Pyrmont & Ultimo (North-Western Freeway)

Jack Mundey and the NSWBLF maintained a consistent stance against relentless expressway construction. The areas affected by such projected works were predominantly inner-city working-class residential areas where two-thirds of the adult population did not even own a car. In the early 1970s, the Department of Main Roads announced plans for the North-Western Freeway which was intended to link the Sydney CBD to its north-western suburbs, and ultimately the F3 Freeway to Newcastle. The monumental project threatened housing in Pyrmont, Ultimo, Glebe, Annandale, Rozelle, and Leichardt, where more than 2,500 people would have been displaced if the freeway were to go ahead.

Resistance took many forms, including squatting in houses threatened by DMR and demonstrations at demolition sites Two resident action groups instrumental in the fight against the Northwestern expressway were the Glebe Society and the Leichardt Anti-Expressway Council. It was at the behest of these groups that the BLF imposed a green ban on the project in 1972. Plans to recommence the project popped up over the following years but it was finally abandoned completely by the Wran Government in 1978. See also: North-West Expressway

Verity and Meredith Burgmann, Green bans, red union: the saving of a city, 1998; Lee Rhiannon, Green bans: inspirational activism, 2016; Anne Summers (et al.), The little green book: the facts on green bans, 1973.

Research by Isabella Maher


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