Tuesday, 2 May 2017

NSW politicians terrified of heritage says National Trust heritage expert

'We are terrified of heritage or at least people in power', says Dr Clive Lucas president of the National Trust of Australia (NSW) last  Friday (28 April, 2017) on ABC Radio Mornings with Wendy Harmer.

Dr Lucas said that 'parklands, natural landscape, historic buildings' in the Sydney area were under threat.
St John's Church built in the 1840s and funded by the Macarthur family has recently been the subject of controversy around selling part of the curtilage  around the church (2016, I Willis)


The conversation discussed the view that Sydneysiders to not engage with an issue until it is going particularly around history and heritage. Wendy Harmer made the point that people in UK are keen supporters of historic buildings and the British National Trust.

Clive Lucas pointed out a number of current disputes around heritage St John's church at Camden, Thompson Square at Windsor and building a swimming pool in Parramatta Park.

One current controversy around heritage in NSW revolves around the Sirius Building in The Rocks in Sydney

Sirius Building in The Rocks in currently threat of demolition by the NSW State Government and is part of 1970s Sydney heritage (2016 Wikimedia)


What is it about heritage matters that frightens people in power?

What is the bogey man of heritage?

This blog attracts lots of views to posts about heritage matters from the Old Milk Depot to St John church in Camden. These heritage posts are usually about threats to heritage.

People sometime do not see heritage value in an historic item until there is a threat to its destruction, or a change in its status, or a change in its surroundings.

Often the fear of heritage matters on buildings is down to laziness of design. New developments in heritage precincts demand creative solutions that are too hard for some. There is a need for imagination and flair. Rather than development at least cost or a race to the bottom.

Vandalism by neglect is another issue in heritage areas. Some owners and developers of heritage properties hope that they will burn down or all down.

View of Argyle Street in the 1940s which remains largely unchanged in over 50 years and in now part of the Camden Town Centre Conservation Area (Camden Images)


Many older buildings have particular problems that new buildngs do not have. In the 1800s there was no running water, no sewerage to the house, no electricity, no internet, or no reticulated gas.

There can be issues using traditional trades that have largely been replaced by mass produced building materials, particularly in areas like plumbing, brickwork, plastering, carpentry, stone masonry, and others. It is easier to demolish a heritage building and start a new building from a clean slate. It can be difficult to retro fit modern services in old buildings, but with patience and persistence it can be done.

But heritage is more than old buildings.

Endangered Cumberland Plain Woodland  is part of the natural heritage of Western Sydney area (I Willis)


So what is heritage?

Historian Graeme Davison defines heritage in The Oxford Companion to Australian History as ‘inherited customs, beliefs and institutions held in common by a nation or community’ and more recently has expanded to include ‘natural and ‘built’ landscapes, buildings and environments’.

Heritage is made up of (1) natural heritage of environmental value like the Cumberland Plain Woodland and (2) cultural heritage which is man made or built heritage, like built up urban areas.

Heritage has a number of values depending on the type of heritage matter (1) intrinsic value (2) genetic diversity (3) historic value (4) uniqueness or rarity (5) utility value

Reasons for threat to heritage items (1) development (2) demolition or destruction (3) change of surroundings or setting (4) change its usage or status

Royal Hotel in Argyle Street Camden which was demolished in 1973 to make way for another a tavern on the site and is part of Camden's lost cultural heritage  (E Kernohan, 1970, Camden Images)


In New South Wales heritage is defined under the Heritage Act 1977 (NSW) and in the legislation is means

those places, buildings, works, relics, moveable objects, and precincts, of state or local heritage significance.

So what is significance?

In New South Wales for an item to be considered important and significant it must meet three of the following criteria for the Heritage Council and consideration for the State Heritage List :
 a) an item is important in the course, or pattern, of NSW’s cultural or natural history;
b) an item has strong or special association with the life or works of a person, or group of persons, of importance in NSW’s cultural or natural history;
c) an item is important in demonstrating aesthetic characteristics and/or a high degree of creative or technical achievement in NSW;
d) an item has strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group in NSW for social, cultural or spiritual reasons;
e) an item has potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of NSW’s cultural or natural history;
f) an item possesses uncommon, rare or endangered aspects of NSW’s cultural or natural history;
g) an item is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a class of NSW’s - cultural or natural places; or - cultural or natural environments.  
Outside of New South Wales heritage is a matter for concern. Andrew Wilson from Bradford University states:
Our present is intrinsically bound up with our past, our sense of identity shaped and moulded by the cultural legacies of our forebears. That’s why organisations such as UNESCO exist to protect the cultural heritage of the world for current and future
generations.

