Australia's National Heritage eNewsletter - Issue 4
Department of the Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
Recognising and protecting the places and stories that make Australia special
Your heritage online news
Issue 4, December 2011
On this page
- Historic First Fleet shipwreck added to the National Heritage List
- Australian Heritage Week 2012 to go international for a day
- Australian Heritage has it in the (mail) bag
- World heritage for Koongarra and the Ningaloo Coast
- West Kimberley added to the National Heritage List
- The Watermarks – Water's Heritage conference in Melbourne
- Introducing your Heritage Council: Rodney Dillon
- Applications for Your Community Heritage grants close 20 December
- A 'bank town' heritage treasure: ABC Regional Radio Studio in Wagin, WA
- Meeting of the Wet Tropics Ministerial Council
- Consultation plans for an Australian heritage strategy
- STOP PRESS: Our nation's capital to be assessed for its outstanding heritage values
Recent months have been a busy time for the Australian Heritage Council, and an exciting one for Australian heritage. There have been several significant heritage listings, and the announcement of dates for Australian Heritage Week 2012. I hope you enjoy this issue of Living Heritage, the last for 2011.
Prof. Carmen Lawrence, Chair, Australian Heritage Council
Australian Heritage Week 2012 will run from Saturday 14 to Sunday 22 April 2012. Heritage Week is a time when all Australians can join together to celebrate our shared and special heritage.
Australian Heritage Week was first held in 2011 and was a great success, due in no small part to the hard work and dedication of thousands of volunteers, who helped organise and run more than 300 events across Australia.
I urge all communities to get involved. You can plan and host a range of exciting activities during Australian Heritage Week 2012 to showcase your unique local heritage to the rest of the country. And let's remember that Australian Heritage Week is an opportunity to make international visitors' and tourists' time in Australia extra special.
Your activities might be open days or exhibitions to highlight significant heritage objects in your local gallery, museum or library collections. You might invite people to a public lecture or seminar featuring a speaker who inspires awareness and enthusiasm for heritage. You could conduct a walking tour of a local nature park or organise a screening of old films.
Australian Heritage Week is also an opportunity to recognise and reward the efforts of individuals and communities all around the country in protecting and conserving our important heritage places. A ceremony to present a certificate to a valued local heritage volunteer may help inspire other heritage enthusiasts.
In 2012 the Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities is delighted to again host the Australian Heritage Week website. The 2012 event registration system – searchable by the general public – should be active and operating by early February 2012. The website will have downloads such as the Australian Heritage Week logo that registered event managers will be able to download and use to promote their heritage event.
Australian Heritage week 2012
I am looking forward to seeing and participating in the results of our combined efforts as we get involved in Australian Heritage Week 2012.
Together let's celebrate our national heritage!
Professor Carmen Lawrence
Australian Heritage Council Chair
Historic First Fleet shipwreck added to the National Heritage List
The recently heritage-listed main shipwreck site of HMS Sirius tells the story of a very important part of early Australian history.
On 25 October 2011, Heritage Minister Tony Burke announced the addition of HMS Sirius to the National Heritage List. The date marked the 225th anniversary of the commissioning of the Sirius and is also the anniversary of the day Admiral Arthur Phillip was appointed in England as Captain and Commander of the First Fleet.
HMS Sirius interpretive plinth.
Photo: Western Australian Museum
The shipwreck of the Sirius is the 97th place to be included in Australia's National Heritage List. The shipwreck site and its associated relics had already been protected from damage or disturbance under the Commonwealth Historic Shipwreck Act 1976 since 1984.
HMS Sirius was the guardian or flagship of the First Fleet during its 15,000 mile, six-month journey from England to Australia, under Captain John Hunter, from 13 May 1787 to 18 January 1788. The arrival of the Sirius and the First Fleet from its initial landing point at Botany Bay to Port Jackson on 26 January 1788 was one of the most important moments in Australia's colonial history, and 26 January is marked each year as Australia Day.
HMS Sirius was vital to the colony of New South Wales' survival. By September 1788 there was a critical shortage of supplies, and she was dispatched to Cape Town, South Africa, to obtain supplies such as flour and medicines, surviving a perilous nine-month round trip and suffering such damage that she spent the following four months being repaired.
