Tenterfield Shire Council has received $100,000 in Heritage Near Me grant funding for a project to involve the community in building a modern inventory of the district’s heritage items and places.
Project officer Tamai Davidson said the initiative will begin with a review of known heritage features – investigating past inventories like the Tenterfield Shire Wide Heritage Study, Tenterfield Main Street Heritage Study 1997 and the Tenterfield Aboriginal Heritage Study – looking for any gaps and identifying opportunities to flesh out the entries.
Council will then work with community members to determine other items that should be included, to increase the diversity of items considered eligible for heritage listing.
A unique aspect of the project was be the facility for community members to add content directly into the heritage inventory, using a real time ‘Wikipedia’ approach. One aspect is to capture ‘spoken history’ so that the stories surrounding heritage items and places can be recorded.
Among the aims of the project is to inspire the community to embrace the diversity of its heritage listings, and ensure the heritage of the shire is well-represented and up-to-date.
Councillors Brian Murray and Bronwyn Petrie joined MP Thomas George to celebrate the success of the grant application, which was born out of the Local Heritage Committee with the help of heritage advisor Deborah Wray.
Cr Murray is a proponent of protecting and augmenting the district’s amenities and hopes project outcomes will aid him in that regard.
Cr Petrie is a fan of Bendigo Council’s heritage website which provides advice on heritage eras and colour schemes, and tips on how to restore and maintain items in a sympathetic manner.
“The biggest threat to heritage is neglect,” she said when council discussed restricting colour palettes on listed properties last year.
“I want to encourage people to embrace our heritage, and not feel that a heritage listing is a burden.”
She hopes this new project will be a step in that direction, encouraging individual research into the background and authenticity of properties. Ultimately she would like to see an easily-accessed database that includes practical information on maintaining heritage properties, such as the appropriate mortar to use on old stone houses.
Mrs Davidson said the project is an information-gathering exercise, with no legal ramifications of what should or shouldn’t have been done to heritage items.
“It will be a good tool for people with listed properties,” she said.
“They will be able to identify why a property has been listed, the changes that have been made and whether or not those changes were considered sympathetic, such as verandah enclosures.”
The project will be overseen by council’s chief corporate officer Kylie Smith, who said the database will provide a good springboard for further research. She is keen to preserve local stories before they’re lost.
“The community changes, but the stories don’t,” she said.
The project is getting underway now, to wrap-up by April next year. It is entirely grant-funded, with no financial contribution required of council.
Helping communities to conserve and share their local heritage is a key feature of the Heritage Near Me Local Heritage Strategic Projects funding stream, Mr Thomas George said.
Priority is given to projects that are collaborative and multi-disciplinary, support long term sustainability through the transfer of skills, knowledge and experience, address an identified community need and increase awareness of local heritage values.
For more information on the Heritage Near Me program, which offers a range of grant programs to assist local communities, owners and managers of heritage items, see www.environment.nsw.gov.au/heritage-near-me