Study of condition and integrity of historic heritage places

Technical report
Dr Michael Pearson and Duncan Marshall
prepared for the 2006 Australian State of the Environment Committee, 2006

This document was commissioned for the 2006 Australian State of the Environment Committee. This and other commissioned documents support the Committee's Report but are not part of it.

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Extract

The Study of Condition and Integrity of Historic Heritage Places takes the form of a physical survey of a proportion of the places entered in the Register of the National Estate and the various State heritage registers. The survey covers every state and territory, and includes as wide a regional coverage as the existing heritage registers allow, with a particular emphasis on an equal spread of places in rural and urban environments. The survey provides a simple overview of the continued existence, condition, integrity and use of a sample of the nations historic heritage, and allows trends in the health of that heritage to be identified. In all 1,287 places were inspected.

The Study repeats the survey first undertaken for the 2001 State of the Environment Report and trends apparent over the intervening five year period are identified.

The study found relatively little change in the condition or integrity of the survey sample over the period since the last survey. Some identified trends were:

  • a slight increase in the number of places in good condition (+0.4%)
  • a slight decrease in the number of places in fair condition (1.8%)
  • a slight increase in the number of places in poor condition (+1.3%)
  • a slight decrease in the number of places with high integrity (4%)
  • a slight decrease in the number of places with medium integrity (+5.4%)
  • a slight decrease in the number of places with low integrity (1.3%)
  • the same proportion of place in 2000 and 2004 having at least medium integrity and fair condition (87.6%)
  • a slight increase in the proportion of places with both high integrity and good condition (+2.4%)
  • a slight decrease in the number of vacant places (5.7% down to 4.9%)
  • a slight increase in the percentage of vacant places in poor condition (39% up to 50%)
  • the deterioration of places which had previously received government conservation funding

In addition, a series of issues are reported on based on observations supplementing the information gathered in the survey.

Conclusions and Recommendations deal with:

  1. Study of risk factors
  2. Improving rural heritage information
  3. Choosing an optimal reporting cycle and undertaking related research
  4. Increasing knowledge of heritage places by encouraging comprehensive survey and registration of heritage places
  5. Monitoring the longterm effectiveness of government funded conservation projects
  6. Identifying development pressures and monitoring impacts
  7. Refining the survey methodology

Citation

Pearson M and Marshall D 2006, Study of the condition and integrity of historic heritage places for the 2006 State of Environment Report, technical report for the Department of Environment and Heritage, Canberra,