The RHSV’s Heritage Committee has just made a submission to the Draft Heritage Management Plan for the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens. More can be seen here. In this submission, we noted the lack of a single responsible authority for the world heritage site. In our response to the Discussion Paper preparing the Review of the Strategy Plan for the World Heritage Environs Area, we noted the betrayal of promises to protect the surrounding areas from high-rise building. More can be seen here.
Unfortunately, as we have noted concerning the wanton destruction of 46,000 year old shelters and art at Juukun Gorge (see here), the Act is a toothless tiger. Much more is needed to protect and promote the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens as world heritage sites.
From UNESCO’s World Heritage website:
“The Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens are a surviving manifestation of the international exhibition movement which blossomed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The exhibition building was constructed as a Great Hall, a permanent building initially intended to house the Melbourne International Exhibition of 1880 and the subsequent 1888 Melbourne Centennial International Exhibition. These were the largest events staged in colonial Australia and helped to introduce the world to Australian industry and technology. The building and grounds were designed by Joseph Reed.
The property is typical of the international exhibition movement which saw over 50 exhibitions staged between 1851 and 1915 in venues including Paris, New York, Vienna, Calcutta, Kingston (Jamaica) and Santiago (Chile). All shared a common theme and aims: to chart material and moral progress through displays of industry from all nations.
The property of the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens has retained high authenticity of setting, maintaining its original form on the international exhibition site defined in 1879. The 1880 Great Hall survives substantially intact in its form and design, internally and externally. Authenticity of form is manifest in its survival as the only Great Hall from a major industrial exhibition of the late 19th and early 20th century.
Any future developments immediately outside the World Heritage Environs Area, which are likely to have a significant impact on the World Heritage values of the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens, are subject to the provisions of the EPBC Act.”