The letter, obtained by Tasmanian Times, from the Director-General Mr D.T. Doyle to Mr T. Pilkington of 11 Marine Terrace, dated 1 October 1982, refers to Mr Pilkington’s temporary licence to rent Crown Land for a jetty site.
In unequivocal terms, Mr Doyle says: “For some time now it has been evident that your occupation of Crown Land in the area extends over a considerably larger area than that held under temporary licence for the jetty.”
A survey had been undertaken which corroborated this encroachment. Mr Doyle wrote: “The survey has revealed that the boundary of land alienated from the Crown is that shown as ‘location boundary’ on the attached copy, notwithstanding the inclusion of an additional area in Conveyance 26/895. That is to say that portion of a shed, corrugated iron fences, the slipway, jetty and associated reclamation are all located on Crown land.
“I consider that access along the foreshore should be available to the public and for that reason I am not prepared to allow the fences to remain. The fences shown in red on the attached copy together with their foundations should be removed and facilities installed to allow foot access over the slip way and jetty.”
Mr Doyle said a Crown Lands Bailiff would be available for advise Mr Pilkington, if he wished, about facilities required for access after removal of the fences and foundations. He noted that Mr Pilkington had a boat on the slipway under cover, a shelter supported by two fences, and gave him 60 days for the removal to be completed. There was was no objection in principle to the shed and slipway remaining on Crown land, he said, and he would consider an application to rent the area occupied by these structures and enclosed an application form.
The Director-General’s letter predates that of Surveyor General in 2002, which questioned the validity of two titles on the foreshore which extend to the low water mark, namely 11 and 13 Marine Terrace His advice was included in a Briefing Paper (Battery Point: are the titles valid) prepared for the Hobart City Council in March 2003, which concurred with this opinion, detailing the dubious history of the titles, but which also included advice from the Recorder of Titles accepting their validity.
The title to 13 Marine Terrace is owned by Sir Guy and Lady Green. The title to 11 Marine Terrace is owned by the Hoskings. Fences block public access and the HCC is currently negotiating to buy the land between the low water mark and the high water mark. The HCC is thought to have offered $70,000, while the property owners are believed to have asked for $700,000 between them.
Ken Hosking is senior vice president of the Battery Point Sullivans Cove Community Association and vice chairman of Friends of the Foreshore Inc. He was a member of the BPSCCA committee on February 22 last year, when the president, David Edwards, wrote to then Environment and Planning Minister Judy Jackson, on the contentious issues of greater public access to the foreshore.
Mr Edwards did not declare an interest by a member of his committee. No-one has suggested that the current owners encroached on Crown land, but Mr Edwards’ letter appears to be an attempt to shut down debate on the issue.
Mr Edwards wrote: “The Association would like to draw your attention specifically to the claims by some Aldermen that the titles to 11 and 13 Marine Terrace are in some way deficient, and that the portion of these titles which extend beyond the high water mark have in some way been ‘claimed’ by past owners by some ‘fraudulent’ or inappropriate means.
“Such claims are both false and strike at the heart of the lands title system in which the very existence of the Certificate of Title is conclusive evidence of title and is intended to eliminate the possibility of this kind of trawling through the previous history of the land.”
THE Director-General of Lands wrote to a Battery Point foreshore property owner in 1982, telling him that he had encroached on Crown Land, that the public had right of access to the foreshore, and ordering him to remove fences and other obstacles to access.