Cultural heritage plays a key part in the quality of our lives, building our sense of identity, proving a rallying point around which we build social cohesion and pride in a shared heritage.
Stonehenge England UNESCO World Heritage Site  (Wikimedia)


Stories from the UK might throw some light on why heritage protection can be poison for some cities and their politicians  Aylin Orbasli from Oxford Brookes University provides a note of caution around urban development process in World Heritage Listed Sites in Edinburgh. She states:

.
Edinburgh’s UNESCO World Heritage Site status has been the subject of several negative news stories lately. David Black in the Guardian called for the city to be stripped of its status for having a cavalier approach to development, while leading Edinburgh architect Lorn Macneal said that the status is an obstacle to allowing historic homes to evolve in the way that they have for hundreds of years.
The Scottish Government, like New South Wales, want to sell off historic buildings. David Black in the Guardian states that the World Heritage declaration for parts of Edinburgh has:
been an unmitigated disaster, and we’d have been better of without it.
Black maintains that heritage tourism is worth annually £1.6bn to the Scottish and city economy and yet he maintains that the city undervalues if historic heritage. He wants to know why the 'power that be' want to 'trash' that heritage.

Edinburgh Clockwise from top-left: View from Calton Hill, Old College, Old Town from Princes Street, Edinburgh Castle, Princes Street from Calton Hill UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Wikimedia)

More than this Scottish conservation architect Lorn MacNeal has stated that Edinburgh is blighted by heritage and its planning system. He went on that
any alterations proposed for historic homes are automatically blocked by city planners, leaving the properties “blighted” by their listed status and unable to be turned into “workable”, modern accommodation.
A 2012 Report on World Heritage Listing in Liverpool threatened to de-list the city, and was a wake up call to city politicians to re-consider their decision around some new city development proposals. These events have been put down to the view that: (1) there are few benefits from the WHS listing; (2) there is poor understanding of the sites WHS listed; (3) there is poor understanding of the value of the WHS listed sites. While these problems were acknowledged the report was considered an opportunity to re-assess the social and cultural aspects of a World Heritage Listing in totality for the city.

Heritage issues created controversy in Dresden Germany and were of seemingly little concern to the local population.

Liverpool Pier Head, with the Royal Liver Building, Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool Building UNESCO World Heritage Site (Wikimedia)


It seems really bizarre that the current batch of NSW political decision makers are considered to be terrified of heritage rules and regulations that they control. It is as if the politicians are frozen by inaction.

The supporters of  neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism amongst NSW politicians act as though they want to destroy the past, they act as if they are ashamed of what has happened before. Do neo-liberals want a clean slate with a new beginning and treat the past as if it never existed?

Hyde Park Barracks, Macquarie Street, Sydney, Australia. UNESCO World Heritage Site (Wikimedia)


Heritage is essential for place making, maintaining a sense of place, and strengthening community identity, and for a robust and sustainable community. The well-being and resilience of communities is determined by their place making process and their ability to retain their identity and sense of place. This needs decision makers who take account of heritage matters and cultural, social and environmental processes that contribute to the historic landscape and the general well-being of these societies.



Monday, 1 May 2017

Anarchism and libertarianism is alive and kicking in Newtown with lots of great posters

Anarchism and libertarism is alive and kicking  in Newtown  with lots of great posters in an around the King Street precinct.



This blogger spotted a host of anarchist posters at various locations in the King Street precinct of Newtown.



It is good to see that rebellion and revolution has not died out under the weight of neo-liberalism or neo-conservatism.



For the uninitiated anarchism is, according to Wikipedia,  a political philosophy that advocates self-governed societies based on voluntary institutions.



Anarchists believe that the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful. There are few capitalist entrepreneurs who would agree with this position.

Another term to describe an anarchist is libertarian, and there are some self-styled libertarians in Federal Parliament. 



The birth of anarchism appears around the French Revolution and the first 19th century philosopher to label themselves anarchist was Frenchman Pierre-Joseph Proudhon.

The Newtown anarchist want to smash capitalism and re-invent the world.



The birth of anarchism can be traced to the 6th century BC and the influence of Taoism. Modern anarchism emerges from the influence of the Enlightenment.

