Frensham Controversial Bush Cabins

Case in Land and Environment Court relisted for March 2022
Artist : Harold Cazneaux (New Zealand; Australia, b.1878, d.1953)

How do we talk about Frensham?

Watching Frensham School for girls tear itself apart over the controversial bush cabin development application involving destruction of 249 trees, platypus inhabited creek banks and a long established wildlife colony within the school bushland is absolutely heart-wrenching.  

A unique institution with an history dating back to 1913 has lost much by this proposed act that will change its natural landscape forever; it is time for them to reconsider the location so others can cherish this undisturbed  area too!

This is koala country and there are giant gliders, possums galore, microbats, raptors and more, together with rescued wombats nurtured by the students. 

What in the world is going on at Frensham?  The school seems like an unlikely place for this to happen.  They are trying to  pedal the idea that it’s not a big deal by claiming a small disturbance to a big area.  However, this is not slipping by unchallenged.   The firestorm brewing amongst ex students of the school together with the local Southern Highlands community is evidence the opposition to what is clearly a U-turn away from the schools founding philosophy. 

Frensham’s feminist founders Winifred West and Phyllis Clubbe, were progressive educators in their time and evidence lingers to support this claim.   Rather than clothing their students in a uniform designed as a symbol of prestige, discipline and conformity, these women choose to dress students to honour a commitment to the earth.  Brown is the dominant colour of the uniform; brown, that honest and unglamorous colour, the colour of the soil.  Every day, in their earth- coloured tunics, Frensham’s students actually wear their founders’ commitment to stewardship of the land.

There is much evidence to support this claim that the school is firmly rooted in the natural world.  Writings and art works created by generations of students, staff and visiting artists repeatedly pay homage to nature as a source of inspiration.  A first The Holt was an area used for recreation and the joy of being in nature, but in more recent times, it has been used as an area for students to study the natural world.

Whatever sort of lesson are present day students at Frensham learning when their elders see it as good enough to use wild animals and their bushland home for science projects, marketing opportunities and recreation, and then, when the school feels the need for extra building space, put bulldozers through that very place?

Surely the activity proposed by Frensham raises a question of moral responsibility.

There is still time to speak out against this development – Read how