Campaigns Glenlee

Save Historic Glenlee

Developers are set to remove 200 trees on land with significant Aboriginal and European History.

The proposal to build more than 30 houses on Glenlee in Lugarno has been made without consideration to its natural and cultural heritage values. Glenlee contributes to the view from Oatley Park. It plays an important role in a forested corridor from Oatley Park, Lugarno and on to the Georges River National Park. Glenlee is also significant as a archaeological site with indigenous occupation and a legacy of early Australian history.


A recent on-site community meeting attracted more than 100 concerned residents as well as Mayor Kevin Greene and Cr Colleen Symington. Many people spoke on the importance of the environmental and historical factors.


  • The development application has not made a competent assessment of the impact that will occur on threatened flora and fauna through the removal and destruction of their habitat nor to the damage that will be caused to terrestrial and estuarine ecosystems that are on and immediately adjacent to the property. Glenlee has tall eucalypt bushland which provides a home to echidnas, swamp wallabies and endangered wildlife, as well as rich vegetation.
  • Glenlee is also notably significant for its signs of indigenous occupation and a legacy of early Australian history. Developer  has not undertaken a cultural heritage assessment of features of Aboriginal and European heritage significance despite the site being listed by the National Trust and features of both Aboriginal cultural significance and European cultural significance being known on the site.
  • It has not properly assessed the impacts on the local community in terms of, traffic and visual amenity.


First Fleet Contact with Aboriginal Populations

Historian Bob Haworth, notes that area in around Glenlee may be important as the first collaborative contact between the First Fleet Europeans and Aboriginals in Lugarno.He draws from the journals of Philip Gidley-King, Second Lieutenant on HMS Supply, the first ship of the fleet to reach Botany Bay. He described the first major social exchange between the British and the Eora,in Lime Kiln Bay.

On 20 January 1788 Lieutenants, King and Dawes and their crew sailed into this area searching for fertile soil and fresh water for the settlement of the 1400 men who arrived with the Fleet. Having found the rich volcanic soil of what is now Evatt Park, they were confronted with a hostile group of Aborigines who threatened them with spears and forced them back to their boat.Shortly after, Governor Philip disembarked alone and offered gifts, winning the friendship of the Aboriginal people and “So it looks as if they spent from mid-afternoon to dusk (four or five hours at least) with the local people — more than just a quick hello, and suggesting that this was likely to have been an extended session of mutual enjoyment.” Another Gidley King journal entry says “The likely trysting site between the Aborigines and the crew ’12 miles from the fleet’ would be at the head of Lime Kiln Bay, the inlet that begins just north of Lance Point (Gertrude Point)” (Lugarno).” This location could very likely be describing the area of Glenlee.

Read Bob Haworth’s paper ‘The Several ‘Discoveries’ of Sydney’s Georges River: Precursors to the Tom Thumb Expedition’, Journal of Australian Colonial History, Vol. 14, 2012, pp. 171-190.   Download Article

Also see – Goodall, Heather, Cadzow, Allison, Aboriginal People on Sydney’s Georges River from 1820, Dictionary of Sydney, 2014

Philip Gidley King’s journal covers the voyage to New South Wales were acquired from the King family in 1933 and are held at the State Library. King was appointed third Governor of New South Wales in 1799 taking over from Hunter in September 1800.

The Journal of Philip Gidley King pp 27-28 (

  • John Henry Geddes purchased the property in 1886. Around 1888 he bought 100 bags of oysters from his lease in Port Hacking to grow to full size in Lime Kiln Bay. He applied to build a jetty which was approved. and had a six roomed wooden house built. Geddes failed to keep the property in the depression of the 1890’s, and the City bank foreclosed their mortgage for the property.

  • George Cox, a butcher occupied Geddes’ house from 1895 to 1899. It is said that he brought cattle across George’s River, swimming them through the shallow water near Soily Bottom Point.

  • Emil Matthei’s came to the Lugarno Pleasure Grounds by paddle steamer from Como for a Sunday School picnic and decided to settle here. In 1905 he became the caretaker for five roomed house painted with tar. By 1908 Emil bought land and added to his holdings, buying ten acre lots at about ten pounds per acre. In 1910 ‘Glenlee’ was built, and a small orchard was developed.

Lugarno History, by Graham Blewett – Ferries and farms: a history of Lugarno,  

More history of the site on  Save Glenlee Website

Save Glenlee now has a website

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