The want-a-be nationalists, neo-liberalism and neo-cons would have you believe that they rule the world.

It is refreshing to see that pluralism is alive and well in the Australian democracy. That the other side still get a go.



It is wonder the neo-cons haven't spat-their-collective-dummies and chucked a wabbly and declared war on Newtown.

Maybe all the Newtown anarchists are just blow-ins in sheep's clothing.

What-ever the situation Australia it is good to see that there still freeeeeee speeeeeech in this country.


Saturday, 29 April 2017

AnnanRoma 2017 at the Botanic Gardens Mount Annan draws big crowds


AnnanRoma 2017 at the Botanic Gardens Mount Annan draws big crowds.




The annual food festival AnnanRoma 2017 in its 10th year draws big crowds. The experience again met the expectations of Macarthur foodies and provided an enjoyable day for all attending. Lots  were still arriving after lunchtime with a constant stream of cars.

The overcast morning cleared up with lots of sun to brighten the saddest souls, with only a few clouds rolling in around lunchtime.

The festival held at The Australian Botanic Gardens Mount Annan was attended by thousands of keen Macarthur foodies eager to try to the offering from stalls run by local food outlets.

The foods stalls  was  set out along the roadway adjacent to the cafe and shop precinct. There were 32 vendors and as well as children's experiences running from 10.00am to 4.00pm,



There was Eat Street with gourmet hamburgers, chicken, sushi, noodles and other tempting dishes to try with local wines and beers.

The sweet tooth was looked after on Sweet Street with ice cream, pastries, chocolate strawberries, macarons, and berries with local coffees and teas.

The long queues at some of the food stalls did not deter any folk, while exercise the patience of some.

Music was provided at Lakeside stage and in the Connections Garden with a host of local talent.



The kids were looked after with Nature Play, Bush Tucker, Eco Art and Whose Poo, where you could guess who goes in must come out. Which garden visitor does this poo belong to?

The success matched the experience in 2016 when some stalls sold out and over 11,000 people attended from all over the Sydney area from far away including Mosman, Manly, Hills District and the Northern Beaches.



The success of today's event was not dampened by the rain that caused the postponement from early April. Botanic Garden's experience manager Rebecca Anderson predicted correctly the large crowds would enjoy the culinary delights.

Ms Anderson said that the festival experience had a stunning reputation that ensured the huge crowds will return in future.



Huge crowds at Picton's 2017 illumin­ARTe festival


There were huge crowds at Picton's 2017 illumin­ARTe festival this evening Saturday 29 April.

The cold did not deter the crowds with temperatures low enough to demand a coat and scarf. There were hosts of food stalls doing a roaring trade and one of the local cafes ran of out of take-a-way coffee cups.

There was light projects on a number of buildings including the old post office, bank building, church and council chambers.

There was lots for the kids to do out the front of the bowling club.

The crowds were so big that you were slowed to a shuffle in the rows between the stalls, The local families and their kids were out in force enjoying a night out.

There was plenty of musical entertainment at the various stages and the night was topped out with fireworks.













Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Forum Celebrating 40 Years of the NSW Heritage Act

Yamba Cottage on Camden Valley Way at Narellan has been at the centre of community concerns around heritage matters in the local area for many years (Camden Images)

Luke Foley Announces Heritage Policy

This morning at State Parliament  Opposition Leader Luke Foley made a number of announcements on heritage matters that the Labor Party will take to the next state election in 2019. Amongst the announcements from  Mr Foley were:
1. Development of a 10 year heritage strategy for NSW that will be a roadmap for heritage management;
2. Restrict the s32 provisions so that the state government cannot plead economic hardship on heritage matters like they have on the Sirius project;
3. Restrict the ability of the Minister for Heritage to ignore recommendations from the Heritage Council;
4. Strengthen the provision of the Heritage Council;
5. Move the Office of Premier and the Cabinet Office into the old Chief Secretary's building on the corner of Macquarie and Bridge Streets.
For those who want to read the speech click here




Heritage Forum Speakers at Parliament House

The forum was introduced by Shadow Minister for Heritage Penny Sharpe MLC and invited a number of speakers to reflect on the 40th anniversary of the Heritage Act passed into law by the Wran Government in 1977.

