The Beagle Editor,
I would like to reply to a recent report that ESC has adopted a new heritage strategy put forward by their Heritage Advisory Committee & Heritage Adviser
I believe that the ‘strategy’ has been ‘accepted’ by Council’s Heritage Planner - on behalf the Eurobodalla Shire Council?
(Please allow a brief interruption to the text here to explain -that immediately I’ve seen this report, a crazy little tune started to run thru my head that goes something like this-----
“Little boxes --Little boxes – little boxes made of ticky tacky and they all look just the same!” We all sang this tune at one time years ago- will explain later.)
You may recall me writing you that when the newly appointed Heritage Planner took up that position ten or so years ago – I knew he was “young & ‘green” so I supplied him with some pages of facts relating to prominent events or happenings in our historical past to give him a starting point. Soon after there was a somewhat dramatic report by the new Heritage Planner in the Bay Post predicting a brilliant future for our heritage – (I’ve yet to see any of it in the now ten years elapsed)
I attended (on invitation) one of the Committee’s meetings some time back, and at that meeting discovered just how inept and lacking in knowledge the group were in matters relevant to our heritage - disappointingly the Heritage Planner was at that meeting, -“and had nothing to say”!
The meeting was in regard to the siting of a heritage project relevant to the naming of Vulcan Street, Moruya and associated history, a subject dear to my heart
An outstanding feature of that meeting was a statement by chairperson of the Heritage Advisory Committee, was that she had, quote “Thoroughly researched the history”, and then asked my reason (and I assume the signatories to the petition- theirs) my reason for wanting the project to be implemented. Had she in fact read the research she would have found the facts speak for themselves! However, things got worse when I was told (seemingly in ‘confidence’)
“Mr Moore – we don’t put things on site now –we install a plaque notifying where people might see the item”. But then – apparently unknown to chair of the Heritage Advisory Committee & the Heritage Planner – a plaque already exists - mounted alongside a nearby restaurant’s doorway (and containing some wrong factual information) I know for a fact – two previous owners of the business had sold it thru embarrassment as tourists wanting to see the item had to be told of our Council’s ineptitude & lack of knowledge and feelings for our heritage!
At that meeting - I carried with me a petition signed by 1,000 ESC residents (including 400 business owners) supporting a concept that in fact encompasses & promotes almost all of the ‘stuff’ these people will always ‘struggle’ to deal with!
One thousand locals can see this project will work and support it. So now, let me recall for you, my experience in a previous occurrence in this area- I’m sure you’ll see the same thing happening again!
Some time back, the ESC advertised for volunteers with knowledge of local events, buildings, special places, bridle trails and mining etc. to come forward and register their interest in seeing hither-to items not known of, recorded for posterity.
The ESC had appointed a Heritage Architect to conduct the project. He then organised & allocated a section to each of several persons to further research and put forward in a more professional manner. I put my hand up for mining – even to supplying hand drawn mapswhich required several weeks of work & research - (no wonder they shouted Eureka! when they saw them)
During a visit to the mining area at Dwyer’s Creek the Heritage Architect chose certain areas he considered worth preserving, stating “I would soon notice a change in the way these sites were looked after”!! One such area was the Arsenic Collection Chamber building at Dwyer’s creek crossing. The Heritage Architect was adamant this item was ‘well worth’ preserving!
So now to another special invite – you guessed it – it was from the then Mayor, Fergus Thompson! It was to see a hand over ceremony featuring our contribution to heritage and so on and we were to see the new Council Heritage Planner in action!
The stage was set – the huge chamber screen lit up and as if by magic all these wonderful squares and oblong ‘tick boxes’ appeared. The Heritage Architect was mute and sat unnoticed in the background.
Mayor Thompson paraded up and down extolling the ability of their heritage officer, “Look what he can do” he said. I just didn’t have the heart to ask if the ‘heritage man” could use a pick & shovel - it really is what this is all about you know--- “just use of a pick & shovel”!
Want to know about the Arsenic Collection Chamber building? Well –I worked there one time - had a lawn – cut the grass. What’s it like now? I can’t tell you - it’s so overgrown I can’t find the place!
You see, those ‘little boxes’ I seen on the big screen were made of ticky tacky and didn’t mean a damned thing! However, things might change now, you see – there’s all these you- beaut heritage advisers on hand to “show ‘em how to do it right”!
So, there’ll be:
Bigger boxes--- bigger boxes--- but they will still be made of made of ticky tacky!
The song goes on;
Little boxes on a hillside
Little boxes all the same
There’s a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And their all made of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.
Norm Moore Moruya