Save The Bay


Catherine Hill Bay faced massive development threats from two large developers, Rose group (who became Coastal Hamlets) and Coal & Allied (a subsidiary of Rio Tinto, who later sold the land to Wallalong Land Holdings) from the early 2000’s.

The story of these two developments is detailed in their own pages.

Why we wanted to save our heritage

Catherine Hill Bay is a heritage village of about 100 mainly small miners’ cottages, whose scale, character and appearance is much as it was in the 1890s and early 1900s. soon after coal mining was established.

The development proposals considered in 2006 by the State Minister for Planning, Mr Sartor:

  • 600 houses and 150 tourist beds at the southern end of Catherine Hill Bay, intruding onto the headland and into the heritage village (the RoseCorp proposal)
  • 300 houses at the northern end of the Bay, in the vicinity of Middle Camp about 1 km north.

The heritage village would be hemmed in between two new developments which would increase the size by 10 times. These new developments would be totally car dependent as there is a lack of public transport options.

Despite their combined impact on the community, the Government treated these as separate projects, with about eight months between publication of the two concept plans.

What we thought was reasonable

Progress Association’s Policy Position 24th Sept 06 – Amended 24th February 2008

POLICY POSITION – Catherine Hill Bay Progress Association ( 24 September 2006 ; amended 24 th February 2008 ).

  • This Catherine Hill Bay community meeting supports the intention of government to create a National Park on the Wallarah Peninsula comprising areas in each of the large land holdings held by Coal and Allied and Rose group.
  • The community acknowledges that such an outcome may involve some limited, sympathetic development, as per the Lake Macquarie Council Heritage and Conservation guidelines as they stand today. Any development is to be resolved through detailed planning and community consultation.
  • Careful location of any proposed development is crucial, and this meeting believes that any proposed development should be restricted to south of Montefiore St and at the western end of Colliery Road . The community’s support is conditional on separation of the development from the heritage village and conservation areas, and preparation of appropriate Conservation and Land Use Management Plans for the proposed development sites.
  • In this regard the community again notes and endorses the undertakings of the Minister for Planning, Mr Sartor, to appoint a community reference group and a design review panel (with professionally qualified nominated representatives of the Progress Association) to oversight development plans. The community notes and endorses the Minister’s confirmation that Catherine Hill Bay village and adjoining landscape, from coast to western ridges, will be given State Heritage listing.
  • We will continue to press forward and operate in good faith with Coal and Allied even though reports on community consultations as conducted by Coal & Allied at workshops, regional forum and charette process misrepresented community views and the results of these were misleading. The community expresses our disappointment that Rose group has made only minimal attempts to consult with the community.
  • Again the community asserts that the current negotiations to achieve the outcomes sought by Government and community should not be subverted, or corrupted, in a way that permits development similar to that which has been properly rejected by the local Councils and/or the Land and Environment Court .
  • At Catherine Hill Bay Rose group and Coal & Allied Pty Ltd have proposed development in the heritage village and Coastal Zone, similar to that rejected by Lake Macquarie City Council, the Court, and community. RoseCorp’s proposal for the Moonee Colliery site and Coal & Allied’s proposal for Middle Camp appear to be contrary to all relevant State planning policies.
  • The community believes that an ”historic opportunity” to provide an outstanding environmental and conservation outcome for the Lower Hunter will be lost if the Government permits development that is contrary to a raft of State regional and planning policies and is against the public interest.
  • The community is grateful for the widespread support it has received for its campaign to protect Catherine Hill Bay and acknowledges its role as caretaker of a place that is special to many thousands of people.

What We Thought was Reasonable

In early September Minister Sartor chaired a briefing at Catherine Hill Bay during which two large owners, Coal and Allied (a subsidiary of Rio Tinto) and RoseCorp, made over view presentations of their intentions (with no detail).

The briefing was attended by representatives of Lake Macquarie and Wyong councils, and representatives of the Catherine Hill Bay , Nords Wharf and Gwandalan communities.

On 24 September the Catherine Hill Bay community met to consider the issues and carried a resolution setting out the community’s views on what was reasonable development at the Bay, and how to go about it.

Neither the community nor Progress Association were opposed to appropriate development.

The resolution was conveyed to Government three weeks before the announcement of the Lower Hunter Regional Strategy.

State Planning Policies Subverted


Attached is the full article

“…the Planning Minister and Premier’s office appears to have misled the community about their intentions, indicating support for heritage protections but not delivering in the face of developer demands for development rights where none currently exist.