Speakers were:

1. Meredith Burgmann 

Meredith Burgmann is the former President of the NSW Legislative Council and co-author of the book Green Bans Red Union - the Saving of a City. She spoke about the history of the Green Bans in the 1970s in a legal environment where there were no legal protections for heritage matters. She went on to outline: the development of resident action groups; and the conditions that were conducive to  development of  heritage legislation in the 1970s including (a) community activism around the Vietnam War, (b) Anti-Aparheid, (c) environmental issues and (d) anti-discrimination legislation.

2. Reece McDougall 

Reece McDougall is the former CEO of GML Heritage Consultants and Executive Director of the NSW Heritage Office from 2006 to 2008. He spoke on the history of the 1977 Heritage Act introduced by the Wran Government. He maintains that the conditions that allowed its introduction included (a) the legislation support for the National Trust in 1960, (b) international factors including travel by Australian witnessing overseas activities (c) the green bans (d) the 1976 environment and planning legislation by the Askin Government that was just window dressing. He also outlined the 1998 amendments to the Heritage Act that introduced the State Heritage Register and the advantages of having a separate heritage office in the state government.

Gilbulla is the house built in the late 1890s by JW Macarthur Onslow at Menangle built in the Arts and Crafts style  (Gilbulla)


3. Shaun Carter 

Shaun Carter is the immediate past president of the NSW Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects. He has organised a crowd funding effort and taken the state government to court over the decision to demolish the Sirius building in The Rocks. He spoke about the benefits to the community of retaining its built heritage including (a) acting as a marker that allows stories to remember (b) containing cultural heritage (c) we need to know who we were to know who we are. He bemoaned the loss of the best of 20th century buildings and many are not even listed on local heritage registers.


4. Paul Connell 

Paul Connell is the organiser for the Public Sector for the CFMEU who led the campaign to save the NSW Heritage group within Public Works from privatisation. That is saving the stoneyard at St Peters which is the home of the stonemasons who look after the maintenance of the state governments stock of sandstone buildings.  The stoneyard also has heritage roofing plumbers and carpenters who until the Baird Government used to work with the Government Architect. The stoneyard is the site of (a) apprentice training in traditional trades, (b) stockpiles of Sydney yellow sandstone and (c) centre of WHS.

Former 1940s Stuckey Bakery building in Argyle Street Camden is an example of Camden Modernism (IWillis)



Friday, 14 April 2017

Macarthur author researches the stories of local diggers from the First World War

Cover of Book by Lauren Hokin (L Hokin)

A local Macarthur author Lauren Hokin has just finished a major research and writing project on the First World War Anzacs of the Macarther region. 

Lauren Hokin writes about the First World War

Lauren writes about the impact of the First World War on the our region and why she decided to write about it:

The First World War devastated many communities throughout the country. And this was no different for the small rural population of what is now the Macarthur Region. The Great War was one of the most momentous incidences of recorded history, and a catalyst for much of the events of the 20th Century.
Thus, it has become an integral part of Australia's national narrative. Its impact on our history, society and culture cannot be denied and must be understood if we are to know who we think we are. 
The sacrifice of so many who left for the battlefields and those who gave everything on the home front must be remembered and commemorated. However, with the passage of time, the names and stories of the countless brave men and women who served in the war and those on the home front are becoming lost. 
Back cover of Lauren Hokin's Book

The book, 'Anzacs of Macarthur: The Men and Women Who Served in the First World War,' by Lauren Hokin attempts to remedy this. The book denotes the war time narratives of each of the 1100 plus individuals from the area whom decided to serve and those who stayed behind struggling to deal with a catastrophic world crisis unaware that many of their loved ones would not return home.
So as a community, lets honour and never forget our fellow townsfolk who left for war so long ago but remain in our hearts.

Author 

Lauren Hokin 

Lauren Hokin is a local historian and author of 'Anzacs of Macarthur: The Men and Women Who Served in the First World War.' The book is  for sale for $60 and details the wartime narratives of soldiers, sailors, and nurses from the Macarthur area including Camden. 

If you   interested you can find Lauren  on Facebook Anzacs of Macarthur @macarthur.anzacs or email her at anzacsofmacarthur@gmail.com



Sunday, 26 March 2017

Camden Police Station and Court House

Camden Police Station and Residence

35 John Street
Camden 
Lot 2 DP 826795
Camden Police Station 1997 J Kooyman Camden Images


Camden Court House

33 John Street
Camden
Lot 1 DP 826795

Camden Court House 1991 CWTimes Camden Images

Camden Police Station and Residence


History and Description

 Camden Police Station is a single storey brick building typical of many official police buildings of the last quarter of the nineteenth century

Before the John Street building was constructed police used  a timber lock-up and adjoining residence (c.1844). (http://www.camdenhistory.org.au/chhistoricplaces.html)

The police barracks was built in 1878 and probably the work of the Colonial Architect James Barnet. It was originally built in 1879 as two adjacent police cottages.

