Council considers naming Wanda and Woolooware Bay lookouts after Don Dobie and Arthur Gietzelt

Lookouts at Wanda beach and Woolooware Bay may be named in honour of former federal MP Don Dobie and Sutherland Shire president and senator Arthur Gietzelt.

The council has made repeated attempts to name a Greenhills Beach reserve after Mr Dobie, but the Geographical Names Board has advised, following further consultation, the proposal lacks community support.

Fourteen submissions opposed the name Don Dobie Reserve, with only one in support, the board said, referring the matter back to the council.

Council staff have sought to break the deadlock by recommending the naming proposal be discontinued, and, instead, in-principle support be given to naming the lookout on the Wanda dunes the Don Dobie Memorial Lookout.

Their report, to be considered at the August council meeting, said the board had legislated authority for the formal adoption of new place names and would not adopt a name that had strong community opposition. 

“While place names require formal approval by the [board] names of public facilities do not,” the report said.

“Public facilities are defined as any council owned or managed facilities such as buildings, boardwalks, gardens, ovals, etc.

“The naming of public facilities provides council with the opportunity to recognise prominent citizens, and enrich the culture and heritage of the shire.”

The report said Mr Dobie was said to have a special affinity with the surf lifesaving movement, and naming the lookout after him would be fitting.

Another report recommended the shelter and lookout on the Woolooware Bay cycle-walk path be named after Mr Gietzelt.

Mr Gietzelt was a councillor for 15 years, including nine as president before the title was changed to mayor.

He also served 18 years in the Senate, including two terms as Minister for Veteran Affairs in the Hawke government.

The report said the council resolved after Mr Gietzelt’s death in 2014 to consider naming a facility in his honour.

The proposed name of Gietzelt Lookout was “a particularly suitable” means of recognising his efforts to prevent the building of a second airport at Towra Point and successfully campaigning to have the federal government acquire the area as a nature reserve for migratory birds.

“Towra Point is picture framed when a person stands in the new shelter and looks north and for this reason it is appropriate to consider naming this shelter in memory of the late Mr Gietzelt,” the report said.

The 2014 mayoral minute, paying tribute to Mr Gietzelt’s work for the shire community, said:

“As it is today, the 1960s were an incredibly challenging time for the shire presidents and councillors of the Sutherland Shire.

“It was a period of rapid population growth, and the inability to provide infrastructure to support the development that was occurring.

“Many people attribute Arthur Gietzelt’s leadership in laying the foundations for many of the things which are taken for granted today within Sutherland Shire.

“Shire President Gietzelt and councillors can claim much of the credit for the infrastructure that later Councils have been able to use and build upon.

“Not the least of these was the provision of many of the sporting fields we enjoy today, swimming pools, community halls and libraries.

“It was on Arthur Gietzelt’s initiative that council first established a Town Planning Department, probably the first in NSW, appointed a full time fire control officer and introduced the first code to regulate high density development in Cronulla.

“Other achievements included:

  • Establishment of Elouera Surf Life Saving Club.
  • Bringing to fruition the E G Waterhouse National Camellia Gardens.
  • Commencement of Kareela Golf Course.
  • “Building of the Gunnamatta Park amphitheatre.
  • “Provision of land for Caringbah YMCA.
  • “Provision of land for Sutherland Police-Citizens Boys Club.
  • “Commencement of the widening of the Kingsway.
  • “Commencement of the Sutherland Entertainment Centre.
  • Approval of the first Miranda Fair.
  • Campaigning to have the Towra Point area acquired by the federal government as a nature reserve for migratory birds.

“ A significant contribution to the council was through the land project scheme, which by the development and sale of council-owned land, council was able to finance many of the infrastructure and community facilities achieved during that time.”

Both proposals would be subjected to community consultation before a final decision is made.