The Millers Point, Dawes Point, The Rocks, Walsh Bay, Resident Action Group (RAG) grew from the Millers Point Action Group formed in 1969. Activists Nita McRae and Shirley Ball were instrumental in the group’s formation.
Subsequently Nita McRae started the allied Rocks Resident Action Group to oppose State Government plans to relocate residents and redevelop The Rocks as a high-rise commercial precinct.
The story of the Battle of The Rocks is iconic to Australian heritage history. Nita McRae enlisted the assistance of the Builders Labourers Federation. Under the leadership of Jack Mundey, the union imposed a Green Ban on the precinct. This brought work to a halt. The struggle continued between 1971 and 1974. Ultimately The Rocks’ historic fabric was preserved by the combined RAG and BLF activism. Having achieved its goal the RAG morphed into The Friends of The Rocks, a holding pattern to maintain vigilance.
After Nita’s death in 1986 Shirley Ball undertook the role of leader. The two groups amalgamated as the Millers Point, Dawes Point, The Rocks, Resident Action Group. This better reflected the geography of the precinct.
The RAG continued to address ongoing social and heritage issues. The precinct demography was changing rapidly, with the Kent Street high-rise residential and Walsh Bay developments.
Shirley led the RAG until her death in 2004. Her nephew Brian Harrison subsequently chaired the RAG for a short period. Millicent Chalmers, a long term RAG member and secretary alongside Shirley Ball, then took the chair. Millicent filled this role energetically until March 2013 when she did not stand for re-election. John McInerney, former City of Sydney Councillor and Deputy Lord Mayor, was elected to the RAG leadership.