NSW’s Premier, Nathan Rees, talking to Alan Jones on Radio 2GB on Nov 19:
Rees: The bit of land we’re talking about, Hurlstone Agricultural High School, is the size of 10 ANZ stadiums put together, it’s 160 hectares.
Jones: But how can you have an agricultural high school if you cut out most of the land that they need to service the school?
Rees: Well, we’ll take advice from the department on that. The college remains an agricultural college and we’ll make sure that that’s accommodated.
Summary of Current Argument: Hurlstone is too big; it can be smaller and still teach agriculture.
NSW’s Premier, Nathan Rees, talking on Radio 2GB on Nov 19:
I spoke with Minister Firth yesterday, and the memorial forest will be staying with the school.
This should remove the Memorial Forest issue from the table so that debate can now focus on the selling of the farmland.
Hurlstone’s local MP, Dr Andrew McDonald, quoted in the Macarthur Chronicle of Nov 18:
“Sydney is projected to have six million residents by 2020 and this is part of the urban sprawl in Sydney and especially the south west of the area…. The question for Glenfield residents will be how viable a 140ha dairy farm is in the middle of an urban area.”
Has anyone asked Glenfield people their opinions on ‘urban sprawl’?
Man, I’m seriously impressed with the way people can work together in a crisis. The joint efforts employed by passionate Hurlstonians from around the world have thrust the issue into the center of NSW’s public debate today with a ‘perfect storm’ covering Online, TV, Radio and (tomorrow) Print. Professional media consultants couldn’t have orchestrated it better given months. This was achieved within a week, almost entirely online.
Let’s review the timeline:
- On Tuesday, 11 Nov, The NSW Government hands down its mini-budget
- That afternoon, Hurlstone administration is formally advised by the DET of the intention to sell off 140ha of Hurlstone land
- Wednesday, 12 Nov, 1pm – First article of the land grab appears on the Daily Telegraph Blog.
- Thursday, 13 Nov, 12pm – First protest emails sent between alumni
- Friday, 14 Nov, 2pm – Second article appears on the Daily Telegraph Blog concerning the memorial forest issue. FaceBook Group established to rally support.
- Saturday, 15 Nov, 10pm – Hurlstone Alumni site alerts Old Boys to the issue. By then, many comments and emails are being exchanged.
- Sunday, 16 Nov – Support assembled from local, state and federal government reps, old boys, military and academic contact. Pro-forma letter campaign established.
- Monday, 17 Nov – Media contacted, Protest steering committee established, FaceBook group membership exceeds 500 members.
- Tuesday, 18 Nov – Media coverage on 2GB and Channel 7, putting the government on notice that they will be on the receiving end of of a concerted fight to save the farm and the forest.
This has all been done in the spare (and retirement!) time of many dozens of passionate folk whose names you will either be learning about in coming days, or never.
Today marks the end of a mad flurry of activity for this campaign, as we move into a new phase that pulls together a team of people for a single purpose: to stop the Rees Government selling off a valuable, established educational and heritage asset for limited economic gain. The argument will be done with facts, figures, focus and logic.
Again, if you’re interested in joining the fight, sign up to the Facebook group to pool your own expertise and resources with others (now over 600 members). A steering committee will be meeting this weekend to form strategy for next week’s March on Parliament, and from there on it will require commitment and persistence. (Contact me and I can put you in touch with the steering committee)
Are you up for the fight?
Here is a run-down of the media outlets that are tracking the story of the Selling of Hurlstone
- The Daily Telegraph’s Maralyn Parker deserves credit as the first major outlet to break the news on Nov 12 – regarding the selloff and on Nov 14 the memorial forest issue.
- Alan Jones’ morning program on Nov 18 spoke with Old Boy David Moore about the issue: listen here
- Channel 7 Sydney featured the story in it’s 6pm NSW Bulletin on Nov 18.
- The Macarthur Chronicle of Nov 19
- The SouthWestern Rural Advertiser of Nov 19
- Alan Jones discusses the issue with Premier Nathan Rees on Nov 19. listen here
Coming Soon: Watch these spaces:
- Sydney Daily Telegraph (the paper version)
- Sydney Morning Herald
- The Land
- Macarthur Advertiser
If you are planning to write (on paper!) to your local member, some suggested wording and advice is provided in the FaceBook group devoted to Saving Hurlstone’s Memorial Forest (see the Bulletin Board)
But if you already know what you’re doing, a clear and concise pro-forma letter – describing the issue for the benefit of your local representative – has been drafted by Old Boy and experienced campaigner Steven Nethery. Thanks, Steve!
Incidentally, that FaceBook Group – established by concerned Old Girl Angela White on Friday – has already signed up over 500 members in just 3 days!
Get your school blazers and ties out. We’re calling Alan Jones and then marching on Parliament.
Sydneysiders might already be aware of a rally being promoted by Alan Jones against the ‘incompetence’ that culminated in the recent mini-budget (his comments on the topic are also here). Next Wednesday, everyone who feels passionately about the measures that the NSW Government is taking is being encouraged to be at State Parliament in person to request the resignation of the government. Jones says: “It’ll be a real test of how fairding.com the public are to see how many people turn up in Macquarie Street’ (my italics :-) )
I guess we’re invited.
David Moore – a Hurlstone Old Boy with some weighty military, legal and political connections – will be talking with Alan Jones on Tuesday morning – should be an interesting listen. Ring up and have your say on talkback afterward – (suggestion: be clear and direct, decide your ONE angle and sell it in the first 10 seconds. You won’t get to make two points)
A team of organisers is being assembled and will be meeting to plan Hurlstone’s presence at the rally soon. (I wish I could be there in person, but distance precludes…) Let me know if you are interested and I can pass on your contact details to Adrian Alexander (1957-1961 Old Boy), who has taken on a leading role in this effort.
- Remember that this is a peaceful march. (You can’t scream the government is out of control while waving a pitchfork in your hand. At least, not with any credibility.)
- Wear your blazer and, if possible, your Centenary tie. It’ll help our people stand out if there is a big crowd, and help us recognise each other.
- You could also try wearing one of these, if you get the joke. Or even if you don’t.
- Bring a banner (maybe make some suggestions in the comments here) –
‘Don’t Desecrate Our War Memorial’, ‘Hurlstone is NOT for Sale’, ‘Please allow Hurlstone it’s second Centenary, Mr Rees’ – you know what’s in your heart…
- The protest is focused on requesting the government to resign. You might want to enter into the spirit by drafting your own letter, in your own words, to hand over.
- Senior students, it may be exam time, but you’re welcome and encouraged to be there and make your voices heard. What better way of leaving your legacy!
The team is also looking at other, grander ideas of getting the message across that Hurlstone is serious in its objection. (For example, not all of the people affected by the decision are people, if you catch my meaning. If you share a grand vision, sign up to the steering committee!)
Stay tuned for more information about when and where to meet up.
The Hurlstone War Cry will be echoing in Macquarie Street in coming weeks/months. At this rate, it’ll need to be entered into Hansard.
A number of campaigns – both public and personal – have been launched up to head off the NSW Government’s mini-budget attempt to sell off Hurlstone’s farm: stay tuned for
- Local, State and Federal politicians to voice their support
- Prominent Educators and Servicemen to weigh in on the significance of the decision
- Of course, current, former (and future) students will have more to say.