A unique deal between Recherche Bay landowners, David and Rob Vernon, the State Government and entrepreneur, Dick Smith, has been agreed and the land will now ‘never be logged’. Environmental and local groups have been looking for such a solution since 2002 when logging approval was first announced.
Premier Paul Lennon has said his Government recognises that the community wants a balance between sustainable development and protecting natural and historical heritage and Hobart’s Mercury newspaper commented “Mr Lennon has undermined Australian Greens leader Bob Brown who was working to save the site and is likely to win over voters who might have supported the Greens over Recherche Bay”.
Beuatiful and remote, Recherche Bay is an area of environmental importance, but also of enormous historical and cultural importance for Australia and France. French scientists and explorers landed at Recherche Bay in 1792. The French scientists were astounded by the new and varied flora and fauna they discovered. They set up camp and went to work documenting all they discovered. Today specimens they gathered can be found at the Natural History Museum in Paris.
The French explorers built up a relationship with the local Indigenous people, and the expedition’s journals are amongst the best accounts of pre-colonisation Aboriginal society. Archaeological remnants of this voyage can be found today at several sites around the bay.
The Vernons, whose family has owned the land for decades, have agreed to sell the 142 hectare property to the Tasmanian Land Conservancy group for $2.21 million. The Tasmanian State Government will contribute $210,000 to help pay for the land, as well as another $80,000 in stamp duty. The remaining $2 million will be paid by Australian entrepreneur and committed environmentalist, Dick Smith, who anchored his boat in Recherche Bay last summer. He says “Iam not a rabid anti-logger and I understand that Tasmanians need to be employed….but this is an exceptional area of Tasmania, and of Australia, that must be saved”.