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National Trust Statement Regarding Federation Square

In response to the government’s plans to demolish the Yarra Building at Federation Square for the development of a flagship retail store, the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) has issued the following statement:

The National Trust considers that Federation Square is a place of architectural, aesthetic, historic, and social significance to the state of Victoria.

The National Trust believes that a masterplan subject to a process of public consultation should be prepared as a matter of urgency to guide any future development at Federation Square, including any proposed replacement of the Yarra Building, landscape design, and any station entrance associated with the construction of Town Hall Station as part of the Melbourne Metro Tunnel project.

The National Trust opposes any redevelopment at Federation Square which is undertaken without transparency and a genuine process of public consultation. We are concerned that the proposed development of a flagship retail store at Federation Square is inconsistent with the objectives outlined in the Civic and Cultural Charter for Federation Square, and inconsistent with the site’s high degree of social and cultural significance which has evolved and strengthened since Federation Square was conceived and constructed.

Quotes attributable to Simon Ambrose, Chief Executive Officer, National Trust of Australia (Victoria).

Media Contact: Felicity Watson, Advocacy Manager

Image by Lisa Gervasoni

Smart Planning?

On 16 October, the State Government released the Reforming the Victoria Planning Provisions discussion paper for consultation as part of the Smart Planning project initiated by the current government. In December, we made a submission to the State Government in response to the proposed reforms. While broadly supportive of the stated intentions, we raised strong concerns regarding the proposals outlined in the Discussion Paper, and in particular criticised the the lack of detail regarding proposed reforms to the Victorian Planning Provisions, and the lack of broad public consultation. Continue Reading →

Aerial photographs of the Shrine of Remembrance, Melb, Robert James Moss, 1980, SLV_cropped

Domain Parkland & Memorial Precinct added to the National Heritage List

One of Australia’s most intact government domains and environs, including landmarks such as Government House, the Domain Parklands, the Shrine of Remembrance and National Trust property La Trobe’s Cottage, as well as some of Melbourne’s best known vistas, has been permanently added to the National Heritage List. The area, to be known as Melbourne’s Domain Parkland and Memorial Precinct – encompassing 109 hectares south of the CBD between St Kilda Road and the Yarra River – secured emergency heritage protection in February 2017 in the face of development pressures from Melbourne’s Metro Rail Project. Continue Reading →


National Trust responds to Melbourne Metro Project Early Works Plan and Precinct Development Plans

At the end of last year the National Trust prepared a substantial submission to the Cross Yarra Partnership (CYP) in response to the Early Works Plan and Precinct Development Plans released as part of the Melbourne Metro Project. As part of our submission to CYP, we expressed our concerns regarding various issues, including the lack of Traditional Owner consultation; the extensive tree removal proposed; the urban design response of the new built form; the relocation of various pieces of public art; over-site development at the new stations; and impacts on Federation Square and the Campbell Arcade.

While we understand the strategic justification for the project, and acknowledge that heritage is but one factor that will constrain the design and construction, in our submission we emphasised the importance of cultural heritage across the footprint of the project, particularly in regard to community engagement and satisfaction with the project, placemaking within the urban design response, and in leaving an enduring legacy for the future of the City.  Continue Reading →


Further demolition proposed at the Former Hoffman Brickworks site

The National Trust prepared a submission this month in response to a permit application that proposes the complete demolition of the former brick Pressing Shed and former Engine House, and the construction of a 24-level residential tower, within the heritage core of the Former Brickworks site. Our organisation has been actively involved in the preservation of this site for three decades, including classifying the place on our Heritage register at the State level in 1988. We note that a significant amount of heritage fabric has already been demolished, heavily altered and removed from the site since it was first added to our register in 1988. It is our understanding that the adaptive re-use of the former brick Pressing Shed and former Engine House was intended to offset the construction of new built form and significant heritage impacts resulting from earlier permits at the site. As such, we believe that it is unacceptable to even contemplate the complete demolition of these buildings. Continue Reading →


Planning Panels Victoria releases Panel Report on Sunbury Rings Cultural Landscape

From August to October 2017, the National Trust attended a Planning Panel hearing to advocate for the protection of the Sunbury Rings Cultural Landscape, classified by the Trust in June 2015. The landscape, in the Jacksons Creek valley, includes a number of highly significant Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal heritage places, including rare Aboriginal earth rings, which form a cultural landscape that has significant historical, aesthetic, and scientific values. The classification was developed in consultation with the Traditional Owners, the Wurundjeri Tribe Land and Compensation Cultural Heritage Council, for whom this is a place of ongoing cultural and spiritual significance. Continue Reading →

Daffodils in Rows_AL

New public reserve planned at the Former Smiths Nursery

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.

Continue Reading →

Exterior front Phot by Tony Knox

The City of Bendigo progress heritage listing for Nanga Gnulle

In early December the National Trust prepared a submission in response to Planning Scheme Amendment C234 to apply heritage overlay protection to ‘Nanga Gnulle’, located at 40 Harley Street, Strathdale. While supportive of the Amendment, in our submission we expressed our concerns regarding the recommendation not to apply ‘Internal Alteration Controls’ to the place, and the modest curtilage proposed to accompany the main residence. Continue Reading →


HAVE YOUR SAY: Melbourne Metro Tunnel Project

Draft Development Plans, Draft Early Works Plan and Heritage Permits for the Metro Tunnel Project are now available for public comment. Feedback will only be open until Friday 15 December, 2017, and can be submitted here. Further details and links below: Continue Reading →

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Footscray Oak highlights Need for Maribyrnong Tree Protection

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.