Draft:Caloola Club

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Badge of the Caloola Club [1].

The Caloola Club was a bushwalking and outdoors activity club that was based in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, founded in 1945 and active until 1963 when it merged with the National Parks Association of N.S.W.

The club was an influential part of the 'second wave' of the conservation and environmental movement in New South Wales during the post-WWII period.

Foundation and early days[edit]

The Caloola Club was founded by Allen Axel Strom and Allan M. Fox - two visionary conservationists - in 1945.

It drew a large part of its membership from students and former students of the Balmain Teachers’ College—where Strom lectured[2] —and the Sydney Technical College. By 1954, the club had over 300 members,[3] The clubrooms were at 31 Byron Street, Croydon, a suburb of Sydney.[1]

A distinctive feature of the club was that it had a strong educative emphasis.[4] The journal of the club described its aims - in 1955 - as follows:[1]

"The Caloola Club is an Expedition Society founded to inculcate a love of natural wildernesses, to encourage an appreciation of Conservation and Nature Protection and to widen the knowledge of the Australian Scene. We seek enjoyment in landscape and natural bushlands and are interested in the history, natural history and geography of our country. All our activities are a means of arousing interest in conservational matters … camping, bushwalking, nature excursion, canoeing, photography, cycling, touring by motor, discussion and lecture … all are aimed at bringing us closer to the bushlands, the rural countryside and Man’s use of the National Heritage."

Members of the club canoed 400 miles of the Murray River from Towong to Corowa in January 1950.[5]

Using an old truck, driven by member A.W. (Bill) Dingeldei, members of the club travelled across the state and sometimes interstate,[3] at the same time identifying areas of land, sites, and animal species that were in need of protection.[6]

Influence on NSW conservation policy[edit]

As a result of the growing awareness of wildlife conservation and its inherent connection to habitat protection, New South Wales introduced legislation, the Fauna Protection Act 1948 that allowed the declaration of 'faunal reserves', set up the Fauna Protection Panel to advise the minister [7], and for the first time regulated activities such as kangaroo hunting.[8]

The Caloola Club's founder Alan Strom was a member of the NSW Fauna Protection Panel from 1949. Another member of the Caloola Club, Fred Hersey, became its first field officer with a role of managing conservation of fauna in 1954.[8]

Perhaps due to its close association with the Fauna Protection Panel, the club had a significant positive influence on conservation policy in the 1950s. It was heavily engaged in efforts to expand the areas of New South Wales that were protected as National Parks.

In the early 1950s, the Caloola Club was one of the first organisations to advocate creation of a fauna reserve covering the Myall Lakes.[9]In 1954, the Warrumbungle National Park was created after "many years' of agitation" [10]by the National Parks and Primitive Areas Council (Myles Dunphy), Coonabarabran Shire Council, the Bushwalkers' Federation, Wild Life Preservation Society, and the Caloola Club.[10][11] Also in 1954, the Caloola Club made a submission to the Chief Guardian of Fauna in NSW calling for the declaration of the Nadgee Faunal Reserve—one of the last pristine wilderness areas on the N.S.W. coast—which occurred in 1957.[12][13][14]

The club built a log cabin[15]—completed in 1952, and named the Dingeldei Hut after a member—on private land (Tongarra Farm) in the locality of Tongarra, south of the Macquarie Pass.[16] The hut was used as a base for walks. In the same area, a foot track pass through the coastal escarpment is named the Caloola Pass. The club had a strong association with this area and the nearby Barren Grounds. Largely due to the efforts of the club, its founder Alan Strom, and two other leading activists of NSW conservation—Myles Dunphy and Paddy Palin—the Barren Grounds Faunal Reserve was declared in 1956.[17] Another area with a strong association with the Caloola Club—and other bushwalking clubs—is the Bouddi National Park,[18]; Caloola Club members were at times trustees of that park.[19]

The Caloola Club became a focus for efforts to establish a branch of the NSW Public Service, which would administer these parks and protect the flora and fauna of the state. Other conservationists, such as Myles Dunphy and his National Parks and Primitive Areas Council, had similar objectives. In 1955, the Caloola Club, set out their options for the formulation of a 'national parks act',[20] which would create a National Park Service to administer the state's national parks, and appoint national park boards to individual parks. The main objectives driving this approach were to achieve longer-term security for national parks and to ensure professional and expert management of the land within those parks.[21]


The Caloola Club merged in 1963,[18] with the National Parks Association of New South Wales, which had been formed in 1958.[16] The NPA has a vision[22] very similar to the aims of the Caloola Club and continues its legacy today, both in conservation activism[23]and as a bushwalking club.[24]

An Act of the NSW Parliament—NSW National Parks and Wildlife Act 1967—incorporating the National Parks and Wildlife Service, was proclaimed on 1st October, 1967. This new arm of the NSW Public Service took over and merged the functions of the Fauna Protection Panel and the Reserves Branch of the Lands Department.[25] Although the Caloola Club had ceased to exist as a separate entity by then, the Minister for Lands, Tom Lewis—speaking in the second reading speech for the Bill—said of the organisations consulted on the matter that, "Some of these, including the Caloola Club and the Sydney Bush Walkers, have done much to foster the objects of the Bill."[26] This recognised the many years of advocacy by the Caloola Club—and many others—for a National Parks Act, and a permanent National Parks and Wildlife Service for NSW.

