Feature Image: Victory House. Source: ABC News
In a huge win for Chinese-Australian heritage in Ballarat, Council have voted in favour of heritage protections for Victory House in Canadian.
After a decision in August, not to progress a Council Officer recommendation that Victory House be provided interim heritage overlay protections, the National Trust wrote to Ballarat Councillors strongly urging them to reconsider.
In early September the recommendation seeking local heritage overlay protection for the property was brought before Councillors a second time. Ballarat Council unanimously passed a vote in favour of the recommendation, with comments from Councillors noting that the cultural and social attachments of a site are every bit as important as architectural significance.
It was noted at the September meeting that Council’s initial decision against local heritage protections for Victory House were originally based on thinking a place is not of heritage significance because it is not architecturally significant, and due to concerns around fairness to the property owner who purchased the site without a Heritage Overlay.
Ballarat City Council’s Planning Officers had recommended local heritage protection for Victory House after a heritage assessment was triggered by a permit application for its demolition.
In response to Council’s first decision in August and the urgent threat of redevelopment, the Chinese Australian Cultural Society Ballarat Inc. applied for an Interim Protection Order under the Heritage Act 2017, which the Heritage Council granted in late August to allow further assessment.
Various community members, including the National Trust, made submissions in favour of local heritage protections at Council’s meeting in September. Among the presenters was Charles Zhang, President of the Chinese Australian Cultural Society Ballarat Inc. who proposed funds could be publicly raised to purchase Victory House for use as a community cultural centre.