Historical sources consider that the Police Sergeant lived in the west end of the building and the constable lived in the east end. The mounted constable boarded elsewhere. The police horse was kept in the non-presbyterian church area (1925-1950's). Wooden posts tethered the horse.  (NSW SHI)

Camden Police Station has a corrugated iron hipped roof and brick chimneys. The building has a paved verandah with carved timber posts and brackets. It has a four panelled timber entrance door with a highlight window and eight pane double hung windows with sandstone sills. The front fa├žade is symmetrically designed with two projecting wings and a central recessed verandah. It is sited adjacent to the courthouse. (NSW SHI)


Condition and Use

These police barracks were built in 1878
Constructed in face brickwork.
Picket fence along footpath has been removed.
The building has been restored and modernised to facilitate its continuing use as a Police Station.
Alterations and additions, 1972 1980. (NSW SHI)
The verandah was once enclosed but has been fully restored in recent times.

The building is no longer used as a police station since the new Local Area Command Police Station was opened at Narellan in 2011.  

Heritage Significance

The building retains good integrity and intactness. (NSW SHI)

The building is representative of the style of official or important early buildings in the town. The building's value lies in its relationship to the other important buildings in the John Street Group. (Australian Heritage Database)

Heritage Listing

Local Environment Plan                       Item  44

Read more

 Phillip Haylock, The Very Sociable Policeman, Camden History, Volume 3 No 7 March 2014, pp. 256-258,
Charlotte Hemans, 'Policing Camden in the early years, Camden Police Station, 1805-1878', Camden History, Vol 2, No 8, September 2009, pp. 305-312
The District Reporter, 6 March 2017

 
Camden John Street Precinct with court house on right hand side of street before the police station was built. The police station was eventually built between Macaria and the court house in 1878.  Image is early 1870s (Camden Images)


Camden Court House


History and Description

 Camden Court House is built on land set aside for this purpose by James and William Macarthur at the time the town allotment plans were laid down. The brothers also offered £100 towards the cost of building.

The first buildings on this site were a timber lock-up and Chief Constable's residence. The present building was commenced in 1855 and completed in 1857 with cells underneath and at the rear. The building was designed during William Weaver's term as Government Architect. A new lock-up was built to replace the old one between 1859-61.


A Court of Petty Sessions at Camden was established by Proclamation on 20 July 1841 after lengthy opposition from both Campbelltown and Picton who were requesting that the Cawdor Court be removed either to Campbelltown or Picton. Until that date the Court was still at Cawdor. (http://www.camdenhistory.org.au/chhistoricplaces.html)

The first Clerk of the Bench in the area was James Pearson who was Clerk at Cawdor until his death on 13 July 1841. John Downes Wood, a nephew of Charles Cowper was appointed the first Clerk of Petty Sessions for Camden by Government Proclamation on 23 September 1841. When the new courthouse was completed the Clerk of the Bench was J.B. Martin, who retained this position for 35 years. (http://www.camdenhistory.org.au/chhistoricplaces.html)


Camden Court House is a small Italianate court building with a temple front loggia with three arches. It is a painted ashlar building with painted chimneys and a gable shingled roof. There is a circular window on the front facade, and twelve pane and two pane double hung windows on the side facades. The entrance door is a six panelled timber door. The cells were constructed underneath and at the rear. (NSW SHI)

Condition and Use

Camden Court House was built between 1855-1860.
The building is in good condition. (NSW SHI)

In 2013 the NSW Government spent $200,000 on refurbishment of Camden court house. (Camden Narellan Advertiser, 25 September 2013)


Heritage Significance

Camden courthouse, like its neighbouring police station, is of little value alone. Its value lies in its relationship to the other important buildings. It is probably the work of colonial architect Alexander Dawson. (Australian Heritage Database)

Heritage Listing

Local Environment Plan                       Item  43
Australian Heritage Commission        Australian Heritage Database  ID 3230

Read more


Iliana Stillitano, ‘Court shut down’, Camden Narellan Advertiser, 1 July 2014