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  • social significance

    social significance a discussion paper D enis Byrne H

    elen Brayshaw Tracy Ireland

    a discussion paper

    NSW NATIONAL PARKS AND WILDLIFE SERVICE

    Denis Byrne Helen Br ayshaw Tr acy I re land

  • Cover photograph: The cover photograph shows an audience at the Boomerang picture theatre,Taree, c.1923. Along with many such country town theatres in NSW prior to the 1960s the Boomerang was segregated, Aboriginal people being restricted to certain sections of seating, usually the front rows.The sections of theatres reserved for Aboriginal people were often roped off. Aboriginal people also usually entered the local cinema by a side door rather than through the main foyer. In this photograph a group of Aboriginal people can be seen sitting in the front two rows on the left-hand side. Source: Greater Taree History Resource Unit

  • social significance

    a discussion paper

    Denis Byrne Helen Br ayshaw Tr acy I re land

    Research Uni t , Cu l tur a l Her i tage Div i s ion

  • Published by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, June 2001 Second edition June 2003

    Copyright © NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service

    ISBN 0 7313 6365 5

    NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service PO Box 1967 Hurstville NSW 2220 Phone: 1300 361 967 or 02 9585 6444 Fax: 02 9585 6555 Web site: www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au

    Cover photograph: The cover photograph shows an audience at the Boomerang picture theatre, Taree, c.1923. Along with many such country town theatres in NSW prior to the 1960s the Boomerang was segregated, Aboriginal people being restricted to certain sections of seating, usually the front rows. The sections of theatres reserved for Aboriginal people were often roped off. Aboriginal people also usually entered the local cinema by a side door rather than through the main foyer. In this photograph a group of Aboriginal people can be seen sitting in the front two rows on the left-hand side. Source: Greater Taree History Resource Unit

    Material presented in this publication may be copied for personal use or republished for non-commercial purposes provided that the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service is fully acknowledged as the copyright owner. Apart from these purposes or for private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part of this publication may be reproduced by any process without written permission from the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. Inquiries should be addressed to the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.

    The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent those of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.

  • iii

    The Social Significance discussion paper introduces a new era in cultural heritage assessment and management for the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. This and other research projects currently being conducted by the Service are designed to move cultural heritage management in NSW away from its traditional paradigm of Aboriginal and historic (‘white’) heritage being separate and discrete categories or fields. This move is underpinned by the principle that any one place in the landscape may hold significance for many different people for many different reasons.

    Certainly, the work currently being undertaken to investigate the attachment which migrant communities have to national parks is pioneering a direction for heritage work that fits within neither of the two cultural heritage ‘streams’ mentioned above. Yet this is a legitimate area of research for the Service that should prove important in influencing the way park values are assessed, managed and interpreted in the future.

    Advocacy of social significance is not about devaluing the contributions made by the so- called heritage professions. Instead it is putting archaeological, architectural and historical significance within a broader context, such that rather than being the primary determinants of significance, they become tools to support and better understand the attachment of communities to heritage places and items.

    Although the concept of social value does at least appear to be better understood for Indigenous heritage than for non-Indigenous heritage, it is still rarely provided for. While there is widespread acceptance that Indigenous people should primarily determine the significance of places associated with their heritage, and that very often significance has little to do with the presence or absence of physical evidence, heritage agencies throughout the country continue to grapple with the embedded priority which heritage practice gives to physical fabric. Also, the emphasis which social significance gives to people-place attachment at a local level seems to sit uneasily with the idea of State and National heritage listings for Indigenous heritage places.

    This discussion paper provides a fascinating account of the history of significance assessment in NSW and includes a number of key recommendations for the way forward. The challenge for the Service now is to apply these to its day to day heritage management activities.

    Jason Ardler Director, Cultural Heritage.

