Union leader and environmentalist Jack Mundey dies, aged 90

Jack Mundey led the green ban movement which helped save many historic Sydney sites in the 1970s.

Union leader and environmentalist Jack Mundey dies, aged 90

Australian union and environmental activist Jack Mundey has died at the age of 90.

The Builders Labourers Union leader and Australian Communist Party member passed away yesterday.

The tenacious activist led the green bans movement which helped save many historic Sydney sites in the 1970s.

"Jack was a visionary & an inspiration to all unionists & activists," CFMEU national secretary Dave Noonan tweeted on Monday.

Mr Mundy was born in Malanda in far north Queensland and moved to Sydney at the age of 19 to pursue a rugby league career. He had three seasons with Parramatta.

He joined the Communist Party of Australia in 1957 because it was the most militant group fighting for basic things like wages and conditions, he said in an interview for Australian Biography.

Later he called himself an ecological communist.

In 1968 he was elected secretary of the NSW BLF - three years before green bans had an unlikely start.

Jack Mundey at an anti-monorail demonstration in Sydney in June, 1986.

A group of middle-class women from affluent Hunters Hill went to the BLF in desperation after exhausting all conventional avenues in their bid to save Kelly's Bush, the last bushland in the area, from development.

Four hundred people turned up to a public meeting with the union.

So, a ban was slapped on A.V. Jennings, the developer.

When Jennings threatened to use non-union labour, the BLF countered with a threat to ban work on another big Jennings project.

Jennings gave way and Kelly's Bush was saved.

Mundey insisted the union would only act at the request of a community and soon the BLF was inundated with for help to stop the destruction of much of old Sydney and its green spaces.

By 1974, 42 green bans had been imposed, stopping more than $3 billion worth of development.

Judy Mundey, Jack's second wife, pictured in January, 1976.

Mr Mundey was on Sydney City Council in the 1980s. He became a life member of the Australian Conservation Foundation after 20 years on its executive board and he was chair of the NSW Historic Houses Trust.

Two universities awarded him an honorary doctorate.

Mr Mundey was twice married, first to Stephanie Lennon, who died young.

They had a son Michael who was killed in a car accident aged 22.

He is survived by his second wife, Judy.

Source : 9 News More