Sirius anchor on Norfolk Island
The Sirius was wrecked on a voyage while delivering stores to Norfolk Island on 19 March 1790, following a decision by Governor Phillip to move soldiers and convicts there, in an effort to relieve pressure on the dwindling supplies in Sydney. She went down in Commonwealth waters, south east of Kingston Pier in Slaughter Bay, Norfolk Island – a catastrophic loss for the fledgling colony.
The loss of the Sirius left the early settlers at Norfolk Island and Sydney Cove devastated. Early settlers considered the ship their insurance against adversity – even starvation. The colony of New South Wales was left with barely three months' worth of supplies and was in danger of collapse and abandonment.
The archaeological remains of HMS Sirius are the only known remains of a vessel of the First Fleet, and they are a continuing supply of historical information.
The shipwreck is of particularly outstanding heritage value to the nation because of its potential to yield information that will contribute to a greater understanding of early European settlement in Australia. The remaining fabric of the Sirius and associated artefacts and assemblages are a time capsule of cultural life in the late 18th century.
HMS Sirius is also important internationally, being a rare example of experimental 18th century construction techniques from the years after the American War of Independence. The Sirius and HMS Pandora are the only two British naval ships from that period located in Australian waters.
The Sirius continues to reveal new information about early colonial history, through the shipwreck and also naval records. For example, an assumption by historians that convict ships were rotten hulks unsuitable for the voyage to New South Wales is now questioned, with an examination of naval records having indicated that the refit cost for the Sirius ahead of the First Fleet voyage was both thorough and expensive. This gives credence to arguments that early plans for the colony of New South Wales went further than merely a temporary measure to relieve England's overcrowded jails.
Australian Heritage Week 2012 to go international for a day
The International Day for Monuments and Sites will occur during next year’s Australian Heritage Week, on April 18 2012, with the theme ‘world heritage’. The International Day is run by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), a unique non-government association of more than 9,000 professionals – architects, historians, archaeologists, art historians, town planners and anthropologists – all working for the conservation and protection of cultural heritage places. The council’s work is based on the principles enshrined in the 1964 International Charter on the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites (the Venice Charter).
The members of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) contribute to improving the preservation of heritage, the standards and the techniques for each type of cultural heritage property: buildings, historic cities, cultural landscapes and archaeological sites. Each year this important symbolic day aims to raise public awareness of world heritage – its diversity and value, and also its vulnerability and the need for conservation and care. For further information on the International Day for Monuments and Sites, and a calendar of activities around the world, go to the ICOMOS website: www.international.icomos.org/18thapril/index.html
Australian heritage has it in the (mail) bag
Heritage Minister Tony Burke announced on 7 November that 43 post offices across Australia had been added to the Commonwealth Heritage List. They were listed in recognition of the important role that post offices and the postal service have played in the development of towns and communities across Australia. Because the local post office tends to be at the heart of any local town, it is an important site for a region’s culture, heritage, stories and traditions.
North Hobart post office, heritage listed on 7 November 2011
The story of the local post office, how it was built and its history through the decades, gives locals and visitors alike an insight into the community’s history. Local post offices, found across the country, are both nationally shared and locally sited, and ‘Meet me at the post office’ is a refrain that dates back more than a century in towns large and small.
By looking at when, where and how a post office was built we can explore how momentous occasions in Australia's history such as a gold rush, federation and advances in telecommunication affected their community. For example the building of a substantial post office building in Albury in 1880 reflects the town's strategic location on one of the main inland access routes between Melbourne and Sydney. The building of the Mudgee post office west of the Blue Mountains in New South Wales in 1861 was the result of a gold rush in the region. The Mudgee post office was one of the first major country post offices built in New South Wales. And the Camperdown post office in Victoria, built in 1863, is one of Victoria's oldest post offices and one of the first to incorporate telegraph facilities.
After federation the Commonwealth took over the design and construction of post offices. The South Perth post office is likely to be one of the first post offices completed in Western Australia following federation in January 1901.
The inclusion of these places on the Commonwealth Heritage List will ensure that these important local places are recognised, celebrated and protected for future generations.
Here is a list of the 43 post offices by state:
New South Wales: Casino, Armidale, Glen Innes, Inverell, Tamworth, Narrabri (also a former telegraph office), Mudgee, Wellington, Broken Hill, Albury, Temora, Orange, Yass, Maitland, Muswellbrook, Kiama, Paddington, North Sydney, Botany, Macksville, Kempsey; Victoria: Hamilton, Warrnambool, Kerang, Castlemaine, Kyneton, Maryborough, Traralgon, Flemington, Canterbury; South Australia: North Adelaide, Port Pirie, Renmark; Queensland: Boonah, Bundaberg, Maryborough, Bowen, Charters Towers and Warwick; Western Australia: South Perth; Tasmania: North Hobart.
