Green Bans Art Walk and Exhibition — 6 to 27 August 2011

Green Bans Art Walk and Exhibition
A collaborative project by The Cross Art Projects and BigFagPress
Green Bans Art Walks presented by Performance Space
Exhibitions curated by Jo Holder

6 to 27 August 2011
Green Bans Art Walk Exhibition in 2 Parts: The Cross Art Projects and The Firstdraft Depot Project Space, Sydney
Opening of Green Bans Exhibition Part 1 at The Cross Art Projects: by Jack Mundey with response by Peter McClelland, president CFMEU
Opening of Green Bans Exhibition Part 2 at The Firstdraft Depot Project Space: by Edmund Campion with response by Joe Owens, former BLF secretary

Exhibiting and contributing artists: Louise Kate Anderson, Pat Armstrong, Michelle Blakeney, Diego Bonetto, Josie Cavallero and Anne Kay, Michael Davies, Emma Elder, Pat Fiske, Mini Graff, Margaret Grafton, Jo Holder, Lucas Ihlein, Fiona MacDonald, Marion Marrison, Mickie Quick, Joe Szabo and more.

Walk speakers: Wendy Bacon, Meredith Burgmann, Christopher Dean, Michael Davies, Jim Donovan, Michael Dysart, Joe Owens, Stacey Miers, Merilyn Fairskye, Ian Milliss and more.

Sat 20 August, 2.30pm: Talk by Meredith Burgmann, co-author of 'Green Bans, Red Union', at The Cross Art Projects.
Sat 27 August, 3pm: Talk by Catriona Moore on 'Art and the Expanded Social Field' at The Cross Art Projects.

Green Bans Film Night: 27 August at Police Citizens Boys Club, Woolloomooloo (PCYC) with speakers Pat Fiske with Jack Mundey and Jim Donovan.

WALK Season: Sorry, all 5 walks booked out.

Green Bans archive and self-guided walks: More information and map download here at
The Mundeys and the Pringles and the Owens and the rank-and-file have effected one of those rare shifts in public thinking that occurs only a few times in a lifetime. Maybe they were mad hatters and larrikins — a true Australian tradition — but, by God, there’s many a Sydney resident who will remember them with love.
Marion Hardman (Marrison) and Peter Manning, 'Green Bans. The Story of an Australian Phenomenon', Australian Conservation Foundation, 1975.
On the fortieth anniversary of the Green Bans, Green Bans Art Walk captures the ideals and struggle to protect the character of the inner-city areas of Woolloomooloo, Darlinghurst and Kings Cross. These were the most brutal of the Green Ban struggles.

For four years Green Bans, a concept invented by the NSW Builders Labourers Federation, inspired a nation and the world. From 1971 to 1974, thousands of builders labourers voted on over 50 requests for bans from resident groups, the National Trust and/or the Institute of Architects. Others followed around Australia. They voted for a big picture: to keep urban low-cost housing and to protect the environment and heritage.

In Victoria Street after a brutal struggle, low-cost housing was lost with some heritage gain. Juanita Nielsen was murdered in mid-1975 and Mick Fowler, the other key leader, died an untimely death.

In Woolloomooloo the Labor Party promised to ‘Save the "Loo"’ and won Federal government in December 1972. This led to a visionary medium density workers’ housing project embracing renewal and new designs.

Having a say in the city of the future created a planning system revolution, then changed institutions and laws. These set standards around the world. The state BLF leadership paid dearly. The union was de-registered and the leadership denied the right to work in their industry.

Green Bans Art Walk revives the old walkways across Woolloomooloo basin accessed from stairs in Victoria Street on the escarpment. The Walk symbolically reunifies a beautiful area disconnected by rail and freeway structures, ugly site consolidations and looming high-rise.

Green Bans Art Walk opens up this crucial part of Sydney’s history for a new generation.

We propose ongoing walking routes, new signage and lighting, restoring existing and adding new Green Plaques, restoring and adding new artworks (perhaps a statue to Jack Mundey) and a ‘linear park’ to create a peoples' museum emphasising the area’s residential character. Designation as a special area ensures that the planning system protects significance and character and this is passed on to future generations. We hope to help put low-cost urban housing back on top of the action list.

Each walk seeks your ideas and responses.

