A Short History of the Friends of Anstey Hill
The formation of the Friends Of Anstey Hill.
It all really began in 1983 when the State Department of Environment and Planning published the "Anstey Hill Regional Park" Concept Plan. Remember at that time Anstey Hill was part of the land purchased by the government for its grand regional plan development for the Mount Lofty Ranges. This report indicated that in the TTG quarry area a caravan park and possibly a velodrome might be appropriate developments. The report also indicated that the TTG Council would be the best body to handle the long term management of the park.
In early 1988 two interior designers representing the TTG Recreational Park Pty Ltd put an ambitious proposal before the TTG Council. Their multi million dollar proposal involved a major development in the TTG quarry that included such novelties as a 120m wave pool, a ski slope, mini grand prix circuit, 100m slide and flea market. Heady stuff! Needless to say there was a huge outcry in the local community when people suddenly realised that 'their' Anstey Hill reserve was about to be turned into a giant "magic mountain". There is nothing like the prospect of losing something you value to stimulate action. In a short space of time the Anstey Hill Protection Group had formed under the leadership of Roy Manning, a local resident and keen bushwalker.
A public meeting was quickly organised for 24th February 1988 and it was attended by about 600 people. At the meeting the Opposition mines and energy spokesman Roger Goldsworthy said the proposals needed an enormous amount of modification and called it a "dog's breakfast". The Newland MP Diane Gaylor described the plan as being "over the top" and much too big. Representatives of the SA Conservation Council and the TTG Flora and Fauna Consultative Group were present and both voiced their disapproval of the TTG Recreation Park proposals.
Over the following months there was continuing opposition to these extravagant proposals that were largely funnelled through the local MP Dianne Gaylor. On the 25th July 1988 the Deputy Premier and Minister for the Environment and Planning Don Hopgood issued a press release stating that the government had decided not to make land available for the proposal submitted by the TTG Recreational Park Pty Ltd and that Anstey Hill reserve would be declared a Recreation Park under the control of the SA National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). Further the NPWS would create a Friends of Anstey Hill Group made up of interested locals - and so we were born!
On the 14th November 1988 at our first annual meeting we collected our first membership subscriptions and went on in that first year to register 87 members - our largest ever membership. The Anstey Hill Recreation Park was officially dedicated on Sunday 17th September 1989. It was a grand occasion attended by over 120 people. The Minister for the Environment and Planning Susan Lenehan said the Park would serve two purposes - the conservation of the Hills Face Zone and the protection of wildlife in the area. In that context let's record the facts. Our 380 hectare park is home to 280 plant species, 140 bird species and numerous ammmals, reptlies and amphibians. As Dianne Gaylor said at our dedication: "This is a historic achievement for TTG and it means that the largest area of native bushland in TTG is now safe and secure for future generations of residents" These sentiments are just as true today and remind us of the continuing need to protect this valuable natural resource from inappropriate development.