Destination Pagoda the movie

Join Ian Brown, Haydn Washington, Yuri Bolotin, Aunty Helen and others in celebration of unique and internationally significant pagoda landcapes. These are the unprotected Gardens of Stone surrounding Lithgow. 

Produced by Tom Zubrycki.

Request that the Honourable Paul Toole conserve the Gardens of Stone

Destination Pagoda for a world-class reserve on Lithgow’s doorstep

Could you please write to Minister Paul Toole whose electorate covers the Gardens of Stone region asking that he support our detailed reserve establishment plan called Destination Pagoda (see form below). This reservation plan will make Lithgow a mecca for families who wish to experience a bit of real Blue Mountains’ bushland but are reluctant to step far from their car. 

Park experts estimate that the new reserve will generate over $10 million per year and more than 100 jobs in Lithgow. The new reserve, called the Gardens of Stone State Conservation Area, will complete Myles Dunphy’s visionary 1932 Blue Mountains National Park scheme.

A key design element of Destination Pagoda is the creation of low-key visitor opportunities close to Lithgow beside upgraded existing road access linked to the town. The gentle plateau terrain with its distinctive pagoda rocks contain many sites for a variety of family-suitable, low-key visitor facilities that combine to give Lithgow’s Gardens of Stone great potential to attract visitors interested in experiencing nature. 

The beauty of the Destination Pagoda scheme is that new visitor facilities can be established beside pagoda landscapes of great scenic beauty around Lithgow that are need of restoration and rehabilitation, while more remote, pristine landscapes are protected.

The forests next to Lithgow are amongst the most diverse in NSW and contain 84 threatened plant and animal species, including the Blue Mountains Water Skink and Giant Dragonfly, as well as 16 rare and threatened communities. They deserve effective conservation management by the NPWS.

By all means use any of the above points to modify the guide letter to Minister Toole provied below. The full Destination Pagoda report can be downloaded at

Thanks for your support,

Keith Muir, Colong Foundation for Wilderness

Protect the gardens of stone banner
In December 2018 conservationists and unionists gathered at Maiyingu Marragu Aboriginal Place to call for a 39,000 hectare a new Gardens of Stone state conservation area.

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Destination Pagoda Summary and Report

A new plan, created by the Colong Foundation, Blue Mountains Conservation Society and Lithgow Environment Group for the transition of state forests beside Lithgow to a state conservation area was launched on Monday April 8 at the Lithgow Workies. The summary and full report are below. The plan focuses on the tourism, economic and community benefits to Lithgow from the new reserve.





The Wollangambe Story

Video showing the coal fines spill by Clarence Colliery in the Gardens of Stone region.

In the 1980s sediment spills from the constuection of the Berowra By-pass [F1] into Ku-ring-gai National Park established procedures for cleaning up spills of this kind. Yet it took months before the clean up of the Wollangambe River started.

The EPA must ensure it establishes standing procedures and writes up a 'how to' guide from the Clarence spill experience. Like first aid, with pollution events, quick action prevents harm. It is by a great deal of luck that heavy rainfall did not sweep coal fines all the way down the Wollangamba River.

Save the Gardens of Stone

Please make a tax-deductible donation and help protect the Gardens of Stone

The Gardens of Stone is one of Australia’s most remarkable regions.

It is public land and yet still at risk.

The Gardens of Stone has almost as many rare plants and animals and endangered ecosystems as the rest of the Blue Mountains put together, all living in this spectacular pagoda landscape of rock pinnacles, canyons, cliffs, forests, heaths and wetlands.

The Gardens of Stone are must for conservation – and being in Sydney’s backyard is a major plus.

With your help we can save the Gardens of Stone.

Dr Bob Brown, 25th March, 2018

Please Donate

Save the Gardens of Stone

Just two hours west of Sydney is a popular wonderland of sandstone pagodas unique in the world. This public forest needs your help as it is being ruined.

The Gardens of Stone region is remarkable for its combination of dramatic landforms, rock pagodas, and a multitude of rare and threatened plants and animals. You and your family can experience nature close up and personal, a world of secrets, magic and delight. At once apparently daunting but accessible, you will find pagodas in clusters like fortified hill-towns with narrow passageways and walled courtyards, complete with overhanging caves, staircases and waterfalls. It is hard not to put its stunning natural beauty into a human context; with imagined walled gardens, rockeries, open woodlands and shrubberies.

It’s just the best place in the world for a bushwalk! Each visit to the Gardens of Stone is another unique wonderful experience.

Ignore it, and it will disappear

This 39,000 hectare region is proposed for protection as a state conservation area. Its diversity is equivalent to that of the nearby million hectare World Heritage Area. Its reservation would establish effective management for its 100 threatened plants, animals and ecological communities, and to enable it to be appreciated.

Poorly regulated coal mining has caused surface rocks to crack, cliffs and pagodas to crumble, aquifers to be lowered, swamps and creeks to dry out, and rivers that supply Sydney with drinking water to be polluted with mine water. All the while unlicensed and unregistered trail bike riders continue to impact the region without a thought to the damage they cause.

How you can help

An alliance of local conservation groups is developing more detailed plans to explain the substantial benefits of a proposed 39,000 hectare state conservation area reserve. It will examine how a vibrant tourist economy in the Lithgow region would work with the reserve plan and Lithgow Council’s strategy to broaden the local economy.

They have also commissioned award-winning Australian documentary film maker, Tom Zubrycki, to present the outstanding scenic values of Lithgow’s “pagoda” landscapes and how these pagodas will draw tourists to the region. A big new Gardens of Stone reserve should become the foundation for Lithgow’s diversified economy as local mining declines.

Stand shoulder to shoulder with those working towards a Gardens of Stone reserve and a better future for Lithgow. 

Please make a tax-deductible donation to help continue this work.

Donations over $2.00 are tax-deductible.


The Gardens of Stone Alliance

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