Jack Mundey was the state secretary of the BLF (Builders Labourers Federation) in New South Wales, Australia during the 1960's and 70's. Under his leadership, the union was transformed from a self serving entity that merely campaigned for improved wages and conditions to a socially conscious movement that introduced the legendary green bans of the 1970's that changed conservation issues in Sydney forever.
In 1971 building developer AV Jennings planned to transform Kelly's Bush, a 4.9-hectare sanctuary of waterfront bushland in Hunters Hill into a luxury home estate. Local residents joined together with Mundey and the BLF and the green ban was born. Work was stopped on a multi-million dollar office development in North Sydney, several kilometres to the east and AV Jennings relented. Kelly's Bush survives untouched to this day.
Further green bans were employed in the following years in Potts Point, Paddington and Centennial Park, where an 80000 seat stadium was proposed. Tools were also downed at several University of Sydney sites in protest of victimization of gays and lesbians and the plan to veto a women's studies course. Stirring stuff when you consider the BLF was a macho left-wing outfit in the less than tolerant 1970's. But it was the green bans and confrontations in Sydney's Rocks area that was Mundey's greatest triumph
In 1972 bulldozers started to demolish areas of The Rocks, a stones throw away from the landing site of the first fleet and home to Australia's oldest historic buildings. The plan was a AUD$500 million development that would have extended the CBD right through The Rocks. Green bans throughout the city brought demolition to a halt and The Rocks survives today.
At One stage there were 40 green bans across the city involving developments totaling $AUD3000 million. Jack Mundey is currently the Chair of the Historic Houses Trust of NSW.