This is the story of Lumley Park, from its origins as part of the Big Scrub to its vital restoration through the work of William Ambrose Crawford from the 1930s, to until he was well into his 90s.

The Big Scrub – the name given by Europeans to this dense sub-tropical rainforest – was extensively cleared for farming in the late nineteenth century. It once covered an area of approximately 75,000 hectares and boasted diverse flora and fauna. Today it is a mere <1% of its original size. 

In contrast to Europeans, the Bundjalung people have always valued the Big Scrub’s natural bounty. Slowly, European settlers came to accept that the Big Scrub has a non-monetary worth.

Lumley Park was first gazetted as a Recreation Reserve in 1901. A number of sporting clubs were established there over the next thirty years. In 1924 it was officially established as a Public Reserve and some ten years later Tintenbar Shire Council set aside some of the park for preservation and regeneration. Ambrose Crawford and his Scrub Reserve Committee worked to conserve Lumley Park’s Big Scrub remnant. They gained international recognition in scholarly journals. Listed as vulnerable species, the Eastern Tube-nosed Bat (Nyctimene robinsoni) lives in the Big Scrub. As historic witness to the clearing of the Big Scrub the Eastern Tube-nosed Bat tells her story.


By Finn (Alstonville High School), John (Alstonville Plateau Historical Society) and Susie Forster in collaboration with Dorothy Crawford.

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