  • FOREW ORD i i i ACKNOW LEDGEMENTS vi i AUTHORSHIP vi i FEEDBACK vi i i INTRODUCTION ix CHAPTER OUTLINES x

    Part 1 Stating the problem 1 EXPANDING THE DEFINITION 1.1 New d i rect ions 3 1.2 The assessment o f s ign i f icance 4 1.3 Looking for the r ight model 6 1.4 Guid ing pr inc ip les 9 1.5 Suppor t ing an hol is t ic model o f cu l tura l her i tage 10

    2 THE CURRENT SITUATION 2.1 Int roduct ion 13 2.2 Abor ig ina l her i tage and EIA: the neglect o f soc ia l s ign i f icance 15 2.3 The under- record ing of Abor ig ina l post -contact her i tage 17 2.4 Profess ional isat ion 19 2.5 Natura l is ing Cul tura l Her i tage 21

    3 HOW DID W E GET HERE? 3.1 A three-phase h is tory 23 3.2 Timel ine for cu l tura l her i tage management in NSW 25

    Part 2 Deeper issues 4 INTRODUCTION: CULTURAL HERITAGE AND THE SOCIAL SCIENCES 43

    5 W HAT ARE COMMUNITIES? 5.1 W hat is cu l ture? 45 5.2 Local knowledge and the l ived wor ld 46 5.3 W hat is a cu l tura l landscape? 49

    6 THE OLD MODEL: HERITAGE AS MATERIAL 6.1 Int roduct ion 53 6.2 Cul ture commodi f ied 53 6.3 Int r ins ic s ign i f icance 55

    7 NEW MODEL: HERITAGE AS SOCIAL ACTION 7.1 Cul tura l change and soc ia l s ign i f icance 58 7.2 Promot ing her i tage va lues 64 7.3 Her i tage and ident i ty 67

  • Part 3 Legislation, policy & practice 8 CHARTERS, LEGISLATION AND POLICY 8.1 Int roduct ion 73 8.2 Internat ional convent ions and protocols 73 8.3 Overseas leg is la t ion 78 8.4 Austra l ian Federa l leg is la t ion and pol icy 83 8.5 Inters tate leg is la t ion and pol icy 87 8.6 NSW cul tura l her i tage leg is la t ion 99 8.7 Chronology of Abor ig ina l her i tage pol icy 103 8.8 Chronology of h is tor ic her i tage pol icy 108 8.9 Pol icy t rends in h is tor ic her i tage 111 8.10 Conclus ions 115

    9 REVIEW OF REPORTS ON ABORIGINAL HERITAGE 9.1 Int roduct ion to review of EIA repor ts 119 9.2 Consul tants ’ br ie fs 120 9.3 Background research 121 9.4 Abor ig ina l communi ty invo lvement 122 9.5 Sign i f icance assessment 126

    10 REVIEW OF REPORTS: HISTORIC (NON-INDIGENOUS) HERITAGE 10.1 Int roduct ion 130 10.2 Discuss ion of resu l ts 130

    11 PRACTITIONER INTERVIEW S 11.1 Summary of in terview outcomes 134

    Part 4 Conclusions and recommendations 12.1 Progress ing change 139 12.2 An hol is t ic model for cu l tura l her i tage 140 12.3 NPW S leadership 141 12.4 The s ign i f icance concept 141 12.5 Envi ronmenta l impact assessment (EIA) 142 12.6 Non- Ind igenous communi t ies 143 12.7 Her i tage as soc ia l act ion 143

    APPENDIX 1: SIGNIFICANCE TERMINOLOGY 145

    APPENDIX 2: PRACTITIONER INTERVIEW S 150

  • vii

    The NPWS wishes to thank all those heritage professionals in NSW who generously agreed to be interviewed for this project. Thanks are also extended to the heritage staff of agencies in other states and at the Australian Heritage Commission who offered advice and provided research materials. Particular thanks are due to Cath Snelgrove for advice given early in the project, also to Anne Bickford, Kath Sale, and Meredith Walker for comments and advice at various stages. We gratefully acknowledge Maria Nugent who provided critical comment on the first draft and made suggestions for editorial changes.

    Denis Byrne is Manager of the Research Unit in the Cultural Heritage Division, NPWS. He first worked for the Service in the early 1980s as project archaeologist for the Five Forests on the Far South Coast. He subsequently worked as a consultant for several years in NSW during the 1980s and 1990s. His PhD thesis addressed the history and politics of cultural heritage management in Australia and Thailand.

    Helen Brayshaw gained her PhD with a thesis examining Aboriginal material culture of the Herbert-Burdekin district of north Queensland. Since the early 1980s she has worked continuously as a consultant archaeologist in NSW and Queensland, principally in the EIA field in relation to Aboriginal heritage. Her work outside EIA includes the development of interpretation material for Middle Head in Sydney Harbour National Park and the non- Indigenous heritage studies components for the Upper and Lower Northeast forests Comprehensive Regional Agreements (CRA).

    Tracy Ireland was employed by the NSW Department of Urban Affairs and Planning and the NSW Her

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