Of all the constituent types, rural heritage is amongst a group that struggles the most in adapting to 21st Century urbanisation. By urbanisation, I mean the incipient and often rapacious development that creeps up on some of the country’s very earliest farming estates; reducing their curtilage and settings to compromised remnants.
The nature of distortion that is set in train after each one of these items (farms and farm houses from the 18th and 19th Centuries) is heritage listed, is cause for much concern. The onslaught of suburbia, industry, infrastructure and commerce upon the fragile settings of theses delicate historical remnants should provide the context of policy reform.
A lot more research by way of heritage impact statements, conservation management plans and schedules of conservation work needs to be carried out in order to ascertain the true levels of devastation in the sector. What is of concern is the ineffectual achievement of heritage listing as a means of capturing and communicating the now threatened cultural values comprised in the remnant rural heritage stock of NSW.
While listing may go some way towards conserving important physical fabric, it largely fails to achieve its own programmatic ideal of communicating heritage values to those for whom it is targeted i.e. the people of NSW. These concerns highlight the problems associated with the viability of heritage listing as a means of capturing and communicating historic heritage values.
Paul Rappoport – Heritage 21 – 1 June 2013
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