Via the July 2015 e-News the INTO 2014 Annual Report is being made available to the membership. In that Report I have written a president’s overview. I chose to highlight an aspect of the relationship of member National Trusts within INTO. Many INTO members desire their own advocacy role, their status, to be reinforced by their international organisation – by their INTO offering the capacity to reinforce their role. In providing a couple of examples of how this relationship can be made to work for the benefit of our INTO members, I invite all readers to consider how they might be able to associate INTO with their events and campaigns. The two-way mutual benefit is obvious.
Our INTO member in Indonesia, BPPI, has always impressed me with the way they actively promote and highlight their membership of INTO. At their conferences, annual meetings and events, their banners and presentation slides always include the INTO logo, reminding the viewer that here is an organisation that is part of a global family of like organisations. There is concurrently a none too subtle message that BPPI dos not stand alone but rather has the support of INTO, bringing international kudos and, by association, clout – strengthening their heritage conservation message.
In Australia twice so far this year I have been invited in my INTO presidential capacity to be present at major heritage events in Broken Hill in New South Wales. My participation was sought so as to add an international awareness dimension to the events. The organisers had formed the view that the heritage conservation message they wished to convey would be so much more effective, would carry greater weight, if those present were reminded that across the globe there are millions of people who share a similar heritage vision.
The Broken Hill Branch of the National Trust of Australia (NSW) organized an event to commemorate the centenary of the only act of war on Australian soil in the 1st World War. Known as the Battle of Broken Hill, the 1915 act of war by two Turks, which was suppressed by NSW police and an impromptu local militia, was generally considered to be a nation building event in Australia’s history. More than 300 people commemorated the anniversary at a railway heritage museum where 100 years before a fateful train had pulled out before being besieged in a gun battle. In my speech to the event I outlined the mission of INTO and said that people around the world shared a common vision for respecting our common past: “When you build a nation there are milestone events that occur and some of them are sad and you wish they didn’t happen” I said. “But when they do happen, we learn from them and that’s the essence of heritage”. I said the Picnic Train attack “established Broken Hill as being part of the Australian community that stood up for the values that we all shared in those days, and that we all hopefully still share today”.
In my capacity as INTO’s President I was invited to be present at the Ministerial launch of the announcement of the heritage listing. In a ceremony in front of many hundreds of people, Federal, State and local politicians addressed the crowd, all giving speeches regarding the significance of the City. I was requested to give a speech from an international perspective, reflecting on the international heritage movement and the importance of the heritage listing which occurs in countries the world over where there exists modern heritage protection legislation. I reflected on the fact that it is a sign of the maturity of a nation and the development of the rule of law if a nation has established a heritage protection regime. I outlined the role of INTO, working through its member National Trusts across the globe encouraging the adoption of best practice with respect to heritage protection and the enactment of heritage legislation in all countries.
Simon Molesworth AO QC, INTO President
Detailed Extract from the Statement of Heritage Significance of Broken Hill
The City of Broken Hill has outstanding significance to the nation for its role in creating enormous wealth, for its long, enduring and continuing mining operations, and the community’s deep and shared connection with Broken Hill as the isolated city in the desert, its outback landscape, the planned design and landscaping of the town, the regeneration areas and particularly the physical reminders of its mining origins such as the Line of Lode, the barren mullock heaps, tailings, skimps and slagheap escarpment and relict structures. It exhibits historic qualities in its ongoing mining operations since 1883, the current and relict mining infrastructure and its landscape setting. It is significant for its industrial past and the adoption of vanguard industrial relations and management policies, together with its role as a pioneer in setting occupational health and safety standards.
It demonstrates the principal characteristics of a mining town in a remote location with extensive transport infrastructure and administrative connections to three state capitals and as a rare example of a place subject to Australia’s complex Federal system where differing administrative, social and economic influences are expressed in both tangible and intangible forms. It has social significance for its residents as a place of community pride, endurance, and as a remote mining community resilient to major social and economic change. Broken Hill has strong social significance for all Australians as a place where great wealth was created, as well as strong group associations with the Barrier Industrial Council. It exhibits outstanding aesthetic characteristics as a city in an arid desert setting, as the subject of interest for Australian artists, poets, film makers, TV producers and photographers.