History of the ELZ

The Early Sixties
The Bend of Islands had already been sub-divided, in many cases into unsuitably small lots. Mostly weekenders with a small number of permanent dwellings. The entire area was burned out in 1962 and most houses destroyed.

Mid Sixties
A new interest in the area was aroused when artist and naturalist Neil Douglas purchased his property. A number of properties were bought by people who were attracted to the area by its environmental and aesthetic qualities.

Neil Douglas, whose ideas on residential conservation gave rise to the ELZ

Neil Douglas, whose ideas on residential conservation gave rise to the ELZ

1968 – 1969
Residents were concerned when the fire protection authorities demanded that landowners bulldoze their blocks for fire safety. The Bend of Islands Conservation Association (BICA) was formed and its Committee worked with the Shire of Healesville and the CFA to establish fire prevention measures acceptable to all. Resident awareness regarding both fire safety and wildlife management developed.

Late Sixties
The MMBW proposed the Yarra Brae Dam and began compulsorily purchasing properties in the Bend of Islands. BICA became involved in anti-dam activity. The community realized that to successfully oppose the dam they must convince authorities of positive environmental qualities of the area.

Early Seventies
The Yarra Brae Action Committee was formed in 1972 with wide community representation including BICA. Residential conservation ideas were formulated. A booklet “Residential Conservation” was published in 1975 under the auspices of the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF)

April 1974
MMBW published an Environmental Impact Study on the proposed Yarra Brae, Sugarloaf and Watsons Creek dams to which the public was invited to make submissions. BICA made a large input to this.

Later 1974
The proposed Yarra Brae dam was dropped.

October 1976
Public meeting held in Kangaroo Ground. Residents and landowners voted in favour of a new zoning to protect the Bend of Islands.

Late 1976
Proposals for “Environmental Living” incorporated into the Shire of Healesville’s Planning Scheme and Interim Development Order (IDO).

September 1982
Victorian Government Gazette proclaimed the Healesville IDO, incorporating the ELZ Provisions.

October 1982
Official Opening of the Environmental Living Zone. The ELZ was opened by the then Minister for Conservation Mr. Evan Walker when he cut a symbolic native floral ribbon placed across the Oxley Rd Bridge.

October 1996
The twentieth anniversary of the proclamation of the IDO which established the ELZ. Many of the people who were at the1982 celebration were there.

Late 1999
Nillumbik Shire Council approved the establishment of the Special Use Zone 2 (SUZ 2) Bend of Islands/Environmental Living Zone in their planning scheme.