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Green Bans


Green bans were work bans imposed by building workers from October 1970 until 1975 on development destructive of environment or heritage. Starting in Carlton in Melbourne, they occurred Australia-wide but were concentrated in Sydney, where the NSW branch of the Builders Labourers' Federation was committed to 'the social responsibility of labour': workers should withdraw their labour from harmful projects. Its leader Jack Mundey coined 'green ban' in 1973 to describe such action. Supported by conservationists and resident activists, Sydney green bans protected whole areas such as the Botanic Gardens, Centennial Park, The Rocks, Woolloomooloo, Victoria Street King's Cross; many older-style buildings; and inner-city housing from being demolished for expressway construction. Green bans resulted in improved environmental legislation and urban planning.
See Meredith Burgmann and Verity Burgmann, Green Bans, Red Union. The Saving of a City, NewSouth Publishing, Sydney, 2017.



  • The Little Green Book: The Facts On Green Bans, Tomato Press, Sydney, 1974?. Image PDF Details


  • Owens, Joe; Pringle, Bob; and Mundey, Jack, Owens, Mundy, Pringle Cleared, Joe Owens, Bob Pringle and Jack Mundey, Sydney, 1975c, 1 pp. PDF Details



  • Sydney, Rocks and Points, Special, 1984, 4 pp. PDF Details
  • Sydney, Rocks and Points, no. 2, August, 1984, 8 pp. PDF Details
  • Sydney, Rocks and Points, no. 1, 1984, 8 pp. PDF Details


  • Australian Building and Construction Employees Union and Australian Builders Labourers' Federation NSW Branch, Why Green Bans?, 1973, 4 pp. PDF Details

Verity Burgmann