The Public Meeting that formed the Duffys Forest Progress Association was held on June 1 1965. It was decided that Duffys Forest needed a separate Association, as its special needs were not being served by the Terrey Hills Progress Association. The major item discussed at the early meetings, and one of the main reasons for the formation of the Association, was the plan for a road to be constructed from the end of Booralie Road through to Bobbin Head and Hornsby. This idea was quickly dropped because of opposition from the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
In 1973, an event of considerable significance took place, the outcome of which has considerably influenced attitudes since then. A group of neighbours, supported by the Progress Association, opposed the development of a large Caravan Park on the corner of Mallawa and Booralie Roads. Despite objections, Council approved the plan. Three residents, with the support of the Progress Association, took legal advice and eventually won in the Supreme Court, thus defeating the project. The judgement handed down by Mr. Justice Street was that under the Planning Ordinance such a commercial development should be prohibited.
This was indeed a victory for the industrious and tenacious Sub-committee who had worked so hard and effectively with the legal advisers. From that time on Warringah Shire Council has had to watch very carefully the granting of permission to any commercial undertakings in non-urban areas.
The airport proposal was an early and major hurdle for the fledgling association and opposition to this plan was maintained until 1971 when a separate Anti-Airport Committee was formed as a sub-committee of the Terrey Hills and Duffys Forest Progress Associations to continue the battle.
The eventual political victory over the airfield development also reinforced the desire of residents, and through them their elected representatives in the Council, to keep Duffys Forest as free as possible from undesirable commercial developments, particularly if they would appear in any way to prejudice neighbourhood amenity or future planning of the area.
The two year planning study of the Terrey Hills/Duffys Forest area conducted by the NSW Planning & Environment Commission and Warringah Shire Council, and involving a great deal of resident participation, recommended in April 1976 that:
1. The development of an aerodrome would be detrimental to the area and was a totally unsuitable proposition.
2. That the proximity of the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park made it essential to keep properties to a minimum size of 5 acres for the foreseeable future.In August 1978 a proposal to rezone a block of land in Mallawa Road in order to develop a tennis and squash complex was opposed by residents and the Progress Association. Council, as a direct result of this resident action, did not proceed with a recommendation to the Minister that such a commercial rezoning should take place.
In 1978 the DFRA approached Warringah Council because of the frequent need to object to inappropriate development applications. Council engaged Don Fox Planners to prepare a DCP (Development Control Plan) to accommodate many of these developments closer to Myoora Road, which was later given in WLEP2000 with a different zoning (A4 Myoora Road). In the 1980s the Association was actively involved with the Non-urban Lands Study and its recommendations, which were to be incorporated into the WLEP2000.
Throughout the 90s the Association lobbied NP&WS, politicians and Council for the inclusion into the National Park of a number of crown land parcels adjacent to Kur-ing gai Chase National Park. Addition of Portion 117 into the National Park followed 12 years of intense lobbying by the Association and other members of the local community.
A major issue for the Association has been the sale by the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council of 2 portions of once crown land to developers, Lots 447 and 446. These once pristine bushland parcels had long been intended as a buffer between the residential plateau and Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, and as earmarked for inclusion into the Park. As a result of the long battle to save these lands lot numbers on each were reduced from 12 to 6, public reserves have been set aside and public access to Cowan Creek via Bibbenluke track has been preserved.
The uncertain future of Skippy Park has been at the forefront of concern for the Association. The Association successfully lobbied the NSW Labour Government to terminate the commercial lease held on the Park by the Melbourne based development company Prudentia Investments after the native animals were removed from the site by the RSPCA. We have urged both the Planning Department and Warringah Council to include the Rangers Cottage into both the State Heritage Register and the Local Government Register.
In recent times the Association has obtained a number of grants to preserve and enhance local assets. Thanks to a $70k grant with NP&WS the heavily eroded Duffys Wharf track has been restored, and hopefully with future grants will be enhanced with interpretive signage and a boardwalk through the mangroves on Cowan Creek.
A $30k grant from the 2009 NSW Community Building Partnership Programme (CBPP) was combined with generous donations from businesses and the local community to restore the Anembo Reserve Horse Arena. An additional $10k CBPP grant in 2010 and $5k funding from Council was obtained in 2011 to replace the existing fence. Following 20 years of lobbying Council and another CBPP grant for $30k, a horse arena will be constructed in Kinka Reserve in 2011.
The Association continues to discuss and take action on such matters as planning, roadworks and repairs, water, bus services, street lighting, complaints about noise, trail bikes etc. Liaison is maintained with Ku-ring-gai Chase authorities on relevant matters, particularly weed control and horse trails. The future of Waratah Park and looking for viable alternative uses for the site will remain a priority for the Association.
How the Association operates
General Meetings are held every two months at the Fire Shed and the Executive meets on the alternate month. No decisions are taken at the Executive level unless a General Meeting is called. Members of the Executive are always willing to talk to residents about problems and as necessary take these to Council members or the State Government. Residents of Duffys Forest receive a working agenda of all General and Special Meetings of the Association several days before each meeting is held and a notice is placed at the Kinka Road/Booralie Road intersection.
How can you help?
1. Join the Association so that you can vote on issues. Individual membership is $25 per annum and household (2 people) membership is $50 per annum. All members must support the DFRA Constitution and membership is subject to approval.
2. Express opinions on issues. If you don't know enough about particular issues, contact any member of the Executive who can inform and update you.
3. Take an active stand on matters. Don't wait until there is a major external threat. A succession of minor problems can equally devalue your property and your lifestyle. Act now.
HELP US KEEP DUFFYS FOREST PEACEFUL AND BEAUTIFUL. Respond to the needs of your local environment. Get to know your neighbours and work together to understand the complex problems that confront urban communities. The bush fire emergencies show how an external threat can be mitigated by a sense of neighbourhood, communication and co-operation.
To preserve and enhance the whole of Duffys Forest, some proposals have to be opposed. Opposing the wrong sort of development does not stand in the way of Progress for Duffys Forest in the true sense.
In 2017 residents of Duffys Forest can look with pride at this beautiful and unique area, the character of which is due to the efforts of vigilant residents both past and present, and of your elected political representatives.
The Association is involved in planning and protection of the environment for all residents. The small core of regulars at Association meetings sees new faces pop up and then disappear as particular needs are satisfied. Preservation of Duffys Forest requires that all residents take an active and ongoing interest in the Association.