Unionists and environmentalists came together to celebrate the memory of Joyce and Vern Moffitt, renowned unionists, environmentalists and social justice advocates with the unveiling of a newly installed ‘Moffitts Pagodas’ sign on Wednesday, December 5.
The sign was installed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service in the Gardens of Stone National Park.
Combined Retired Union Members Association (CRUMA) recently discovered the enormous achievements of Vern Moffitt (1924-2001) and Joyce Moffitt (1930-1999) who as unionists and conservationists spent a lifetime articulating a vision for workers and the environment, and in particular protecting Lithgow’s Gardens of Stone.
“In 2007 these two great Lithgow unionists and environmentalists, Vern and Joyce Moffitt, were commemorated with the ‘Moffitts Pagodas’ but somehow the sign directing people to this spectacular memorial in the Gardens of Stone National Park was somehow forgotten,” CRUMA organiser John Koch said.
“The Moffitts are too important to forget and this event hopes to recognise their significant achievements.”
Mick Tubbs, longtime friend of the Moffitts, said that they were political activists that had strong environmental ties.
“They really gave their lives for the cause,” he said.
Mr Koch said if it wasn’t for the Moffitts the large group of supporters wouldn’t be in Lithgow.
“They were outstanding Lithgow and Bathurst environmentalist heroes who did everything to preserve the Gardens of Stone,” Koch said.
Mr Koch said that they haven’t given up on trying to preserve the Gardens of Stone.
“We may have one foot in the grave but we aren’t giving up, CRUMA will return to Lithgow. We aren’t frightened to deal with difficult issues, to go up against highly sensitive issues.”
Colong Foundation and Blue Mountains Conservation Society representative, Keith Muir said the Gardens of Stone was vital to Lithgow’s tourism.
“The Gardens of Stone matter because it represents the challenge of taking responsibility for our future,” he said.
“Nothing about the Gardens of Stone reserve proposal is threatening to Lithgow’s economy.”
Mr Muir said he believed in time Lithgow could become the new Katoomba.
“This could be a landmark that everyone would want to visit, Lithgow’s beautiful and internationally unique pagoda land-forms are the key to attracting tourists,” he said.
“They are Lithgow’s key point of difference for tourism marketing that should be packaged around Lithgow as the gateway to the Gardens of Stone.”
Deputy Mayor Wayne McAndrew attended the gathering where he addressed the crowd and welcomed everyone to Lithgow.
“I want to acknowledge Vern and Joyce Moffitt and their family...Vern was a legend of coal mining in my time and cared about the health and safety of everyone,” he said.
“Please don’t demonise the industry and the men and women who make a living from working in the mines.”
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