Alan Strom had been appointed Chief Guardian of Fauna in NSW in 1958. However, once the long-term aim—the setting up the National Parks and Wildlife Service as a permanent branch of the NSW Public Service—finally was achieved in 1967, Strom was not appointed to lead the new organisation.[27] Nonetheless, other members of the former Caloola Club, such as Allan Fox[28] and Fred Hersey, took up positions in the newly-created service and were influential in its early years. The scope of protected lands was subsequently expanded by the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

A number of parks in N.S.W. were declared after advocacy made, during the 1950s, by the Caloola Club and like-minded organisations; these parks include the Myall Lakes National Park,[9] the Warrumbungle National Park,[10][11] the Nadgee Faunal Reserve,[12][13][14] and the Barren Grounds Nature Reserve.[17]

Other legacies of the Caloola Club are less tangible; many of its members were school teachers[4] and others in a position to spread knowledge and awareness of the natural world to the next generation. The club contributed to the growth of an awareness of the the natural world, the need for nature conservation, and for park management methods based on a scientific approach to conservation.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "The Caloola Club". Yarrawonda. Number 10, First Decade Edition: 3. 1955.
  2. ^ "Allen Strom". Balmain Teachers College, Remembered. Retrieved 2019-03-11.
  3. ^ a b "Touring Club Visit". Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954). 1954-09-03. p. 2. Retrieved 2019-03-12.
  4. ^ a b Fox, Allan M. (December 1975). "THE WARRUMBUNGLE MOUNTAINS - A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE" (PDF). Australian Natural History. 18 Number 8: 298.
  5. ^ "400 MILE CANOE TRIP DOWN MURRAY RIVER". Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate (NSW : 1894 - 1954). 1950-01-17. p. 1. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  6. ^ "MEMBERS OF FAUNA PROTECTION PANEL VISIT LEETON". Murrumbidgee Irrigator (Leeton, NSW : 1915 - 1954). 1954-08-24. p. 4. Retrieved 2019-03-12.
  7. ^ Parliament of New South Wales. "Fauna Protection Act 1948" (PDF).
  8. ^ a b Lunney, Daniel (2010–2011). "A history of the debate (1948-2009) on the commercial harvesting of kangaroos, with particular reference to New South Wales and the role of Gordon Grigg 1". Australian Zoologist. 35 (2): 383–430. doi:10.7882/AZ.2010.027. ISSN 0067-2238.
  9. ^ a b Hutton, Drew (1999). A history of the Australian environment movement. Connors, Libby, 1960-. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 113. ISBN 0521450764. OCLC 40105688.
  10. ^ a b c "NATIONAL PARK IN NORTHERN INLAND". Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954). 1954-08-07. p. 7. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
  11. ^ a b Prineas, Peter (1997). Wild places : wilderness in Eastern New South Wales. Gold, Henry; Colong Foundation (2nd, rev ed.). Sydney: Colong Foundation for Wilderness. p. 177. ISBN 0858811588. OCLC 222696697.
  12. ^ a b Prineas, Peter (1997). Wild Places: Wilderness in Eastern New South Wales. Colong Foundation for Wilderness. p. 116. ISBN 0858811588.
  13. ^ a b "Nadgee". www.colongwilderness.org.au. Retrieved 2019-03-11.
  14. ^ a b Kitson, Janine (Spring 2015). "Allen Strom: An extraordinary chief guardian of fauna". Nature New South Wales. 59, No. 3: 22–23 – via informit.
  15. ^ "Tongarra log cabin". Trove. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
  16. ^ a b Robertson Environmental Protection Society (August 2009). "NPA Special Event—Dingeldei Hut Revisited" (PDF). Eucryphia. No. 103: 8.
  17. ^ a b "Barren Grounds Nature Reserve". NSW National Parks. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
  18. ^ a b "Your NPA - Article "Beryl Strom – a Profile"". dazed.org. Retrieved 2019-03-12.
  19. ^ "Bouddi Ridge and Coastal Walk walking track". wildwalks.com. Retrieved 2019-03-13.
  20. ^ "195508 [SBW Magazine Project]". sbw.ozultimate.com. Retrieved 2019-06-30.
  21. ^ Graham Brooks and Associates; Ian Perking; Mary Dallas; Spackman and Mossop; Dana Mider (25 July 2005). "Conservation Management Plan - Royal National Park Coastal Cabins Areas" (PDF). p. 35.
  22. ^ "Our Goals". National Parks Association of NSW. 2016-10-13. Retrieved 2019-06-30.
  23. ^ "Statewide and Other Campaigns". National Parks Association of NSW. 2017-03-16. Retrieved 2019-03-13.
  24. ^ "Bushwalking Program". National Parks Association of NSW. 2016-09-13. Retrieved 2019-03-13.
  25. ^ Parliament of New South Wales. "National Parks and Wildlife Act" (PDF).
  26. ^ Sydney Bushwalker's Club (1987). "The First Sixty Years" (PDF). p. 57. ISBN 0 7316 05152.
  27. ^ "NPA Bulletin, Vol. 34, No.2" (PDF). National Parks Association (New South Wales). June 1997. p. 15.
  28. ^ "'Kakadu Man' author dies". Radio National. 2013-11-27. Retrieved 2019-03-13.

External links[edit]