Ku-ring-gai is situated on the North Shore of Sydney. It encompasses the suburbs of Roseville, Lindfield, Killara, Gordon, Pymble, Turramurra, Warrawee and Wahroonga, straddling the ridge that carries the railway from North Sydney to Hornsby; and St Ives, straddling Mona Vale Road as it heads towards the coast.
The area receives high rainfall, and its slopes fall steeply towards national parks on three sides – Lane Cove, Garigal and Ku-ring-gai Chase. Other natural features of Ku-ring-gai are its tree canopy (including important remnant Blue Gum High Forest), its wild life, its watercourses and its readily erodible soils. More>>
Ku-ring-gai’s built heritage features some of the best in NSW – twenty-seven precincts were recommended by the National Trust in 1997 as Urban Conservation Areas. They include not only fine examples of Federation and Inter-war architecture, but many of these precincts display an overall quality and consistency that mark them out as being of State and National heritage significance. More>>
Over the years a range of expert and distinguished Australians have recorded their views of the importance of Ku-ring-gai’s natural and built heritage, at both State and National level. We’ve gathered together some of those in our list of Notable Quotes for Ku-ring-gai.
We are a community group manned completely by volunteers. Our membership fees have not increased since our inception in 1994 when we opposed the overdevelopments starting to spring up in Ku-ring-gai. In order to continue our work, we are more than ever most appreciative of, and indeed dependent on, membership fees and donations accompanying your renewals.
FOKE was established in 1994 by a group of Ku-ring-gai residents with like concerns about threats to the natural and built environment of Ku-ring-gai. FOKE is operated completely by volunteers and has always been dependent on membership fees and donations to execute its work, only occasionally supplemented by grants.
Progress of FOKE
Whilst initially responding to core concerns raised by Ku-ring-gai residents about inappropriate development in Ku-ring-gai, FOKE’s focus quickly expanded to promote and defend the cultural and natural heritage of Ku-ring-gai. FOKE took a keen interest in the findings of The National Trust of Australia (NSW) Interwar Housing Study 1996-7, which identified 28 areas in Ku-ring-gai as being of sufficient integrity and significance to be designated as National Trust Urban Conservation Areas (UCAs).
The national significance and increasing vulnerability of Ku-ring-gai’s National Trust UCAs were further underscored in 2007 when The National Trust of Australia (NSW) nominated Ku-ring-gai’s Urban Conservation Areas within the Context of the Original Blue Gum High Forest for inclusion on the list of the ‘Top Ten Heritage @ Risk Places in Australia’.
FOKE operates to preserve the unique character and environment of Ku-ring-gai for future generations, whilst recognising the ongoing need to provide housing choices. One of FOKE’s stated objectives is “to work for the maintenance of Ku-ring-gai’s heritage and the enhancement of the existing traditional character and amenity of its environment, both built and natural” .
In recognising the national significance of Ku-ring-gai’s built and natural heritage, FOKE’s mission has always been to protect, enhance and preserve the amenity and environment of Ku-ring-gai. In recent years, the area’s nationally-significant natural environment and built heritage has been facing sharply escalating threats and losses due to the changing planning and environment policies of state and local governments.
At Foke’s 2020 AGM, held on the 16 September, FOKE’s new constitution was unanimously approved. To see the new constitution, click here FOKE Constitution
Over the past 2-3 years some of our achievements have been:
- Halting the NSW Government’s plan to amalgamate Ku-ring-gai and Hornsby Councils, working with Ku-ring-gai Council and Save our Councils, a coalition of affected Council areas.
- Saving a number of significant heritage buildings from demolition, working with concerned residents.
- Halted the removal of Professor Waterhouse’s heritage camellia hedge at listed Gordon Railway Station, with the replanting of the saved camellias by StateRail.
- Defeat NSW government Planning Bills in 2013 through the affiliation with Better Planning Network (an affiliation of over 470 community groups across NSW)
- Successfully raised and had amendments made to Ku-ring-gai Council’s Land Divestment and Acquisition Strategy
- Successful nominations to Council to approve the naming of two areas after notable Ku-ring-gai residents: Charles E W Bean War Historian Sportsfield UTS Campus Lindfield and Blair Wark DSO VC Community Centre.
- Successful Ku-ring-gai Council Environmental Levy Grant for $1300 for the design and purchase of two educational signs for the Sheldon Forest walking path
- The gazettal of a Ku-ring-gai Heritage and Biodiversity Local Environmental Plan thus protecting areas of cultural and environmental significance not previously protected
- Supporting the successful community forum in conjunction with the Nature Conservation Council (NCC) , National Park’s Association and STEP Inc – Our Land Our Water Our Future Forum, Turramurra – highlighting the detrimental impacts mining is having on Sydney’s water supplies.
FOKE has always assisted residents and groups aiming to preserve the character of Ku-ring-gai or the amenity for its residents. Aside from many individual residents we have assisted the specific issue groups such as CARPARK (Citizens Against Reduced Parking at Railway Killara), Save Gordon Golf Course, Gilda Road Residents’ Group, Better Planning Network, Friends of Lindfield, and Our Land Our Water Our Future (Nature Conservation Council)