For more information go to www.environment.gov.au/heritage
World Heritage for Koongarra and the Ningaloo Coast
View from Koongarra Saddle to Lightning Dreaming
Photo: Director of National Parks
Koongarra is a small arrow shaped parcel of land surrounded by the nearly two million hectares of the Kakadu National Park World Heritage Area. Kakadu's ancient escarpment and stone country span more than two billion years of the earth's geological history. In contrast the riverine and coastal floodplains are more recent, dynamic environments, shaped by changing sea levels and the big floods every wet season. Koongarra straddles the escarpment close to the well known art site, Nourlangie rock and upstream from some of Kakadu's most important wetlands.
The 1,228 hectare Koongarra area was excluded from Kakadu National Park's original boundaries in 1979 because of its potential uranium resources. No mineral exploration or mining rights were granted and traditional owners continued to oppose mining the area.
The Kakadu World Heritage Area is an Aboriginal living cultural landscape. The strong relationship that exists between the Aboriginal people and their country, cultural practices, beliefs and knowledge represents a continuing cultural tradition thought to be linked to earliest known occupation of Australia. The management and use of the land by past and present generations has helped to shape the landscape we see today.
As the senior traditional owner of the Koongarra land Mr Jeffrey Lee has the primary cultural responsibility for looking after Koongarra. Mr Lee has repeatedly rejected proposals to develop a mine on his country. His request to add Koongarra to the Kakadu World Heritage Area was supported by the Australian Government. Mr Lee attended the World Heritage Committee meeting in Paris to request Koongarra be included in the World Heritage Area on behalf of his and his neighbouring clan groups.
Jeffrey Lee thanking the World Heritage Committee for inscribing Koongarra onto the World Heritage List
The Koongarra area has the same outstanding natural and cultural values as those of Kakadu, and these were recognised when Koongarra was added to the Kakadu World Heritage Area by the World Heritage Committee on 27 June 2011.
Koongarra's inclusion on the World Heritage List enhances the protection of more than 50,000 years of Indigenous history and culture. A spectacular place, Koongarra includes ancient rock art galleries and sacred burial sites and is important in storylines that include the Rainbow Serpent and Lightning Man.
Koongarra is Aboriginal land and will be leased to the Director of National Parks for inclusion in Kakadu National Park. As part of the park management will be shared jointly between the traditional Aboriginal owners and the Director of National Parks. Park staff will expand their conservation work to include the new area of Koongarra. Working together, sharing knowledge and protecting healthy landscapes maintains the outstanding cultural and natural values of the property.
Mining is not permitted in Kakadu by the EPBC Act. Economic benefits will flow to local Indigenous communities and the tourism industry from ongoing visitation to the area, one of Australia's most iconic national parks.
In June 2011 the World Heritage Committee inscribed the spectacularly beautiful Ningaloo Coast in the World Heritage List. The coast fronts the East Indian Ocean from Western Australia’s remote western coast. The coastal waters are home to many marine species, such as marine turtles and the whale sharks that aggregate there each year to coincide with mass coral spawning, which is a seasonal teeming of sea life.
The coast itself is a complex system of rocky shores, sandy beaches, estuaries, 200 kilometres of reefs, and mangroves. The Ningaloo Coast’s natural features also include an extensive network of underground caves with the highest cave fauna diversity in Australia and one of the highest in the world. Above ground the beautiful Cape Range Peninsula, an arid ecoregion recognised for its species richness, is home to many reptiles and birds.
Besides natural richness, the Ningaloo Coast has records of Indigenous knowledge and culture dating back 32,000 years, with much more to explore.
The World Heritage Committee has inscribed a smaller boundary for the Ningaloo Coast than originally nominated by Australia. The boundary encompasses what the World Heritage Committee considered to be the Ningaloo Coast's key marine and terrestrial values of outstanding universal value. Areas under pastoral lease were excluded from the World Heritage boundary.
West Kimberley added to the National Heritage List
The west Kimberley is one of Australia's very special places. A vast area of dramatic and relatively undisturbed landscapes of great biological richness and important geological and fossil evidence of Australia's evolutionary history, the region is home to a rich and dynamic Aboriginal culture and a proud pastoral and pearling tradition.
