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Preservation Across the Globe Forum 9 October 2012 – Washington DC, U.S.A. Heritage Conservation Practice. The model of the Australian National Trusts.

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Presentation on theme: "Preservation Across the Globe Forum 9 October 2012 – Washington DC, U.S.A. Heritage Conservation Practice. The model of the Australian National Trusts."— Presentation transcript:

1 Preservation Across the Globe Forum 9 October 2012 – Washington DC, U.S.A. Heritage Conservation Practice. The model of the Australian National Trusts Professor Simon R Molesworth AO QC Executive Chairman, International National Trusts Organisation International Affairs Ambassador, Australian Council of National Trusts


3 Preservation Across the Globe

4 Australian Council of National Trusts 6 states + 2 territories = 8 National Trusts


6 Preservation Across the Globe *The 8 Australian National Trusts are independent membership-based organisations *All have been given tax-deductible charity status which means tax payers may make donations to the Trusts which are tax deductible. *All these Trusts have been recognised in heritage and planning legislation giving them specific rights and responsibilities – 6 of them were created by statute. In particular, all have the right or “standing” to be consulted or intervene in statutory heritage processes.

7 Preservation Across the Globe *Seven of the 8 Australian National Trusts own heritage properties which they open to the public. There are just under 400 Trust properties open to the public. *All the Trusts have members, who are people who share a vision for heritage conservation, paying a fee to join. In Australia there are about 95,000 Trust members. The governing board of seven of the Australian Trusts are solely elected/appointed by the members, true to their NGO status. In Western Australian, the State Government also has the right to appoints board members.

8 Preservation Across the Globe *All the Trusts employ professional staff, in total about 400 people across Australia. *The professional staff are supported by teams of volunteers who have roles ranging from the giving of expert advice to working at heritage properties acting as event hosts, guides, gardeners etc. There are about 3,000 volunteer workers. *Many tasks, such as heritage assessment or the oversight of the smaller properties, are delegated to volunteer committees of members.

9 Preservation Across the Globe Government grants. All the Trusts receive some Government funding – grants - from both the national Australian Government and their local State Government – but it is a small contribution far below their needs. Donations. All the Trusts depend heavily of membership support through subscriptions, donations and fundraising through special events. Entry Fees. All the Trusts charge entry fees to non-members, such as tourists, to enter their heritage properties and charge everyone for special events, like musical or theatrical performances which take place within these properties. Retail sales. All of the Trusts have retail outlets within their properties, selling Trust-branded items and other items relevant to the heritage place. So historical places may sell mock heritage artefacts or related works of art, while great gardens may sell garden produce, such as plants grown on the Trust properties.

10 Preservation Across the Globe Accepting their intergenerational equity obligations, the National Trusts in Australia are custodians of their heritage places for current and future generations. We manage the properties as exemplars of “best practice” putting policy and principle into practice.



13 Preservation Across the Globe A critical part of the role of National Trusts in Australia is advocacy for more and better heritage conservation. Activism has always been a hallmark of our function. We lobby governments, commence legal challenges and carry out media campaigns. Trust members have been known to “occupy” sites preventing their demolition. Finding a strong voice and channelling that expression effectively – with influence and constructive persuasion has always been a key to Australian National Trust success.


15 Preservation Across the Globe Heritage identification and then professional assessment is a central role for most Australian Trusts. Expert volunteer committees, usually coordinated by a professional staff member, assess buildings, precincts, gardens, trees and collections. National Trust Heritage Registers record the outcome of research. This National Trust assessment work then becomes the foundation for applications to have many of these “listed” places registered on Government Heritage Registers. National Trust registers have the force of public opinion, while the Government registers have the force of law.



18 Preservation Across the Globe Awareness raising of the importance of heritage conservation is a key role for our National Trusts. The more supporters for heritage conservation, then the more influential and successful will be the Trusts. So reports and books are published. Exhibitions held. So websites and all forms of modern social media are utilised. National Trusts must work to establish and then maintain influence. Their opinion must be respected, so their work must be professional and sustainable.



21 Preservation Across the Globe As National Trusts own or are responsible for managing heritage properties, both cultural & natural, and as many of these are tourism venues, these heritage properties are viewed as “educational tools”. In our current times, challenged by Climate Change, our National Trusts are increasingly adopting practices so as to ensure they more sustainably and responsibly manage their properties. Adaptation has become a reality of National Trust ownership. These properties can be exemplars – sending messages to the world-at- large - demonstrating what can be done with sustainable land management, striving for the least carbon footprint – Eg. the property of the Australian National Trust in Victoria - Rippon Lea Estate






27 Preservation Across the Globe Intangible Heritage Maintaining the storylines – to bring heritage “alive”. Increasingly oral histories are becoming priority programmes – everyone loves the “human” side. Taped and guided tours of properties & places is but the starting point of a heritage experience – new technology offers wonderful opportunities



30 Preservation Across the Globe Connecting with traditions, with local communities, with people in their places. Foster passion in their heritage



33 Preservation Across the Globe National Trusts know that cultural heritage provides the visitor with insights in to history – adventures, triumphs & sorrows alike. Heritage can be shown to be interesting. Heritage places physically tell stories of the steps that led to nation-building – laudable and regrettable. These places can engender pride; they remind people of involvement; they excite “connected” tourism; provide memorable experiences – leading to follow-on visits to similar heritage places and attractions that focus on similar themes or were created in similar periods.



36 Australian Council of National Trusts Website: Email: Tel: +61 (0) 2 6247 6766


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