In loving memory

Jani Haenke, 19 June 1940 – 6 September 2009

FOSI Vice-President the late Jani Haenke (Photo: Angus Martin). 

Our guiding light, Jani was FOSI’S only Life Member. She essentially founded Friends of Stradbroke Island in 1988, after the threatened construction of a concrete high-rise at Cylinder Beach on the site of Clayton’s cottages. Jani organised and funded the initial court case and after losses then successes the proposal was defeated. Over the years Jani’s determination for FOSI to dispute other developments on this site led to further objections, court proceedings and negotiations with developers until the acceptably low-impact buildings we see now were completed. We can thank Jani that Cylinder is still unspoilt and bears such a contrast to other major beaches in South-East Queensland. These battles set a precedent for the limited tone of development that we have experienced at Point Lookout.

Jani, as secretary then vice-president, kept FOSI alive and active for many years. She interested people with suitable skills in joining the group and imbued them with her true conservationist principles.

Around 1993 she encouraged Michael Kennedy, an architect with a strong preservationist perspective to join FOSI and continue the work of the group in controlling the nature of the inevitable changes to the built environment that popularity was bringing to a sleepy coastal hamlet. Together they joined with architects Peter O’Gorman and Brit Andresen to lobby the Redland Shire Council to control development, resulting in the introduction of the Development Control Plan for Point Lookout.

This plan embodied the principles of lightweight low-rise building and protection of the brush box canopy and native vegetation. Jani was in fact the driving force behind the preservation of Point Lookout’s character as a unique coastal village.

Over the years of course it has been a struggle to have the council and developers maintain the vision. She wrote many development objections and numerous courts cases were run and financed with Jani always a leading figure. If ever questions were raised in committee meetings about whether FOSI should challenge a particular development proposal, Jani always quietly and determinedly put the affirmative position. She knew you had to stick to your guns.

But it was not her commitment to Point Lookout’s built environment that was her strongest suit, Jani placed conservation of the natural world of the island and its surrounding waters as paramount and crucial. However, she always took a global perspective and maintained many other environmental interests and involvements.

Jani was always keen to take up any opportunity to halt the devastation caused by sand mining. I remember her submission condemning the Enterprise Mine plans. She wrote of the damage that would be caused to the ancient dune system upon which grew beautiful old forest and complex vegetation communities. This is the mine that is intended to continue for many more years and which we have recently seen in aerial photos in the Courier-Mail.

Jani was really gratified that the recent construction sand proposal was rejected by the Redland Council and keen to support the court case in which FOSI and other islanders are supporting the council against CRL’s appeal. She may not have seen the recent photos but she understood full well the destruction caused by sand mining.

The FOSI committee would like to dedicate our future campaign to bring an end to mining to Jani.

We also hope, like many people, that the wonderful Stradbroke Chamber Music Festival organised by Jani and Rachel Smith will continue. I’m sure Jani must have enjoyed the festival more that any other musical experience since it occurred in the magnificent natural setting of Cylinder Beach.

Sue Ellen Carew

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