Effect of Conservation Laws on Urban Development

2108 words (8 pages) Essay in Geography

08/02/20 Geography Reference this

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Aim: To investigate the effect of conservation laws in Hunters Hill on urban development


The purpose of my Senior Geography Project was to investigate the effect of conservation laws on urban development. Due to Hunters Hill’s strict conservation laws which apply to around 75% of the municipality, I am researching the effect Hunters Hill’s conservation laws have on urban development and population density. Furthermore, I have also decided to include in my report the community’s role in affecting urban development in Hunters Hill.


There seems to be a certain character to Hunters Hill in which the council consistently speaks of in their reports. Hunters Hill has a rich history, with numerous heritage buildings, nature reserves and parks which are protected by specific conservation laws.


I predict that Hunters Hill’s conservation laws will affect urban development in Hunters Hill. Urban development in Hunters Hill will thus be drastically slowed through the conservation laws which are designed to help preserve both heritage sites and nature in Hunters Hill.

Focus Questions

  • Question One: How does Hunters Hill’s conservation laws affect urban development?
  • Question Two:  How does Hunters Hill’s conservation laws affect population density?
  • Question Three:  How does the community of Hunters Hill affect urban development in Hunters Hill?


In order to carry out my report, I was required to use my primary data in use to support my field study. I decided to take my photographs to support the effect of conservation laws on urban development in Hunters Hill and followed a method in order to collect my data. I decided to choose a bright day with good weather for the best possible quality of a photograph, and took many in order to be able to select a few of the best photographs from the collection of photos I took. I also emailed the Hunters Hill Council and directly went to the Hunters Hill Council in the Town Hall in order to collect information on conservation laws and urban development. To do this, I first had to research which government level was responsible for these areas, and find a representative that specialised in that area. I also surveyed around a 100 residents of Hunters Hill and asked a couple of questions on their thoughts on some conservation laws and urban development in Hunters Hill.

Figure 1- Conservation Areas in Hunters Hill (marked in yellow and orange)

Statement of findings

In order to conserve Hunters Hill, many strategies have been implemented to prevent too much urban development. According to the Hunters Hill Community Profile Census Report, 75% of Hunters Hill municipality is a conservation area. This is shown through Fig. 1, which has the conservation areas marked in yellow and orange. For example, Clause 15 of the Hunters Hill LEP states “a building in the Residential zone shall not…contain more than two storeys or exceed a height greater than 7.2 metres…” This requirement ensures that the impact on conservation areas and buildings of environmental heritage significance will be minimised, and the visual impact of urban development will be reduced. Through these requirements, there is very little land that is used for industrial or commercial use. The parks and reserves in Hunters Hill, such as Kelly’s Bush, Boronia Park Reserve, Weil Park and Buffalo Creek Reserve are maintained through strict conservation laws. For instance, the Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest, seen in Fig. 2 is part of the Boronia Park Reserve, with less than 0.5% of the trees remaining in Sydney. Through the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act, the reserve is protected from any urban development that may damage the site. We can see how Weil Park is maintained in Fig.3, and how little effect urban development has on this environment. Through the implementation of these strategies, the character of Hunters Hill is maintained. In my survey, around a hundred residents living in Hunters Hill were asked whether they believed that conservation laws did prevent urban development. As seen in Fig. 4, 89% of residents agreed in this statement, and also reasoned that this was most likely due to the little industrial use of land in Hunters Hill.

Figure 2: Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest (Taken in Boronia Park Reserve by Lia Kwon)

Figure 4: Survey of 100 Hunters Hill residents

Figure 3: Weil Park (Taken By Lia Kwon)

The population in Hunters Hill experienced minimal growth until the 1840s when sandstone mansions were constructed for housing purposes. A larger variety of transport was made available during the 1880s to 1900s through bridges, ferries, and growth in the shipbuilding industry. According to Profile Id, Hunters Hill’s population grew in 1950s to 1960s before dropping to approximately 12000 in the 1990s. However, the population grew to 14000 in 2016 due to urban development, where the council dedicated land to new construction. Although new construction work has begun throughout Hunters Hill, Sydney Morning Herald reports Hunters Hill as one of the slowest growing areas in Sydney in terms of dwellings built. As seen in Fig. 5, Garibaldi Village Square, a shopping centre in Hunters Hill, is small in comparison to shopping centres in the city due to its limited level of stories (consisting of two) and the lack of space.

