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An overview of
environment and current issues

Photo: Daphne Salt


This website is produced by Sutherland Shire Environment Centre, and is designed to:
  • provide an overview of the environmental values of the Kurnell Peninsula

  • provide a perspective on some of the current issues and challenges facing the Peninsula.

The Kurnell Peninsula - Environment

The Kurnell Peninsula, located on the southern shores of Botany Bay in Sydney's south, is a significant cultural and ecological asset. It is the site of significant wetlands (including the most important in the Sydney region at Towra Point), contains regionally significant vegetation, endangered species, sand dunes, habitat for migratory birds and the Green and Golden Bell Frog,and extensive seagrass beds and marine biota. The Peninsula is home to two of Sydney's icon Reserves: Botany Bay National Park and Towra Point Nature Reserve.

Kurnell is also the Birthplace of Modern Australia - the site of Captain James Cook's first landing in this country - and the first meeting place of European and Aboriginal cultures.

Kurnell is characterised by a village of about 2600 residents, and many industrial establishments, including Sydney's largest oil refinery.


The Kurnell Peninsula's natural environment has suffered from a range of impacts over many decades: Its once spectacular sand dunes have been depleted through sandmining and landfill operations, overgrown by invasive weeds and eroded by 4WD and horse riding activities; Sutherland Shire's sewage is discharged from the Peninsula's coastline; and there are ongoing tourist/residential/industrial development proposals which would add to environmental pressures in the area.

The magnitude, complexity and fragmentation of issues facing sustainable environment planning on the Kurnell Peninsula place heavy constraints on achieving a lasting rehabilitation of the Peninsula.


There are many groups and activities being undertaken to promote a sound future for the natural environment and cultural heritage of the Kurnell Peninsula. These include bush regeneration groups, a coalition of conservation groups, and a campaign aimed at the removal of litter from the roadside.