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MINISTER ANNOUNCES CABIN COMMUNITIES TO BE LISTED ON

STATE HERITAGE REGISTER - Media release 24th April 2012

 

Shack owners from Little Garie, Era and Burning Palms in the Royal National Park, south of Sydney, have welcomed The Hon Robyn Parker MP, Minister for the Environment and Heritage’s announcement yesterday that the cabins communities at Little Garie, Era and Burning Palms are to be added to the State’s Heritage Register.

The announcement was made at the National Trust Heritage Awards where Minister Parker was the keynote speaker (see attached Media Release from the Minister).

“It is so significant to us that this announcement was made at the National Trust Heritage Awards” Protection League President, Helen Voysey said, “It was the National Trust listing of our communities in 1993 that eventually put an end to the NPWS policy of demolishing our shacks. “Our parents and grandparents worked to save the land from development and saw it added to the National Park in 1953. My generation’s battle has been to see the shacks and their communities protected.” Ms Voysey said.

“With this announcement it is clear that we have at last achieved recognition of the cultural heritage that is embodied in our shack communities. There is the tangible heritage of the shacks themselves, but also the intangible – the strong connections of people and place that has led our members to work hard over sixty years to have our shack communities preserved.

“After a Court battle with the NPWS in 2006, our Mediation Agreement with NPWS included a clause that there be a joint nomination for State Heritage Register listing of our communities.

“The Protection League engaged Heritage Consultant Geoff Ashley to prepare our Nomination. Mr Ashley is a specialist in huts in remote locations, having contributed to protection and restoration of Kosiuscko back-country huts and Mawson’s Hut in Antarctica. With the assistance and co-operation of the NPWS and Royal National Park Area Manager, Michael Treanor, the nomination was finalised and submitted it last year. ”

“When the nomination was placed on public exhibition, the Heritage Council received a near record number of supporting submissions, only surpassed by the nomination of the town of Braidwood,” Ms Voysey said.

“The listing nomination recognises that the cabin communities are of State significance meeting five of the seven criteria – historical values, aesthetic values, social significance, rarity and representative values.”

 

Gazettal of Listing on the State Heritage Register of RNP Coastal Cabin Communities of South Era, Little Garie and Burning Palms.

  

 

 

 

SIGNIFICANCE - WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY:

 

"The historical and social development of the shack areas is highly significant, as it is a rare illustration of a community, building group and cultural landscape developing in the absence of amenities, regulated planning, building codes and vehicular access. Self-regulating communities are becoming increasingly rare within NSW.” (Brooks, Conservation Management Plan. p 96).


“Conservation and management of individual cabins and the cabins areas generally, should recognise that their primary values are based more on the collective social values of the cabins communities than on physical characteristics or fabric of individual cabins or their immediate surrounds.” (Brooks p 152)

 

“The Era Conservation area is a cultural landscape featuring a now rare example of a “depression-architecture” style community with its original 1920s technology relatively intact and satisfies the following heritage criteria: “Importance for demonstrating the distinctive way of life of the community and its processes which are both of exceptional interest and in danger of being lost.” (National Trust Listing 1993)

 

SHARING OUR HERITAGE - THE FUTURE WAY FORWARD


For the heritage values to be retained into the future, the custodianship of the people of the cabin communities must be recognised and afforded protection.

The shack people who are descendants of the original builders and owners, provide a tangible link with the history.

The value of this heritage to the broader community is not only the buildings, but also the knowledge and responsibility that the people contribute in maintaining the shack areas. Had it not been for the people organising to save the shacks from demolition, these unique communities would have been destroyed.

Now the challenge is to find a way forward that does not threaten to reduce and disperse the communities

Sharing this heritage for future generations requires a new approach, with the stewardship of the people of the communities playing a central role.