Figure 5: Garibaldi Village Square (Taken by Lia Kwon)

The community of Hunters Hill has often helped and have played a major role in conserving Hunters Hill, affecting urban development in the municipality. For instance, residents of Hunters Hill have played a pivotal role in preserving Kelly’s Bush from 1967-1971, the site of the world’s first green ban. By successfully preserving Kelly’s Bush, they ensured that the bushland would not be developed to build 147 house units, which included buildings reaching eight storeys high. As a result, there was no urban development in Kelly’s Bush, and residents formed active groups, such as Friends of Kelly’s Bush, in order to restore and regenerate the bushland. This can clearly be seen through Fig. 6, which shows the difference between Kelly’s Bush around 1961, and the picture on the right taken in 2019. This demonstrates the preservation of nature, and the effort of the local community, as they regrew plants and ensured that Kelly’s Bush would be preserved.

Figure 6: Kelly’s Bush (picture on left taken on a sign in Kelly’s Bush, picture on right taken on 2019)


Through the data that I compiled during my fieldwork investigation, it is possible to conclude that conservation laws majorly affect urban development in Hunters Hill. According to statistics given by the Hunters Hill Council’s community profile, 75% of the municipality of Hunters Hill is declared a conservation area with strict laws that apply to these areas. This makes it extremely difficult for much urban development to take place, as we can see in Fig. 3 and its photograph of the small shopping centres that are considered part of Hunters Hill’s character. I discovered that due to the rich history and character that the community of Hunters Hill is proud of, these measures are kept in place in order to preserve Hunters Hill from too much urban development, as this would detract from the overall ‘character’ which the community of Hunters Hill is proud of. 


After undertaking the senior geography project as part of the year 10 geography course, I have gathered much more insight into the effect Hunters Hill’s conservation laws has on urban development. I initially had much difficulty in choosing a suitable topic for my geography project due to Hunters Hill’s lack of urban development and its size. However, I later decided on further exploring the conservation laws that majorly affected urban development in Hunters Hill. Through this study, I learnt of the importance in conserving both local reserves as well as heritage buildings in order to ensure we conserve these areas. I also discovered the importance of following a strict plan in order to complete my senior geography project. By following this plan, I ensured that I finished by the deadline and successfully completed this project. In my geography project, I had some difficulty in selecting key images that I would use to support my report, as there were many bushland areas and heritage buildings that could make up my primary data. I also had a lot of evidence that I had to filter in order to support my field study, which I found quite challenging. Furthermore, my primary data was lacking in the beginning and I was unsure of what data to use in order to support my report. I overcame all of these issues through careful planning and looking at some forms of primary data. At the end of this investigation, I became more aware of the conservation laws in Hunters Hill and the amount of urban development that occurs in this community.

Action taken

After researching more into the conservation laws that majorly affect Hunters Hill’s urban development, I discovered there were two opinions in the slow urban development in Hunters Hill. The first opinion was the lack of urban development in Hunters Hill was the belief that Hunters Hill was not pulling its weight in terms of urban development, and leaving other suburbs to deal with the increase in population. The second opinion was how through the preservation of Hunters Hill and the prevention of overdevelopment, the rich history and character behind Hunters Hill could be displayed. At the end of my senior geography report, I agree with the second opinion in the slow urban development in Hunters Hill, as conservation laws allow us to preserve both past and present historical landmarks and nature. I have decided to take a more active role in Hunters Hill after researching the action taken in Kelly’s Bush, and have resolved to support campaigns to preserve Hunters Hill. I have also taken some interest in the endangered species of the Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest which is in Boronia Park Reserve, and have decided to join the bush care group that helps maintain the area as well as raise awareness on the endangered species. I have also decided to be more mindful of some rules that apply to parks and reserves that I may go to, and keep in mind that they reflect the historical significance of nature in Hunters Hill.


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