The Sunbury Residents Association and residents of Sunbury are fighting to save the unique Jacksons Creek Valley from urban development.
The developer Villawood Properties and the Catholic Salesians want to build 406 homes in this valley, which has a number of historical and heritage sites and is an important home to increasingly rare flora and fauna.
The valley’s historical sites are important not just for Sunbury, but also Victoria. Emu Bottom is Victoria’s oldest homestead, built by George Evans in 1836. Evans was also one of the first settlers of Melbourne. Emu Bottom has a National Heritage protection.
Travelling south down the valley you go through the Emu Bottom Wetlands, which is the home for many rare flora and fauna. It is also the home of an ever-growing population of Platypus. Recently the largest Platypus in Victoria was found in the creek.
Environmentally this land is also critical as the home of nationally environmentally significant species, notably:
- Swift Parrot: there are only 1000 breeding pairs remaining of this vivid green migratory bird with its distinctive red face which migrates from Tasmania to mainland.
- Growling Grass Frog: a protected and threatened species.
- One of the most thriving communities in Victoria of platypus.
- This land is right beside critical Biodiversity Conservation Zones (20 and 21) – building high density housing right to the fence line will undermine their efficacy.
- Grassy Eucalypt Woodland, which is critically endangered.
Further south down the valley you pass the state significant heritage overlay of Cannon Gully and the Aboriginal Ceremonial Rings. These rings are protected but adding further housing to the area will jeopardise the wellbeing of the rings and especially the current unspoilt natural valley vista.
These rings are very rare and of the seven in Victoria, Sunbury has five of them. The rings are more than 1000 years old and are a very important part of Aboriginal history.
The 71km Jackson Creek arises from a number of smaller creeks in the southern parts of the Macedon Ranges. Jackson Creek flows through the town of Gisborne before turning generally southwards to flow through Sunbury, eventually joining Deep Creek south of Bulla, where the two waterways form the Maribyrnong River.
The deep and relatively narrow valley cut by the creek in its southward course through the surrounding basalt plains is particularly prominent at such places as Emu Bottom, which is the site of the oldest homestead in Victoria and the Organ Pipes National Park.
Jacksons Creek floods regularly, providing vital environmental flows for the surrounding wetlands and into the Maribyrnong River.
Sunbury’s population is currently approximately 35,000 people but over the next 35 years this is projected to increase to 150,000. The Victorian Planning Authority through its Precinct Structure Plan (PSP) has produced plans that will over the next 35 years build 19,000 new homes in Sunbury.
These two Precinct Structure Plans – Hume Planning Scheme Amendments C207 and C208 – will shortly go before a panel that will provide advice to the Victorian planning minister prior to approval of the amendments.
Join the campaign
The campaign to save Jacksons Creek Valley has presented a petition to the Victorian parliament with almost 700 signatures. Plus 3120 people have signed change.org with another 1000 hand written signatures, putting the total at over well over 4500.
The National Trust has recently stated that it is “difficult to overstate the significance of this cultural landscape to the state of Victoria”.
The Jacksons Creek landscape includes a number of highly significant Aboriginal and post-contact heritage places, which, along with the natural environment, work together to form a cultural landscape that has significant historical, aesthetic, and scientific values.
Nowhere else in Victoria is there such a connection between indigenous and early European history, and the environment and the National Trust is calling for the area to be preserved as a whole.
For more information, or to get involved, contact Trevor Dance firstname.lastname@example.org