Saturday, December 15, 2007

Support the National Nomination for Coal River

Parks and Playgrounds Movement seek your support for the National Nomination of the Coal River Heritage Park which includes the Coal River Precinct and Convict Lumber Yard at Newcastle for placement on the National Heritage List.

The Heritage Park is situated at the entrance to the Hunter River and includes all the public lands directly linked by distinctive landform, landscape, built environment, relics and history to convict coalmining, port development, and the founding of the city of Newcastle. It is an area of vital Aboriginal significance and cultural heritage demonstrating unique transitions in Australia’s journey to Nationhood.

Notwithstanding Newcastle’s obvious significant claim it has suffered because its convict heritage values have not been widely acknowledged protected and promoted. This has led to uncoordinated management and a lack of financial and tourist support for the area. For example, the recent Convict Sites of Punishment exhibition at the Hyde Park Barracks identified certain potential world heritage convict places but inexplicably failed to mention Newcastle’s convict sites which include the convict coalmining at Colliers Point which returned the first export shilling made in the colony of NSW and the convict construction of Macquarie Pier which was one of the largest civil engineering undertakings in the colony connecting the mainland to Nobbys Island (Whybaygamba). It is disappointing that Newcastle’s unique heritage was overlooked and not directly mentioned in the potential World Heritage Convict Sites exhibition.

Newcastle’s Coal River Heritage Park marks a series of important transitions in Australia’s journey to nationhood; from government industry to private enterprise, from convict to free labour, from punishment to profit, from a natural to a human-fashioned landscape.

The National recognition and further development of the Coal River Heritage Park will present an unparalleled opportunity to show large numbers of Australian and overseas visitors crucial elements of the Muloobinbah and convict story in a vibrant, lively and accessible park setting.

Coal River Precinct is the gateway to the Hunter and the front door to the City of Newcastle and it is bizarre that this area’s significance to the heritage of Australia is not fully recognised and promoted.

On behalf of the Parks and Playgrounds Movement in Newcastle I particularly ask you to help protect this unique heritage place and support the attached nomination which was prepared by the University of Newcastle’s Coal River Working Party chaired by Dr Erik Eklund.

Download the final version of the National Heritage Nomination

We thank you for your help and ask you to Email your support to:

The Hon Peter Garrett MP,
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

Please advise me by return Email of the action you can take to support the national nomination..

Yours Sincerely,

Doug Lithgow
Freeman of the City of Newcastle

President Parks and Playgrounds Movement

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