A PUSH to have a section of Port Macquarie's Coastal Walk named after one of the region's trailblazing women, Grace Easterbrook, takes to the footpath on November 29.
The date will mark the 49th anniversary when the first meeting was convened and a local conservation society was formed to protect the delicate Port Macquarie coastline from future development.
It was that collective of environmentally-conscious guardians led by Ms Easterbrook, who we can thank for the protected coastline we enjoy today, campaign spokeswoman Krissa Wilkinson said.
Krissa hopes to collaborate with Port Macquarie-Hastings Council to have the section of Coastal Walk between Windmill Hill to Rocky Beach lookout named Grace's Way in her honour.
It was on 29 November 1971, in response to a high-rise proposal, the remarkable 60 year old Ms Easterbrook held a meeting at her home and formed the Port Macquarie Conservation Society (PMCS).
Grace lobbied council and state government, including the first Liberal Minister for Conservation, Jack Beale; the State Planning Authority; the National Party Member for Lyne Bruce Cowan; and the Deputy Premier Sir Charles Cutler.
This grassroots, kitchen-table community campaign, was one of the most important events that shaped the town of Port Macquarie and saved much of its natural beauty from ugly high-rise development.
Ms Easterbrook also organised a petition of 1,000 signatures from concerned ratepayers and made an 11th hour deputation to council.
The controversy and interest in this issue led council to dramatically reverse their policy, and open the council chambers doors for the first time, so that the public and press could hear the debate firsthand at their November meeting.
Under such scrutiny, council voted against the high-rise development, following Alderman Matesich's motion arguing the application would not enhance the ecology of the area in question.
The section of the Coastal Walk supporters would like to see named Grace's Way, marks the place where that public land was reclaimed from housing development and regenerated back to the coastal forest that exists there now.
"That's how it's seen by locals who know the story. This is the site where the campaigns to save the place began," Krissa said.
"As well as campaigning against high rise on Windmill Hill, Grace demanded the houses were removed and she worked in regenerating the area."
Krissa is inviting interested people to join her for a socially-distanced picnic lunch at Oxley Beach from midday on November 29 to hear more about the important conservation work of those who fought to protect the local coastline, headlands and foreshores over the last 50 years.
Then those who want to experience the proposal for Grace's Walk can wander along the coastal path up to Windmill Hill.
"It's a way of reminding people if it wasn't for this history we wouldn't have this number one Trip Advisor walk to enjoy," she said.
"It is also a time to remind people that it is thanks to the Port Macquarie Conservation Society, that we still have so many wild places here.
"I am hoping council for the 50th anniversary in 2021, might do something to acknowledge this and name it Grace's Way."
Krissa said Grace Easterbrook deserves a place in the history books alongside other prominent local environmental trailblazers including Amy Bertha York and Harry Thompson.
"I'd like this to become an annual event and perhaps in the future a fundraising event for a local environmental group."