With sheer escarpments and pristine rivers that cut through sandstone plateaux and ancient coral reefs that create spectacular waterfalls and deep gorges, the region's remoteness has created a haven that supports plant and animal species found nowhere else on the Australian continent.
Against the backdrop of this extraordinary landscape is woven a remarkable account of Aboriginal occupation over the course of more than 40,000 years and the story of European exploration and settlement, from William Dampier's landing at Karrakatta Bay to the development of rich and vibrant pastoral and pearling industries that continue today.
Heritage Minister Tony Burke included the west Kimberley in the National Heritage List on 31 August, 2011.
To coincide with the listing the department has published an ebook, National Heritage Listing - One Place, Many Stories: West Kimberley. The book draws on the Australian Heritage Council final assessment of national heritage values of the west Kimberley and showcases the beautiful landscapes of the region. The ebook can be downloaded at www.environment.gov.au/heritage/publications/west-kimberley/index.html
More information on these recent listings is available from www.environment.gov.au/heritage
Cockburn Range and Pentecost River
The 'Watermarks – Water's Heritage' conference in Melbourne
Image: 'Watermarks - Water's Heritage' conference, Melbourne
ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) and National Trusts of Australia held the Watermarks – Water’s Heritage conference in Melbourne from 27 to 30 October 2011. The conference topic was concerned with the tangible and intangible heritage of water, and its influence on Australian culture both Indigenous and non-Indigenous.
Professor Carmen Lawrence, chair of the Australian Heritage Commission, chaired a panel session: ‘Going down the drain: what is the future for our water heritage?’
In her opening remarks, Professor Lawrence said that the heritage of water is important to all Australians as we become more and more engaged in the issues surrounding water on this very dry continent. She noted community perceptions of the significance of water to our heritage are changing, and the relevance and accessibility of heritage is more widely recognised as our understanding broadens about what heritage is.
'Watermarks – Water's Heritage' conference
Professor Lawrence said that the many places on the National Heritage List that feature water demonstrate that the Australian Heritage Council is aware of the importance of water in Australia’s heritage, and committed to ensuring protection for these sites in the future.
She gave examples around Australia such as the Brewarrina Aboriginal Fish Traps, HMVS Cerberus, the Batavia shipwreck and survivors' camp, Dirk Hartog’s landing site, Echuca Wharf, Cockatoo Island, Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Goldfields water supply scheme.
Engineers Australia has recently announced that the Budj Bim National Heritage Landscape, the first place included on the National Heritage List, has been identified as an Engineering Heritage National Landmark. This site is an outstanding example of people’s interaction with water, where for thousands of years the Gunditjmara people flourished through their ingenious methods of channelling water flows and systematically harvesting eels to ensure a year-round supply.
Along with the recent listing of HMS Sirius, the HMAS Sydney II and HSK Kormoran shipwreck sites were included on the National and Commonwealth Heritage lists earlier this year. HMAS Sydney II sank after a battle with the German raider HSK Kormoran off the Western Australian coast on the 19 November 1941. Sydney II was Australia's most famous warship of the time and this battle has forever linked the stories of these enemy warships.
Professor Lawrence also told the conference delegates that the council is currently assisting the development of an Australian heritage strategy to guide the protection, management and celebration of heritage in Australia for the next decade, including water heritage places.
She and the council have been consulting with key stakeholders, seeking their views on heritage in Australia, why it is important to them and what their vision for heritage over the next decade looks like.
This process of consultation will continue over the coming months and is an essential part of the development of the strategy in order to identify current issues regarding the conservation, presentation and management of heritage in Australia. The strategy’s objective is to provide a common orientation to identify priorities and inform heritage policies and programs at all levels of government regarding the conservation, presentation and management of natural, Indigenous and historic heritage in Australia.
Papers from the conference can be read at www.aicomos.com
Introducing your Heritage Council: Mr Rodney Dillon
The Australian Heritage Council's Indigenous expert, Mr Rodney Dillon, of the Tasmanian Palawa people, has been a member of the council since May 2007 and has made a much-valued contribution.
Rodney Dillon. Courtesy Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Photo: Helen Thomas.
Mr Dillon has dedicated his life to helping his own Aboriginal people and those across Australia.
“I’ve been a strong advocate not just for heritage but for our living culture, making sure that the culture that I have is strong and is passed down to my family,” says Mr Dillon.
