Tomaree Lodge retained for community use

Students and teachers from St Philip’s have been engaged in consultation with the Tomaree Headland Heritage Group in relation to the future of the site.

AFTER years of uncertainty the NSW Government has re-affirmed its commitment to retain the Tomaree Lodge site at Port Stephens for community use following a judgment in the Land and Environment Court of NSW.

Minister for Families and Communities and Minister for Disability Services Natasha Maclaren-Jones said that community consultation, which will commence at the end of October, is vital to deciding the best future use of the site.

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“The NSW Government recognises the importance of Tomaree Lodge to the Port Stephens community, and we are immediately looking to plan the future of the site with a focus on the needs of the local community,” Mrs Maclaren-Jones said.

“From the end of October we will be consulting with the community and interested parties including Port Stephens Council, Worimi Aboriginal Land Council, and local community groups about how best to repurpose Tomaree Lodge for community use.”

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Taylor Martin is encouraging members of the community to have their say.

“The Port Stephens community is passionate about the future of Tomaree Lodge, and I’m looking forward to hearing more from the community about how this historic and iconic site can be repurposed,” Mr Martin said.

The site of the former large residential centre for people with disabilities was subject to a land claim by the Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council.

A judgment handed down in the Land and Environment Court of NSW on Wednesday, 19 October ruled that the site be retained by the Minister.

The NSW Government remains committed to allowing locals to decide how Tomaree Lodge is best used for their community.

The Tomaree Headland Heritage Group has long been advocating for the site to be developed as a tourism and education hub.

The site is adjacent to the Tomaree National Park and is listed on the State Heritage Register as a physical demonstration of Port Stephen’s important contribution to WWII, originally developed as a military base by the joint Australian Army-United States Navy defence venture in March 1942.

This register notes the site is ‘rare as one of the few surviving, relatively intact Army Garrison Camps dating from the Second World War in NSW’.

Peter Clough of the Tomaree Heritage Group Told News Of The Area, “We have recently developed a set of Strategic Concept Plans prepared by Sydney based Landscape Architects which will be made public in the very near future and these are designed to whet the appetite of the authorities and the community.

“This site now has the potential to have community stewardship which supports recognition that the Port Stephens people have a sense of custodial responsibility,” he said.

The group has recently engaged local school students from St Philip’s Christian College in conversations to ascertain the perspective that youth have for the future of the site.

Community consultation will run for 60 days from the end of October.

The community will be able to have their say at


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