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.
13th September 2017
Yesterday the National Trust made a submission at the independent Inquiry and Advisory Committee (IAC) hearing, which is considering the Environmental Effects Statement (EES), and public submissions, in relation to the proposed West Gate Tunnel Project. As documented on our blog here, our original submission to the EES raised concerns regarding the impact to natural heritage due to widespread losses of healthy mature trees, long term impacts on native vegetation, particularly within the waterways and environs of Moonee Ponds Creek and Stony Creek, and the visual impact on various heritage places throughout the project. Our submission to the public hearing yesterday highlighted further serious concerns, including the extent of engagement with Traditional Owner Groups, the substantial green infrastructure that is proposed to be removed across the entire footprint of the project, and the proposed twin elevated road structures above Footscray Road.
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Citizen Heritage: Fishermans Bend Workshop
Sunday 17th September
Portable Iron Houses.
Fishermans Bend traces the industrial and historical growth of Melbourne across the last 150 years. Originally swampland, the area skirted the shantytowns of Gold Rush-era Melbourne’s population boom and been at the heart of the growth of industry over the last century, since the establishment of the GMH factory prior to World War II. In the postwar era, Fishermans Bend became a major employment and accommodation hub for migrants and represented one of the most significant threads of the rich multicultural history of Melbourne. Today, Fisherman’s bend is set to become Australia’s largest urban development project and its heritage and historical stories are in danger of being lost to rapid development.
The inclusion of the Former Commonwealth Note and Stamp Printing building (located at 115 Victoria Parade, Fitzroy) comes after a controversial redevelopment proposal by Australian Catholic University to construct an additional five storeys to the rear of building and the construction of a nearby 12-storey tower. The matter was decided at a Heritage Council hearing in July after the owners of the site, the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne and Australian Catholic University, initially objected to its inclusion. This objection, which was later withdrawn, came despite the recommendation of Heritage Victoria to include the building on the register. Continue Reading →
In welcome news this month, the City of Greater Bendigo have voted unanimously to progress heritage overlay protection for 40 Harley Street, Strathdale, also known as ‘Nanga Gnulle’.The significant postwar mud-brick residence was designed by noted architect and environmentalist Alistair Knox in the early 1970s, incorporating an eclectic range of reclaimed materials, many of which have provenance to the Bendigo area. In December 2016 we were contacted by our Bendigo Branch and concerned members of the local community regarding a permit application for the property that proposed the demolition of the main residence, the razing of the vast established gardens, and for the subdivision of the land to accommodate the construction of multiple townhouses. After receiving a large volume of objections to the permit application (you can read ours here) the City of Greater Bendigo commissioned architectural consultancy firm Built Heritage Pty Ltd to undertake a heritage assessment to determine whether the house reached the threshold for local heritage significance, and should thus be spared from demolition. Continue Reading →
Last week we were alerted to an article published in the Star Weekly regarding the plight of Seymour Cottage, a significant 19th century gold rush-era cottage in Romsey, that has fallen into disrepair and requires significant restoration. According to the article, Seymour Cottage has sustained extensive termite damage that could lead to potential structural failures and is closed to the public due to safety concerns. The building was entrusted to the Romsey and Lancefield Districts Historical Society in the 1980s and they have launched a financial appeal to preserve it for future generations.
The National Trust has objected to a heritage permit application for adaptive re-use and new works at the Ballarat Railway Complex. Overall, we do not believe the proposal achieves a balance between activation and conservation, or that the proposed use of the Goods Shed is appropriate given the heritage values of the place.
The National Trust took the opportunity to provide feedback on the concept plans for the Precinct Redevelopment in January of this year. At this time, we submitted that the proposed adaptive re-use of the Goods Shed would have unacceptable heritage impacts, and was not consistent with conservation policies for the site contained in the Conservation Management Plan. We also raised concerns regarding the visual impact of the hotel on the station complex and surrounding heritage places. Unfortunately many of these concerns do not appear to have been addressed in the permit documentation which has been provided to Heritage Victoria. Continue Reading →