Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Lithgow celebrates the value of unity

Coal mining unionists and environmentalists Vernon Moffitt (1924-2001) and Joyce Moffitt (1930-1999) will be celebrated with the unveiling of a plaque, followed by a BBQ lunch, on Sunday 30 June, 1pm at the Lithgow State Heritage Mine Park, 3A State Mine Gully Road, Lithgow.

“The Lithgow State Mine Heritage Park & Railway is very pleased to support the celebration of the lives and work of Vern and Joyce Moffitt. Both have a strong connection to Lithgow’s mining industry and to the United Mineworkers Union. Vern was an early supporter of the mining museum and provided wise advice to the museum board in its early days. Both are also remembered for their work in protecting the Gardens of Stone. A new interpretive sign recognising their lives and achievements will become a permanent exhibit at the museum,” said Ray Christison, President, The City of Greater Lithgow Mining Museum.     

“Vernon Moffitt (1924-2001) was a revered coal miner unionist. His wife Joyce Moffitt (1930-1999) also worked for the coal mining union and is remembered as the ‘face’ of the Lithgow office.  She was a passionate environmentalist calling for the protection of the endangered Bathurst copper wing butterfly.  Together they were a formidable team.  Vern and Joyce Moffitt are forever associated with the long campaign to protect the pagoda landscape around Lithgow, known as the Gardens of Stone, that is located within and next to the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area,” said Jim Angel, former Mayor, Blue Mountains City Council.

“The life of Joyce and Vern Moffit is steeped in many stories:  her story and history.  Their dedication remains a model for all trade unionists,” said Vince Ashton, Secretary, Combined Retired Union Members Association (CRUMA).

“Vern and Joyce Moffitt were both local legends.  They spanned the full expression of what living in Lithgow means – respect for the mines, the union and the natural heritage,” said Dr Richard Stiles, President, Lithgow Environment Group.

"This event is material proof of a growing consensus between business, unions and even political parties that a revival plan is needed for Lithgow – a plan needed to protect the region’s heritage and build its tourism economy. The visitor plan, Destination Pagoda, recently developed by local conservationists, can achieve all of these tourism ambitions in one hit. Lithgow can become the gateway to the Gardens of Stone – something the Moffitts would have wanted,” said Keith Muir, Convenor, Gardens of Stone Alliance.

“My parents understood the value of unity and fought tirelessly to combine their three passions – unionism, the environment and their community,” said Joanne Moffitt.

For more info. contact Janine Kitson 0428 860 623.