Newsletter – May 2024

Greetings Friends,

This monthly newsletter (No. 39) includes; community action, arrestees and fines, DHA is failing the Darwin community, where NT potential candidates stand on Lee Point, quiz, plants and wildlife.


1.0 Community action

Fig 1. Artwork by Therese Ritchie – this image is licensed by FLP under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 

The irresponsible clearing of Stage 2 and 3 in early May prompted a series of events. The largest one occurred at Lee Point/Binybara where a crowd of approx 250 people gathered for the Sunday morning 19 May event. Refer to latest POSTS for other events.

Fig 2. Crowd singing in front of Stage 2 cleared land – Photo Simone Martin 19 May 2024

Future events by Friends of Lee Point Inc. (FLP) include:

Sunday Nightcliff Markets 8am-1pm

Sunday Art (4.30pm) and Wilderness Walks (5pm) at Lee Point – Binybara Camp

Bowden’s Breakfast and Malak Markets are upcoming events

Check Friends of Lee Point Facebook for updates.


Arrestees and fines

There were 19 courageous Save Lee Point campaigners arrested for taking peaceful, non-violent, direct action at Stage 2. They were trying to stop the senseless destruction of old-growth forest at Lee Point. Some of them have been to court and the fines ranged from $150 to $2000.

Fig 3. World travellers and first-time arrestees Robert Harris and Mary-Ann Noble pleaded guilty to trespassing at Lee Point in early May 2024. Each received $150 fine with no criminal conviction.

Thank you so much to those who have donated to the Save Lee Point campaign over the last year. Please consider a donation, go to bottom of page  add the comment “legal costs” to help pay for fines.


2.0 Defence Housing Australia (DHA) is failing the Darwin community

Illegal clearing allegations

Works have been halted on Stage 2 and 3 while allegations of illegal clearing by DHA are being investigated by the NT Government. A formal complaint was lodged on the 16 May 2024 by FLP on behalf on the Lee Point community.

Fig 4. Stage 2 old-growth forest before it was cleared

The destruction of the old-growth forest at Lee Point by a government-owned housing developer has drawn international condemnation with veteran conservationist Dr Jane Goodall describing it “…as simply unacceptable”. Senator Sarah Hanson-Young described the clearing works as a “…Government-sanctioned extinction to the Australian Senate.

Old-growth trees are important for wildlife. Approximately 15-20% of old-growth trees have now been lost from the Lee Point peninsula.

Loss of old-growth forest and tree hollows

The DHA project will (if completed) clear over half the old-growth trees. Stage 2 and 3 contained ~70 old-gowth trees (10% of Lee Point). This is more than the number found in CCR from Darwin Hospital to Buffalo Creek.

Stage 2 was an important area because of its old-growth forest, tree hollows and being part of the Lee Point Corridor. Loss of habitat means loss of wildlife.

Note: In Darwin, medium size (5-10cm) tree hollows suitable for Gouldian Finches only start to be prevalent in savanna woodland trees with a trunk diameter of 35cm or greater, and are described here as “old-growth trees”. A 35cm diameter tree is approx 150-200 years old based on an average diameter growth rate of 0.2cm per year.


Erosion of Lee Point peninsula

Fig 5. Stage 2 & 3 (approx 18ha) were cleared or levelled with bulldozers and chains during 30 Apr-2 May 2024. The black dots represent the start of significant erosion gullies.

Fig 6. Gully No 1 with recent erosion – May 2024

Four large erosion gullies occur downstream of Stage 3 in the 2CRU offset area managed by DHA. The area is due to be transferred to the NT Government and added into Casaurina Coastal Reserve.

Lee Point Area Plan

Having DHA as a developer create an Area Plan for the whole of Lee Point but just focus on its Lee Point housing project is a clear conflict of interest. FLP and others believe the NT Planning Minister should place a moratorium on the Lee Point project.

Affordable housing

Darwin has an affordable housing crisis. REINT (NT’s peak housing body) recently said to the ABC “Nobody’s going to stay here if rent rates are high, and there is no affordable housing”.

DHA claims its Lee Point development will provide much needed housing for Darwin. According to an Independent Housing Report on Lee Point, DHA is not proposing to encourage any affordable housing at Lee Point. Houses at Lee Point are typically priced at over $0.8M. The medium Darwin house price is just under $0.5M.


The Lee Point housing project has been plagued by appalling planning and lack of consultation from the start, and never should have been allowed to get this far. It’s well past time for an investigation into DHA.

Take Action:


    1. Send a letter to Senator Grogan asking for Australia’s Extinction Crisis to be reopened. Lee Point is a classic example of what should not happen.

    1. Please sign this PETITION that calls for an inquiry into DHA.

Both Senator Grogan (Labor) and Senator Hanson-Young (Greens) visited Lee Point in April 2024 and have been involved in Australia’s Extinction Crisis Inquiry.


3.0 Where NT potential candidates stand on Lee Point

Potential candidates in the Darwin-Palmerston-Rural Area were provided with this information and asked:

If elected: “will you support a moratorium on the current DHA housing project at Lee Point until the (independent) NT Planning Commission has completed a comprehensive Area Plan for the Lee Point peninsula that reflects the needs and wishes of the community.”

A summary of responses is:

Labor – “NO RESPONSE”; none of the potential candidates responded.

CLP – “NO”; the CLP Opposition Leader on behalf of the Opposition Team indicated in a letter to FLP that the development should proceed.

Greens – “YES”; all potential candidates responded YES.

Independents – most responded “YES”, with the remainder “UNDECIDED”.

View individual responses.

Its worth noting that no sitting MLA has been to Lee Point to listen to people’s concern on the DHA housing project in the last 4 years.


4.0  Quiz

What is the name of this bird and where does it nest?

Fig 7. Photo by Simone Martin May 2024


5.0 Plants and Wildlife

Wilderness Walks have been running each week 5pm Sunday and sometimes on Saturday morning 7am – see FLP Facebook for latest info.

The walks have been identifying 30-45 bird species, see ebird for latest sightings. A Gouldian Finch was seen on the 7am Wilderness Walk, 25 May, by David Percival – the first for the year.

Fig 8. Gromphrena canescens (common name Bachelors Buttons) flower appear in the drier parts of Lee Point during Feb – Sept.

Fig 9. Frogsmouth Waterlilies appear in the wetter areas of the Lee Point Corridor at end of the wet season.

Fig 10 Scarlet Jezebel – photo by Mitch Rose – May 2024

Jezabel caterpillars are known to feed on Mistletoe plants.

Fig 11. Red-winged Parrot – photo by Mitch Rose – May 2024

Enjoy the Dry Season

Answers to Quiz

Answer Q1 – It is called a Radjah Shelduck (or Burdekin duck) and nests in a tree hollow. They can be seen in pairs around Darwin and are protected under Australian law.