“I believe in having shared heritage, in sharing heritage,” Mr Dillon says. “It is important to share what we have got – both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, and make sure that culture and heritage travel together.
“While there is some important culture, some spiritual connections, and sacred things, that need to be kept to Aboriginal people, we can share much of our culture with other people and bring everyone along together. Across the Tasman I think that New Zealand shares Maori and Pakeha culture well, and I would like us to do that too.”
Mr Dillon emphasised that for many years Aboriginal culture was not adequately recognised or looked after, and the laws needed strengthening.
“Just this week I’ve been up to the Preminghana Indigenous Protected Area on the Tasmanian north-west coast, where there are Aboriginal hut impressions. We need strong heritage laws, strong enough to protect our culture, our ancient culture, and I feel responsible for that.
“Being on this heritage board goes some way toward my being able to protect it, to be able to make it stronger. It is not going to be the cure of everything but it is a start.”
“I know the system well now and know how to tap into it. There is a system and a board of good people that I can work with and talk to about heritage issues and put up ideas about what still needs to be done.”
Asked whether a particular achievement on the council stands out, Mr Dillon nominates the council’s negotiations to secure national heritage listing for the Wilgy Mia Ochre Mine site near Cue in the Murchison District of Western Australia. “I was proud of the way the council and the Wajarri People went about negotiating on that.
“I am also proud of the current work under way in the Kimberley. That is one of the characteristics of work on a council such as this; your outcomes come out not during your term, but you see the benefits later, you’ve laid the groundwork.”
Mr Dillon’s achievements have included his nomination as a state finalist for the Tasmanian Australian of the Year 2011 for contributions to Indigenous culture and work as an Indigenous leader.
He is the Indigenous campaigner for Amnesty International and current chair of the National Reference Group for Repatriation of Australian Indigenous Remains, whose work has helped bring about changes to British repatriation policies and ensured the repatriation of many remains of Australian Indigenous people.
He has been involved in Aboriginal fishing rights at state and national levels and chaired a World Indigenous Fishing Conference in Vancouver.
Mr Dillon served three terms as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Commissioner for Tasmania, and is a member of the Stolen Generations Alliance: Australians for Truth, Justice and Healing. He is a founding member of the South East Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre and current Chair of the newly formed Weetapoona Aboriginal Corporation. He was named National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee Person of the Year in 2005 in recognition of his long term contribution to Aboriginal people.
Applications for the new Your Community Heritage 2011–12 funding round close 20 December 2011
The Academy of Science Shine Dome in Canberra
Australia's unique heritage is central to our national identity. It is a source of national and community pride and a significant contributor to our economic development and prosperity.
The Your Community Heritage program indicates a new direction in the Australian Government's support for our heritage. The program moves beyond the traditional view that Commonwealth support for our heritage is limited to protecting Australia's World and National heritage listed places. Those places will continue to receive support for protection and management through this program. However, under this new approach to heritage conservation, communities now will now also receive Australian government support to celebrate their local heritage and history, recognising that it is these local stories that together tell our national story.
This new program builds on the National Historic Sites program which provided $4.1 million to 47 projects during 2010-2011.
One of the successful projects involved a grant to the Australian Academy of Science for $33,000 for lighting repair to their modernist Shine Dome building in Canberra. The Australian Academy of Science Building was included in the National Heritage List on 21 September 2005. The building is believed to be the only true example in Australia of Geometric Structuralism – an architectural movement which used tension to maximise the function of structure.
The project sought to fulfil the need for public access and appreciation through providing functional indoor and outdoor lighting for the building. It included the installation of light fixtures in the Dome skylights, fitting of an automated timing switch, night lighting to the moat, bridges and cloister entryways and installation of interpretive signage. The moving coloured lights will bring the lighting pattern into line with other iconic buildings in Canberra.
The completed Shine Dome lighting project has complemented many local projects to upgrade the Acton precinct and to celebrate various national and community festivals and related events being held at the National Film and Sound Archive, on the Australian National University campus and at the National Museum of Australia.
New program launched on 17 November 2011
This new $8.4 million program recognises that heritage is unique to every community within Australia and collectively makes us Australian. History and heritage are significant threads that bind community identity and sense of pride. By understanding and appreciating local heritage we can better understand and identify what makes us Australian.
In recognition that Australia's unique heritage is central to our national identity, Your Community Heritage was launched by Heritage Minister Tony Burke MP on 17 December 2011.
