We ask Council to work with the go-kart club to settle on an alternative site for the track, and to develop a management plan for McPhillamy Park to take advantage of its world class views and its premier position, as a potential major tourism attraction and as a valued asset for the whole community.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO SIGN THIS OPEN LETTER?

Send us a message 

McPhillamy Park Open Letter

McPhillamy Park, which sits on the top of Mt Panorama/Wahluu, was gifted to the community by the McPhillamy family in 1938 as a public recreation ground. 

There is widespread community outrage that Bathurst Regional Council is proceeding with plans for a go-kart track on a significant portion of the original 25 acres, thereby alienating that section of the park from the community.  In addition, the enjoyment of the park would be impacted by the noise of the go-karts and the intrusion of infrastructure and parking areas.

We, the undersigned, strongly urge Bathurst Regional Council to recognise and respect the special natural and cultural heritage of McPhillamy Park, honour the intention of the donors of the land and re-confirm its status as a public park for all.

  • In 1890 Dr Thomas Machattie advocated for a road to the top of The Bald Hills so that the view from the top, being one of the grandest in the world, could be enjoyed.  In 1910 he suggested beautifying Bathurst by establishing a picnic ground at the summit of The Bald Hills (now Mount Panorama/Whaluu). In the 1920s the Bathurst Progress Association began work to build access to the top of The Bald Hills and a public picnic area at its summit.

  • Walter J. McPhillamy Park officially opened on 17 March 1938 on 15 (10 hectares) acres of land gifted to the community by Walter J. McPhillamy.  This land was gazetted on 16 March 1938 for the following public purpose, namely, for the establishment of a Public Recreation Ground at Mount Panorama.

  • 10 additional acres of land were added to the park by Mrs McPhillamy in October 1938.  In thanking Mrs McPhillamy the Town Clerk wrote:  Aldermen expressed the view that no thanks could be too profuse for the valuable gift which will benefit the residents of the district and visitors for all time.

  • McPhillamy Park has been actively used by the public for over 80 years. In 2005 Council recognised this, building a theme-based children’s playground and new shelters, including a covered picnic table at the site of the now proposed go-kart circuit.

  • Since the late 1980s Council has prioritised the Mount Panorama Motor Racing Precinct in lieu of actual public use and affection for McPhillamy Park. This has resulted in the park’s users, and its considerable heritage and community values, being disregarded in Council’s assessment of the proposed go-kart facility.  

  • The Bathurst Regional Local Environmental Plan 2014 (Regulation 1.4) aims to enhance and protect the region’s unique Aboriginal and European cultural heritage as key social and economic assets; to identify, protect, enhance and manage areas of high biodiversity conservation value as a means to … protect the region’s significant vegetation and scenic quality, and … to protect and enhance the region’s landscapes, views, vistas and open spaces (s.1.2(2)).  It also aims to conserve the environmental heritage and heritage significance of heritage items … including associated fabric, settings and views as well as conserving Aboriginal places of heritage significance (s.5.10(1)).

We acknowledge:

  • the many layers of heritage represented in this unique area: from its ancient geological, environmental, and Wiradjuri cultural values, to its more recent heritage including early Bathurst, McPhillamy Park, Sir Joseph Banks Nature Reserve and motor racing. We recognise all these values need to be acknowledged, protected and enhanced in future management of the park;

  • the significance of the park to generations of local residents and visitors;

  • the importance of the park as a camping ground for generations of motor racing attendees, and

  • the importance of this significant open space to the wellbeing of local residents, now and into the future.

We ask Council to work with the go-kart club to settle on an alternative site for the track, and to develop a management plan for McPhillamy Park to take advantage of its world class views and its premier position, as a potential major tourism attraction and as a valued asset for the whole community.

Rachel Bowker 1.jpg