to save the World War II West Head Forts from invasion, scrambling down to the site each week armed with nothing more than gloves, shovels and brooms.
National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Ranger Natasha Funke said the Forts were built to protect Sydney during World War II but due to their remote location in difficult terrain they were at critical risk of being completely smothered by weeds.
“Two wonderful groups of volunteers regularly work at West Head to drive back the constant march of weeds in the area and they are now claiming victory following a final co-ordinated assault on the enemy,” Ms Funke said.
“Their work has also attracted the praise of war veteran Jack "Bluey" Mercer, who helped construct the Forts in 1942, who recently visited the site to meet the wonderful staff and volunteers who are protecting it.
“Bluey recently flew over the site in a Jet Ranger helicopter to inspect the final reveal of the Forts from the air, which triggered a lot of emotions and memories for him about his time here and the war.
“Apart from protecting a piece of Sydney’s history the works will also conserve the area’s cultural heritage and ecological values.
“The Casuarina trees growing on the site are also an important food source for the endangered glossy black cockatoo and an Endangered Ecological Community ‘Themeda grass lands on sea cliffs and coastal headlands also occurs at West head.
“West Head is one of Sydney’s best kept secret spots for a picnic with a very beautiful scenic lookout with sweeping views to the north – this work will make it all the better,” she said.
People of all ages all across NSW donate their time and gain great satisfaction through sharing volunteer experiences.
“Volunteers make an enormous contribution to preserving our environment and are rewarded by meeting like-minded people and spending time in a cherished environment,” Ms Funke said.
“Volunteering in National Parks is a great way to show your passion for nature and make a positive difference.”
Examples of volunteer opportunities include bush regeneration, flora and fauna surveys, threatened species management, culture and heritage conservation, working in information centres and conducting guided tours.
To find out what volunteering opportunities are offered in your local area, contact the NPWS or visit http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/get-involved
Contact: Gabrielle Last
Page last updated: 19 September 2012