Celebrating 50 years of a Wellington icon - The Mt Arthur Reserve, 2014
Throughout the history of the Wellington valley, ‘Mount Arthur’ has meant many things to many people. A home, a source of natural resources, a workplace, a water supply, a special place of solitude and natural wonder, fond memories, a distinctive feature of the skyline and much more.
In 1960 a small group of local people were so inspired by the area, its values and its tourism potential, that they formed the ‘Mount Arthur National Park Committee’ and campaigned tirelessly for 4 years to achieve their vision. The founding members of this Committee were Mr George Ford, Mr Mark Harvey, Mr Darvil Baird, Mr Leonard Matthews, and Mr Alf Roberts. They were soon joined by Mr David Davidson, Mr Tony Bird, Mr I. Fuller, Mr B. Whiteley, Mr George Althofer, Mr Robert Kimbell, Mr Douglas Allan, Mr Arthur Rolls, Mr Selwyn Townsend and Mr Terry Tolhurst. It is thanks to the efforts of this Committee that the Mount Arthur Reserve was gazetted in 1964, securing it for future generations to enjoy.
Many of these first committee members went on to serve generously on the Mount Arthur Reserve Trust, some for over 20 years. In this, the 50th year of the Trust, we would like to pay tribute to the long service of these members.
The Reserve owes much to the floristic and natural history knowledge of George Althofer and Keith Holmes, the historical notes taken by Robert Kimbell, the vision of Arthur Rolls, the perseverance and passion of Alf Roberts, and the dedication of Mr Brian Holmes, Mr John Pilling, and Mrs Marion Dawson. For Marion this year also marks the 30th year of her membership of the Trust.
The Reserve also owes much to the efforts of the Apex Club, who worked hard establishing the first facilities, and many of the walking trails, for the enjoyment of visitors. They were followed by long serving Rangers – notably Mr Norm Spratt and Mr Tony Layland.
A total of 43 Trust members, and countless other volunteers have looked after the Reserve over the last 50 years. The Reserve has grown to encompass over 2000ha and its natural values have been recognized on the Register of the National Estate.
Here in 2014, the Reserve is far from a forgotten gem. It still means many things, to many people. It inspires people with a passion for its values and a desire to get in and do something in their ‘patch’. It is not an easy job, with many knocks along the way, but those who look after it do so because they still believe it is a special place and an asset to the township.
In the last 10 years the achievements of the Trust have been many – a plan of management, new signage, facility upgrades, weed control revegetation and fencing projects, and an upgrade of the Scenic Drive which is ongoing. Over this period more than $500,000 in funds have been secured for projects in the Reserve, and the Trust was recognized in the top 3 finalists of the NSW Regional Achievement and Community Awards (Community Trust Managers category) in 2011, 2012 and 2014. The current Trust members hope that those original Committee members would have been proud.