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St Albans Common Trust

Background

The St Albans Common was granted in 1853 by Queen Victoria under a Trust in perpetuity to the then residents of the Macdonald Valley, having been used as such since 1824.

Since that time the St Albans Common has, without interruption, continued to operate as a traditional Common. It has been well managed under the various legislative frameworks including most recently the Commons Management Act 1989.

A person is eligible to be a commoner, in the case of the St Albans Common Trust, if, broadly, they are a resident or land owner in the Macdonald Valley. Only a commoner can be elected as a Trustee. In modern day parlance, to be a commoner is to be a member. A key responsibility of a commoner is to vote for the Trustees who in turn manage the Common.

This is a very important characteristic of a Common as it ensures close community control, connection and involvement.

There is a very strong, deep and powerful connection between the St Albans / Macdonald Valley community and the St Albans Common Trust.

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In addition to the traditional uses by the St Albans Commoners (primarily grazing of livestock) the Trustees have provided appropriately approved and supervised public and community access to the St Albans Common including an annual fishing competition, used by the Rural Fire Service for training purposes, an annual mountain bike and endurance horseriding event, and participation in quarterly cattle musters.

 

There is an unsealed public road which traverses the St Albans Common which affords the opportunity to everyone to safely enjoy its vistas, scenery, and wildlife without risk to stock or person. There is no general public access to Common lands. The St Albans Common is unique in terms of its significant historical, cultural and environmental attributes and the Trustees are acutely aware of their obligations, both legal and moral, to preserve the integrity of the St Albans Common for the benefit of future generations.

 

There is very considerable historical, cultural and community significance attached to the St Albans Common Trust and all that goes with it, such as the Common Roll, the functional notion of Commoner and the election of Trustees.

 

The origins of Commons in NSW can be traced back as far as 1804 and in England back to 1235. The functions of a Common Roll and the commoner lie at the very core of what constitutes a Common and are integral to both the historical significance of Commons as well as their operation and management.

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