Thanks: The project is part of Performance Space’s WALK, a season of walks, promenades, marches and strolls in and around Sydney taking place throughout 2011. XAP and BFP thank all the contributors and speakers, Green Banners past and present, The Firstdraft Depot Project Space, City of Sydney and the CFMEU (former BLF).
Fiona MacDonald, 'Woolloomooloo: Tom Uren, John Mulvenna, Joe Owens, Bob Pringle, Gerry Leonard, Mick Fowler, Nellie Leonard, 1975; Wall painting 19 Harmer St W’loo, 1974', 2011. Big Fag Press.
Fiona MacDonald, 'Victoria St: Mick Fowler’s Jazz Funeral, 1979; Eviction of 115 Victoria St, 1974', 2011. Big Fag Press.
Marion Marrison, 'Rear of Victoria St from Rowena Place', 1975. Silver gelatin print.
Marion Marrison, 'Mick Fowler', 1975. Mick joined the movement in April 1973. Silver gelatin print.
Marion Marrison, 'Stephen St', 1975. Looking towards Brougham St from Forbes St. Silver gelatin print.
Fiona MacDonald, 'Tribune, 29 August 1972', 2011. 86 x 50 cm
Fiona MacDonald, 'Tom Uren and Jack Mundey’s Green Bans Phone Tree', 2011. 86 x 50 cm
Fiona MacDonald, ‘Where the green bans were' and Jack Mundey (from Tribune), 2011. 86 x 50 cm
Fiona MacDonald, 'The Tree of Knowledge', 2011. 86 x 50 cm
Green Ban Archive 1971-1974: Jack Mundey's Phone Tree, 1973. Courtesy Trades Hall Association.
'Action Group Turns to Art', SMH, 1973 (nd). Courtesy Joe Owens deposit, Noel Butlin Archive, ANU.
'Why Green Bans', Builders Labourers Federation, 1973, authorised by Bob Pringle.
Save the Loo, Poster
Jo Holder and Fiona MacDonald, Green Ban Archive, 1971-1974. Installation view (detail), 2011
1974 Wall: Marian Marrison, from Marion Hardman (Marrison) and Peter Manning, Green Bans. The Story of an Australian Phenomenon, 1975. Silver gelatin prints. The Firstdraft Depot Project Space.
Living Archive: Trial Walks. Photos by Jo Holder, Sung Pak, Jo Shi. Local guides: Michelle Blakeney, Stacey Miers, Jack Mundey, Jim Donovan. Installation, 2011 Wall.
Mickie Quick, Woolloomooloo Map, floor work, 2011. The Firstdraft Depot Project Space.
Margel Hinder, ‘Aphrodite’, bronze sculpture with fountain, 1981.

Opening of Denis Winston Place, Woolloomooloo by Sir Hermann David Black for Housing Commission of NSW and the Denis Winston Memorial C'tee of the Planning Research Centre, University of Sydney, October 1981.
Green Bans Art Walk Exhibition, part 2. Fiona MacDonald 'Hands Off', window work, 2011. View at The Cross Art Projects.
Art in the Expanded Field - 27 August 2011 by The Cross Art Projects on Mixcloud
Opening, installation view
Fiona MacDonald, Hands Off, stencil, 2011.
Opening Green Bans Art Walk; Jack Mundey, Jo Holder, Mickie Quick, XAP 6 August 2011.
Peter McClelland, president CFMEU (Construction) and Jack Mundey former secretary, BLF, opening Green Bans Art Walk and Exhibition, 6 August 2011.
Green Bans Art Walks, Documentary Film by Justin Hewitson, 2011


Big Fag Press:
CFMEU Poster for 40th Anniversary of Green Bans: Download pdf
Art Monthly, Shoot for the head, Ian Millis 2012: Download pdf
Green Bans City News, August 2011: Download pdf


On the 50th anniversary of the Green Bans, the ideals of their struggle to protect heritage and environmental amenity for all to enjoy are more urgent than ever. In 2011 the Green Bans Art Walk and Exhibition (in two parts at The Cross Art Projects and The Firstdraft Depot Project Space), told the story of an inspired period, its charismatic leaders and grass-roots heroes. The project comprised a series of public guided walks between the exhibition venues functioned as a living instruction manual and moral compass charting stories of good and evil, creativity and conflict. Read more


The Powerhouse Museum Alliance is a group of concerned citizens working to save the Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo. The Alliance includes longstanding benefactors of the museum, former trustees, design and heritage experts and senior museum professionals. Read more