South Australia has a wonderful collection of natural and built heritage. From the Great Australian Bight to the Mount Lofty Ranges, and the wineries and forests of the Limestone Coast, our heritage is now under threat.
The parlous position of South Australia's finances has led to a "develop at any cost" mentality by the State government. In an attempt to generate employment, the government is abandoning our built heritage. A fire sale of state heritage listed assets in Adelaide has included Fort Largs, Z Ward, Glenside Hospital and maybe Martindale Hall .
However the government has not stopped there - our treasure house of local heritage listed buildings is now under threat too. In a heavily slanted discussion paper loaded with leading questions and interspersed with pretty pictures of heritage buildings, we are asked to consider the demolition of local heritage places 'on merit'. What constitutes merit is not explained.
Former Bank of NSW in Adelaide, Now Home to Jamie's Italian Adelaide
The government originally proposed to allow less than one month for consultations, but after strong representations from the National Trust of South Australia consultation has now been extended to October 7. Read about the local heritage reform proposal, and the National Trust response on the Heritage Watch website.
Councils around South Australia are concerned by the proposal to remove any say on local heritage by them or their local communities, putting it in the hands of the Planning Minister's bureaucrats in Adelaide. It's a total contradiction in terms.
Both Local Heritage Listed - Blackwood War Memorial and Uniting Church
The City of Adelaide has taken a lead role in coordinating a local government response, with Lord Mayor Martin Haese inviting councils from around South Australia to meet at Adelaide Town Hall and discuss the issues. While government representatives attended, the National Trust SA were not invited.
The Lord Mayor of the City of Adelaide has invited the public to attend a separate Heritage Community Forum at Adelaide Town Hall on Monday September 26. The Heritage Community Forum will feature a facilitated panel to consider questions posed by community members. The panel comprises representatives from the National Trust SA, International Council on Monuments and Sites, and planning and heritage officers from Adelaide City Council.
An Old Fire Station at Semaphore - Local Heritage Places
The purpose of the Heritage Community Forum is to allow you to have your say, and discuss the proposed changes in the State Government Local Heritage Discussion Paper in an informed atmosphere. Adelaide City Council will use the results of the forum when responding to the State government.
The National Trust SA (NTSA) position is that the consultation period is nowhere near long enough to enable communities to respond in time. They believe that local heritage belongs to the local community, and prime responsibility belongs with them. Most importantly there must be no back door culling of existing local heritage places simply to facilitate developers building where they please.
The NTSA also believes that developer donations to political parties should be outlawed, as in New South Wales. Secret donations have long lubricated the corridors of power, but are a blight on democracy. If developers wish to lobby, they must do it openly and in public through their own industry bodies.
Losing our local heritage places would be a major blow to South Australia. Visitors to the City of Adelaide love and admire our beautiful period buildings, of which around 1400 are local heritage listed. The Planning Minister refuses protection to many more - see Adelaide's Walk of the Condemned. The City Steam Biscuit Factory, once home off the Jade Monkey was also refused local heritage listing. Today it is an ugly bitumen car park.
130 Year Old Former Jade Monkey - Demolished For a Car Park
In the Barossa there are 322 local heritage listed places, in the City of Mitcham 222, Unley has 347, while the City of Port Adelaide Enfield has 202 local heritage listed buildings. Some are grand houses, others are treasured war memorials and ornate former bank buildings. Sadly in country areas local heritage is generally not as widely identified protected.
You can easily find where are the local heritage listed places in your suburb by searching the heritage database online.
There is also a dedicated Let's Keep Port Adelaide's Heritage community if you support the fantastic maritime heritage of Port Adelaide, where a developer wants to demolish the shed housing the iconic Fishermen's Wharf markets.
To find out more about the Heritage Community Forum at Adelaide Town Hall please see the City of Adelaide event page. Hope to see you there!