Not a pretty picture and not good news for public policy, or for good government or for fair dealing with the community. ”


In the following documents, obtained under FOI legislation, the Department of Planning ranked 91 possible sites in the Hunter in terms of suitability for development. Catherine Hill Bay was ranked the second least desirable location for development. In approving development in the Bay, Mr Sartor has ignored his own department’s advice, and pushed it to the top. (Click here to download all files)

(We gratefully acknowledge the Hunter Community Environment Centre as the organisation which lodged the FOI and provided this material)


Department of Planning Multi Criteria Analysis (MCA) for assessing potential development areas in the Hunter.


Department of Planning tables for each of the 91 areas. Note that Catherine Hill Bay is area RS253, and this area came in second last.


Department of Planning map showing the area numbers Map

Planning Chronology

A document summerising the chronology of planning protection from 1969 until 2010 was prepared for The Wallarah Peninsula Alliance, the Catherine Hill Bay Progress Association and Dune Care Inc.

This chronology is available for download as a PDF.

Planning Laws

A white paper called “A new planning system for NSW” was released (26/6/2013), and the Progress Association has responded.

The response that was submitted can be viewed here.

Rose group (formerly RoseCorp)

Rose group’s latest attempt to modify the development approval.

The developer Rose group has attempted to change the development approval:

  1. To revoke the ban on residents having cats and dogs. This was imposed to protect the fragile environment around Catherine Hill Bay.
  2. To subdivide the Wallarah precinct into two separate lots

Keep in mind that the months of work between the government departments is being paid for by taxpayer money, just so Rose can make even more money in his grand design to exploit the land as much as possible.

Relevant documents

Coal & Allied - Approved 12th July 2012

On the 12th July 2012, members of the Planning Assessment Commission, Garry Payne AM, Richard Thorp and Jan Murrell granted Concept Plan approval for the proposed residential development by Coal & Allied of the northern end of Catherine Hill Bay.

This approval will increase proposed new housing by a further 222 housing lots. Last year 550 new lots were approved for the Rose group development at the southern end of Catherine Hill Bay. Now housing at Catherine Hill Bay which currently consists of 100 houses has increased by 772. The small town of Catherine Hill Bay will increase from 100 houses to 872. The impacts will be enormous.

Well researched arguments, presented to the Panel, showed that the land on which new housing was proposed is environmentally sensitive and of great ecological significance. (Read for yourself in this presentation of the impacts of residential development in this area).

It was acknowledged by the panel that there are constraints on the building of new homes. Catherine Hill Bay, a former coal mining town, has been continuously mined for well over 100 years. Mine subsidence and pothole subsidence will add to the difficulty of building new houses in the Bay with underground grouting needing to be carried out in some areas.

Protecting the Wallarah peninsula booklet

A booklet titled “Protecting the Wallarah peninsula” was produced and is available to download.

Our Supporters


Protest rally at Catherine Hill Bay – Saturday 5th February 2011

Save Catho Rally

Protest rally Sydney – September 2009

Death of Democracy Rally

Protest rally Sydney – October 2008

Residents Against Inappropriate Development Rally

Protest rally Catho – February 2008

Help Save Catherine Hill Bay Rally

Protest rally Sydney – February 2007

Protest Rally to State Parliament House

Protest banners in Catherine Hill Bay


NSW Coastal Conference 2006

NSW Coastal Conference 2006 Presentation

All coastal communities face potentially dire consequences as the State Government changes established planning policies and processes to give development rights to coastal lands where no such rights exist under “the rules”.

The Wallarah Peninsula Alliance put the case for the coastal communities at the NSW Coastal Conference at Coffs Harbour on 7 November 2006.

Read the speech, and view the powerpoint presentation

Wallarah Peninsula Alliance

Wallarah Peninsula Alliance protest

The WPA protest letter is attached

The Jetty

State Heritage Register Nomination Form - 3rd August 2018

Attached is the nomination for the Heritage listing of the Catho jetty, put forward by Lake Macquarie City Council.

Rejection of Lake Coal proposal to demolish jetty – 8th January 2011

Attached is an objection letter to the proposal by Lake Coal to demolish the jetty at Catherine Hill Bay. You have until the end of January 2011 if you wish to lodge an objection.

Demolition of jetty a step closer – Herald – 2nd January 2011

Attached …The demise of the Catherine Hill Bay jetty has moved a step closer, with a plan lodged with authorities to demolish it.

Iconic sea jetty still plays important role – 2009

Article on CHB Jetty Chris Tola April 2009 NH