Stealth campaigners reunite

It made front page headlines in The Blue Mountains Gazette in the Autumn of 2004, led to multiple arrests, and even saw a law change.

The protest at Govetts Leap

The protest at Govetts Leap

And now 15 years on, Blue Mountains environmentalists will celebrate how they successfully boycotted a Hollywood war movie that tried to film in the Blue Mountains wilderness, with the return screening of a documentary about the issue.

Two conservations groups - the Colong Foundation for the Wilderness and the Blue Mountains Conservation Society - stopped the $129 million dollar Hollywood blockbuster Stealth, saying it threatened the unique ecosystem.

It was set to film on fragile wilderness lands at Butterbox Point, near Mount Hay. The intense campaign succeeded in stopping the filming. Up to 100 people participated in various rallies on site, at Govetts Leap and outside Parliament House in Sydney. The company was eventually forced to find a new film site - private land in the Megalong was used - after a ruling in the Land and Environment Court that the use of the Grose wilderness for commercial filming and construction of movie sets was unlawful. Later local MP Bob Debus brought in legislation which the Conservation Society believed weakened protection of national parks.

At the time the Society said heritage was being "held hostage by Hollywood … national parks and wilderness areas belong to the people of NSW".

The Society will show Wilderness is Sacrosanct, a documentary film recording the campaign, its rallies, blockade and arrests, at the Society’s annual general meeting on Thursday March 28 at 7pm at the Conservation Hut, Wentworth Falls.

“We want to celebrate this successful campaign and the many people who contributed to the successful outcome,” Society president, Madi Maclean said. “The AGM is a good opportunity to reflect on this past success and draw strength for future campaigns."

She invited anyone who had been involved to come and see the film to "relive the campaign and enjoy seeing younger versions of themselves in action".

The film was made for the Society in 2004 by local resident, Julie Bailey. Former Society president, Robin Mosman will be on hand to talk at the event. 

“We will be sending out invitations to everyone we can track down. However, everyone is welcome to come to this free event,” Ms Maclean said.

Two well known locals arrested during the campaign included Blackheath's Jenny Kee and Mick Dark, conservationist and son of writer Eleanor Dark. 

At the time Ms Kee said "even if it was the greatest peace movie rather than a film about nuclear weapons, it still should not be filmed in Mount Hay". The charges against her were later dropped.

Ms Kee said while she would be away for the screening she was pleased the Society was celebrating the win.

"We live in a precious world heritage area and it wasn't appropriate to use the place they wanted to film," she said.