The program aims to increase protection, conservation and celebration of National and local heritage places and stories and contribute to the economic and social sustainability of these communities.
Your Community Heritage has a number of initiatives:
- Protecting National Historic Sites will provide funding ($50,000 to $500,000) for our most significant, nationally recognised historic sites, supporting activities to protect and conserve them for future generations. It also provides funding to improve access and interpretation for visitors, to improve understanding of the significance of these sites and enhance their financial sustainability.
- Recovering from Natural Disasters will provide funding ($5,000 to $150,000) to assist communities repair local historic places impacted by natural disasters and improve their resilience to extreme weather events in the future.
- Commemorating Eminent Australians recognises those Australian people who have made a significant contribution to our nation or even to the world. It will provide support for the commemoration of eminent deceased Australians who have helped to make Australia what it is today. Funding up to $10,000 is available.
- Sharing Community Heritage Stories aims to explore and communicate stories that connect communities with their past. Funding ($2,500 to $25,000) is available for projects that educate and promote an interest in Australia's heritage by identifying, recording and sharing stories that have important historic, cultural or social relevance to local communities.
- Celebrating Community Heritage enables communities to embrace, celebrate and publicise their local Indigenous and historic heritage. Grants ( $2,500 to $25,000) are available for community heritage activities that promote a sense of pride and connection to local heritage places, including heritage forums, community fairs, open days, tours, celebrations, commemorations of a historic events, the teaching of traditional knowledge and skills, and furthering the understanding of Indigenous customs.
Information for applicants and the grant guidelines are available at www.environment.gov.au/heritage/programs/ych.
Applications are open for the 2011–12 Your Community Heritage program and must be submitted by 5.00pm (AEDT) on Tuesday 20 December 2011. Projects must be able to be completed by December 2013.
A 'bank town' heritage treasure: ABC Regional Radio Studio in Wagin, WA
Heritage Minister Tony Burke recently announced the addition of the ABC Regional Radio Studio in Wagin, Western Australia, to the Commonwealth Heritage List. The studio has been in the old Western Australian Bank Building only since 2003, but Wagin has a long history with the ABC. Wagin (pronounced ‘wage-in’) is the town from where the ABC made its first national broadcast from south-west Western Australia in 1936, with the live transmission of a gala concert from the town hall.
The ABC's offices in Wagin (Simon Brown – ABC Local). Courtesy Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Wagin began as one of the ‘bank towns’ which sprang up with the development of the Great Southern Railway from 1886 to 1889. The railway line increased the potential for commercial activity in the region, and the need for financial services soon followed. Banks were constructed in areas that were considered likely to grow in anticipation of future commercial activity. In the wake of the wheat and sheep boom, the building of new regional banks reflected a rapid change in Western Australia’s economy. The establishment of regional financial services was indicative of the wealth flooding into the region and by 1906 there were five banks operating in Wagin.
The ABC Regional Radio Studio building at Wagin was designed for the Western Australian Bank by the architects Hobbs, Smith and Forbes in early 1905. It was purpose-built to combine the commercial function of the bank with an attached residence for the bank manager. Together, they form a good example of this structural combination. With the rapid expansion of the banking system, staff from city banks had to move into the area to work. The building displays the practice of co-locating the banking facility with staff residential accommodation, which happened particularly in new towns where there was no other pre-existing or alternative accommodation available for staff. The construction of banks – often the most substantial buildings in small towns – and posting of regional staff to the area was a clear signal to the community of the bank’s support for their future. The small size of the building indicates that this was a somewhat speculative regional bank at a time when the town’s long-term economic viability in a new agricultural area was unclear. It survived however as a bank for nearly a century, with ownership subsequently passing to the Bank of Australasia (now the ANZ Bank) and then the Commonwealth Savings Bank of Australia.
The building is significant for its function within the social history of the region, and for demonstrating principal characteristics of bank architecture and style in the local context. Now it is adapted for use as an ABC radio studio with a main studio, production area, and office space and equipment room. It also retains many features of its original design, including the bank safe inside and the manager’s residence behind the banking chamber. From the street, the single storey brick building retains its classical federation style, with the attached brick and iron residence built in a contrasting federation Queen Anne style.
The ABC Regional Radio studio has significant heritage value. It demonstrates the importance of financial services to regional Western Australia in the federation period. It forms part of the distinct federation-era townscape in Wagin and demonstrates the principal characteristics of regional Australian banks in the early twentieth century.
