Look ahead towards the city, then behind you towards The Rocks. During the 1960s Sydney experienced a building boom; new office blocks and high-rise apartments sprang up in the CBD, and a redevelopment plan for The Rocks’ area included high-rise office towers and a large international hotel.
The Rocks and Millers Point housed a close-knit community; many residents were related, and some families, descendants of convicts and settlers, had lived here since the late 18th century. When this community became aware of the redevelopment plans, ‘the Battle for the Rocks’ ensued. Resident Nita McRae started The Rocks Resident Action Group, mobilising her community in protest and eventually enlisting the assistance of the Builders Labourers Federation union, who imposed a ‘Green Ban’ on the precinct.
In January 1972 bulldozers arrived in The Rocks, but were met by 30 local residents who stopped the demolition from proceeding. The struggle continued until, in 1975, a compromise was reached; all buildings north of the Cahill Expressway would be retained, conserved and restored. The Green Ban was lifted, and messages on the sides of Sydney buses read ‘The Rocks, where history is alive and kicking’.