Goodbye Tarwyn Park


Is a coal mine the future for Tarwyn Park?
Is a coal mine the future for Tarwyn Park?

An Upper Hunter conservation farm has been sold to make way for a coal mine.

Tarwyn Park is the home of Peter Andrews ‘Natural Sequence Farming’.

He bought the property in the 1970s and set about reintroducing natural landscape patterns and processes as they would have existed in Australia prior to European settlement.

He has been awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his efforts and has featured on the ABC television’s Australian Story.

His son Stewart now runs the property as a cattle farm and has spent years resisting the establishment of coal mines in the Bylong.

In 2010, Korean energy company Kepco paid Anglo American $400 million for a coal exploration licence (EL) over the area.

Kepco has been steadily buying up farmland within the EL and a purchase of Tarwyn Park is considered critical for the mine’s future.


reprinted from: ABC News – Conservation farm sold to miners


“Tarwyn Park is a living case-study of how we can get it right when it comes to water use and sustainable agriculture.

“The irony – and stupidity – of possibly losing a place like Tarwyn to mining is simply breathtaking. What the hell are they thinking?

“The place should be a bloody shrine, not a hole in the ground.”

Gerry Harvey

Stuart Andrews talks to Tim Lamacraft about the decision to sell Tarwyn Park

The owners of a conservation farm in central west New South Wales have been forced to sell the property, along with their family home, to make way for a coal mine.

Peter Andrews, bought Tarwyn Park more than 30 years ago, and went on to establish the property as an example of natural sequence farming, which he has become famous for.

Natural sequence farming is the practice of restoring degraded Australian landscapes to how they would have been, prior to European settlement and counts Don Burke, Costa Georgiadis and former Governor General Michael Jeffery, as fans.

After years fighting the introduction of mining in the Bylong Valley, between the Mudgee region and Upper Hunter, Peter’s son Stuart finally succumbed and signed Tarwyn Park over to Korean power company Kepco.

Initially, many of the affected landholders within Kepco’s Exploration Licence, resisted the company’s offer to buy them out, but when the largest property owner agreed to sell earlier this year, Mr Andrews felt the fight was lost.

For over a year, tales of corrupt coal mining deals in New South Wales have dominated news headlines.

There are no allegations of corruption over Kepco’s Bylong coal project, but it’s not without controversy.

Along with her partner Jane, Jodie Nancarrow has run the Bylong general store for over 20 years and believes the introduction of mining to the valley is changing the community.

“I’ve referred to it as going from flannelette to flouro”, she says.

“We live in Bylong because we love the valley, the mining fraternity are only living here because of the potential job prospects regarding the mine, so there’s no love of the land or affinity with the area.”

reprinted from: ABC News – Iconic conservation farm sold to make way for a coal mine


Peter Andrews OAM

Peter Andrews, a farmer from the Upper Hunter Valley in NSW, has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)

Mr Andrews’ award is for “service to conservation and the environment through the development and promotion of sustainable farming practises”.

He is best known for advocating Natural Sequence Farming (NSF), a technique that restores natural water cycles, even in times of drought, by maintaining a cover of vegetation to stop the soil losing moisture and nutrients.

Restoring the land

Mr Andrews says it’s an honour to receive the medal, and adds that he hopes it might lead to a better understanding of how the Australian landscape works.

“Before European settlement, we had an amazing filtering system and groundwater storage system (based on dense plant cover) that maintained high levels of productivity under the extreme conditions we’ve got, and now we’ve more or less dismantled it.

“The issue that frustrates me is that the whole planet runs on sunlight and that’s got to be converted by plants to a product that everything in the food chain can use.

“These massive changes (we’ve made) in the way a landscape functions is exactly what we’re now experiencing. We just go from drought to excessive rain events, basically because there’s nothing managing those huge thermal energies that are released every day from the sun.”

Mr Andrews visits about 50 properties each year, teaching farmers how the natural system on their property works.

This year he plans to set up a train-the-trainer program so others can also teach about Natural Sequence Farming.

by Abbie Thomas, ABC

Read the full article


Continue reading “Peter Andrews OAM”

Mining in the Bylong Valley

by Hamish Andrews

This short video was put together as a school project by Peter Andrews’ 11 year old grandson, Hamish. It speaks simply and directly about the prospect of Hamish’s home, Tarwyn Park – and the 30 years of work that it represents – being lost forever for the sake of a coal mine. Hamish wrote the script himself, and took many of the photos.

Tarwyn Park is located near Bylong in the Upper Hunter Valley region of NSW, Australia. It is renowned nationally (and internationally) as the home of Peter Andrews’ “Natural Sequence Farming” approach to the restoration of detiorated landscapes and replenishment of natural water systems.

To quote prominent Australian businessman, Gerry Harvey: “The place should be a bloody shrine, not a hole in the ground. What the hell are they thinking?”

A very big thank you to John Butler Trio and Phil Stevens at Jarrah Records for their permission for Hamish to use JBT’s “Better Than” as the soundtrack, and to make this video available to the general public on Youtube.