Meeting of the Wet Tropics Ministerial Council
The Australian Government and Queensland Government environment and tourism ministers met on 12 August 2011 to address issues important to maintaining the world heritage values of the Queensland Wet Tropics.
The Wet Tropics Ministerial Council discussed significant changes to the Wet Tropics Management Plan, including an improved zoning system and changes to the way permits are issued for a range of activities.
The council nominated Ms Leah Talbot as the new Indigenous director on the Wet Tropics Management Authority Board. Ms Talbot brings extensive skills and experience to the role and has the support of the local Rainforest Aboriginal communities.
The chair of the Wet Tropics Management Authority Board, Associate Professor Peter Valentine, presented a report on the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and the work of the authority.
The council is required to review the Wet Tropics Management Plan every 10 years. The ministers reviewed amendments that resulted from a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of the existing plan and extensive public consultation by the Wet Tropics Management Authority.
Responding to a COAG (Council of Australian Governments) decision to establish new arrangements for all ministerial councils, the Wet Tropics Ministerial Council agreed to amendments to the intergovernmental agreement that governs the joint management of the World Heritage Area. The new arrangements effectively abolish the ministerial council. Cooperation between the Commonwealth and Queensland in the management of the Wet Tropics will continue, however, with joint decision-making by the ministers responsible for World Heritage. Such decisions of the ministerial council will require ratification by Queensland parliament.
For more information about the management of Australia's wet tropics go to:
Consultation plans for an Australian Heritage Strategy
Recognising the importance of heritage to all Australians, the Australian Government is developing an Australian Heritage Strategy, and Australians will be invited to contribute to the discussions. The aim of the strategy is to highlight the value of heritage across the Australian community and to provide a common direction for the identification, protection, commemoration and celebration of heritage over the next decade, for governments and community groups across Australia.
The development of the strategy will give us all an opportunity to reflect on significant achievements over the decades and recognise the efforts under way to protect and recognise heritage in Australia. They include the Your Community Heritage grants program and Australian Heritage Week, both Australian Government initiatives, and also important efforts that local and state governments are making to develop local heritage policies and strategies.
The Australian Heritage Strategy is being prepared in consultation with all jurisdictions and has the support of the Australian Heritage Council, the Heritage Chairs and Officials of Australia and New Zealand, and the Australian Council of National Trusts. Preliminary consultation on the development of the Strategy is underway with key stakeholders. The process for a collaborative development of the strategy will provide governments at all levels, as well as the non-government sector, an opportunity to engage in setting a positive direction for heritage in Australia.
Further information on the development of the strategy, including consultation and opportunities to contribute to its development, will be available on the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities website in the coming months at http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/strategy, or look out for an update in the next issue of Living Heritage.
STOP PRESS: Our nation's capital to be assessed for its outstanding national heritage values
The Australian Heritage Council and the ACT Heritage Council met in Canberra on 8 December 2011 to discuss the assessment of Canberra for national heritage listing.
Chair of the Australian Heritage Council, Professor Carmen Lawrence, said the council was looking forward to working closely with the ACT Heritage Council. “The city of Canberra tells us the story of our country’s democracy, spirit, achievements and aspirations. National heritage listing is an opportunity to give this remarkable city Australia’s highest level of heritage recognition.”
The Australian Heritage Council will focus the assessment on the national and symbolic importance of Canberra. It will complement the places already on the National Heritage List in Canberra including Old Parliament House, the Australian War Memorial and Memorial Parade, the High Court and National Gallery Precinct, the Australian Academy of Science Building and, as part of the Australian Alps National Parks and Reserves listing, Namadgi National Park and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.
“We are particularly looking at the historic layers of Canberra’s town planning against the backdrop of the inner hills and Lake Burley Griffin,” said Professor Lawrence. “The national heritage importance of Canberra as an exemplar of twentieth century town planning will also be examined.
“I encourage the Canberra community to become involved in the assessment process over the next 12 months.”
As part of the consultation process the council will release a discussion paper in March next year to encourage public engagement and comment.
During 2012 the council will also undertake formal consultation with landowners, occupiers and Indigenous people with rights or interests in Canberra, business and industry groups and key community and heritage agencies. A public forum is also planned.
More information on the Canberra heritage assessment will be in the next issue of Living Heritage, or go to http://environment.gov.au/heritage/ahc/national-assessments/canberra/