Monday, October 7th, 2019 - Individual Citizens

MEDIA RELEASE by MARGARET KITSON (02) 9498 7608    Mobile: 0428 860 623   [email protected]   7 October, 2019




Stead Foundation members Margaret Kitson and her daughter, Janine Kitson are calling on government authorities to urgently intervene to stop the National Trust (NSW) from evicting the David G. Stead Memorial Wild Life Research Foundation of Australia (Stead Foundation) from the National Trust (NSW) property ‘Wirrimbirra Sanctuary’, 3105 Remembrance Drive, Bargo, NSW, 2574, on Friday 11 October, 2019.


“This eviction threatens both the existence of the Stead Foundation and Wirrimbirra itself,” said Margaret Kitson a Stead Foundation member and former Stead Foundation president.


“Without the Stead Foundation, Wirrimbirra Sanctuary ceases to exist, as the Stead Foundation owns the trading name ‘Wirrimbirra Sanctuary’”. 


“The eviction may even destroy Wirrimbirra Sanctuary’s State Heritage Statement of Significance for its “role in the development of the conservation movement in NSW; its association with key persons who pioneered the conservation debate”.  The Stead Foundation and Wirrimbirra are intertwined memorials to two of Australia’s greatest environmental pioneers David G. Stead (1877-1957), and Thistle Y. Harris Stead (1902-1990)”.


Janine Kitson, a former National Trust Director, said “The Stead Foundation is one of the National Trust (NSW)’s most significant donors.  It was the Stead Foundation who gifted the land at Wirrimbirra Sanctuary to the National Trust in 1965. They did so in ‘an act of trust’ believing that the National Trust would protect Wirrimbirra Sanctuary for perpetuity.  They did this on the understanding that the Stead Foundation would manage, finance and build Wirrimbirra Sanctuary. And indeed, since 1965 the Stead Foundation have managed, fundraised for Wirrimbirra buildings, accommodation huts, visitors centre, native nursery, library as well as dams, gardens and memorials”.


“The National Trust (NSW) has pursued a long and systematic culture of intimidation and harassment towards the Stead Foundation, one of Australia’s oldest volunteer environment organisations in Australia.  It has failed the National Trust 1990 Act ‘to co-operate with any corporation, body or society, either within or outside New South Wales, having objects wholly or substantially similar to the objects of the Trust, in promoting the objects of such corporation, body or society or the Trust’.”

“By failing to co-operate with the Stead Foundation, for over a decade, the National Trust has undermined the Stead Foundation in fulfilling its conservation and education goals”, continued Janine Kitson.


“In 1990 the National Trust went against Thistle Y. Harris Stead’s “express wish” that her $1.2 million bequest left to the National Trust be used for Wirrimbirra.  Instead the National Trust used it to get themselves out of bankruptcy.  In 2019 the National Trust holds bequests of nearly $400,000 for Wirrimbirra Sanctuary with no indication of what will happen to them when the Stead Foundation is evicted from the property.  Nor is there any transparency on who will take over the management of the property,” said Margaret Kitson.



Stephen Fitzpatrick, “The man who loved children stirring division 60 years on”, The Australian, 27 May, 2013  read:


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Margaret Kitson and Janine Kitson are former presidents of the Stead Foundation and have been actively involved in campaigning to protect the Wirrimbirra Flora and Fauna Sanctury at Bargo for the last 10 years. maagement for the last 10 years.  



Janine Kitson
P: 02 9498 7608
M: 0428860623


National Trust's eviction of the Stead Foundation's 56 years of management of Wirrimbirra Flora and Fauna Sanctuary risks reputational damage to National Trust (NSW)


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