This week we made a submission to Heritage Victoria regarding a permit for a six lot subdivision and creation of a public reserve at the Former Smiths Nursery site at Riddells Creek, in the Macedon Ranges.
The Former Smiths Nursery site is on the Victorian Heritage Register as one of Victoria’s earliest plant nurseries which played a significant role in the trade of Australian native plants and trees both cultivated and existing, sourced from the slopes of Mt Macedon. The old nursery site and display garden are clearly evident at the site with a wide range of plantings arranged in rows. The site contains the potential for further archaeological investigation that may reveal information regarding operation of the nursery and mid-century nursery practice in Victoria. The site is located on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri and contains Areas of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Sensitivity, particularly important given its proximity to the Riddells Creek.
The National Trust is supporting a group of Footscray residents fighting to save a historic oak tree on Hyde Street. With a large canopy extending over 5 property boundaries, the tree is estimated to be more than 100 years old, and provides amenity for residents and habitat for wildlife. However no permit is required for its removal, so residents were taken by surprise when the owner of the property engaged an arborist to remove it, to facilitate future development on the site. While at the time of writing works to remove the tree have ceased, approximately 50% of the canopy has been removed, leaving it in a perilous state.
In response, the National Trust is calling on the City of Maribyrnong to create a Significant Tree Register, and to initiate planning controls to protect trees on the Register. The Conversation recently reported that “Melbourne’s western suburbs have tree canopy coverage of only 5% to 10%, compared to between 10% and 30% in the rest of the city’s suburbs.” With current development pressures in Footscray and other areas in the municipality, including infrastructure projects such as the West Gate Tunnel, it is therefore crucial to protect existing trees.
The Footscray oak tree has now been nominated to the National Trust’s Register of Significant Trees, and will be considered by the Trust’s Expert Tree Committee in December, however inclusion on the Register would not provide legal protection for the tree.
You can show your support for trees in the City of Maribyrnong by signing this petition.
News that the Minister for Planning has overruled recommendations by Heritage Victoria and the Heritage Council of Victoria to add the 1954 APM Boiler House in Alphington to the Victorian Heritage Register has reignited community debate about the importance of our industrial and post-war heritage places. Following a nomination to the Register in 2016 (which was supported by the National Trust) the landmark Boiler House was assessed by Heritage Victoria as having technical and scientific significance to the state of Victoria as one of the earliest examples of glazed curtain walling, a recommendation upheld by the Heritage Council of Victoria. For the first time however, the Minister used his powers to overturn the recommendation, effectively paving the way for the building’s demolition, regardless of its significance. The National Trust has written to the Minister for Planning expressing disappointment in this decision. Continue Reading →
The recent history of Burnham Beeches has seen up to eight different owners and operators, each proposing development plans with varying degrees of changes and interventions to the 22.5 hectare property and its significant Art Deco residence, known as the Norris Building. None of these development plans have been seen through to fruition, with the exception of the Forest and Garden Wing extension made to the Norris building in the early 1980s, an extension in the Art Deco style undertaken prior to the current heritage planning controls on the site. The lack of significant conservation works to the Norris Building and activation of the site more broadly has seen the property largely unoccupied for the last 25 years. The National Trust along with our Dandenong Ranges Branch have been involved in the planning processes of numerous applications over the last 15 years. Throughout these applications we have strongly supported the ongoing adaptive re-use and activation of the site necessary to protect this place for future generations. Given that the latest plans for the site by the current owners are about to be considered by the Yarra Ranges Shire Council, we thought it was worth taking a close look at our archival files on the property, and considering this permit in the context of the site’s development history.