‘Everyone’s a winner’ in world heritage bid

May 21, 2024 BY

Group effort: City of Ballarat's Cr Daniel Moloney, Dr Denis Napthine, City of Greater Bendigo mayor Andrea Metcalf, John Brumby and Hepburn Shire's Cr Tim Drylie campaigning for the heritage listing in 2022. Photo: FILE

THE bid to have the Victorian Goldfields listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site will be discussed at the Eureka Centre later this month.

City of Ballarat and City of Greater Bendigo officers and councillors are leading the bid, with the support of at least 11 other councils, aiming to bring recognition to historic goldrush landscapes.

The discussion will be chaired by Susan Fayad, world heritage and regional development lead at the City of Ballarat.

Panellists will include Kristal Buckley, world heritage advisor from ICOMOS, Barry Gamble, UK-based world heritage consultant and Dr Benjamin Mountford, senior lecturer in history from Australian Catholic University.

Mr Gamble has been involved in 17 successful world heritage bids including the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site which was inscribed in 2006.

“The Cornish model was subsequently thought about as being quite a good idea for the Victorian Goldfields approach,” he said.

The collaborative bid officially began in 2019 and the goal is to achieve a tentative listing by the first of February 2025.

“It is about tangible evidence that we seek to act as testimony to great things,” said Mr Gamble.

“In this case the Victorian Goldrush, alongside the Californian Goldrush, are the two greatest, biggest goldrushes of the modern kind.”

Mr Gamble said community involvement is central in the bid and that more than 30 years of work has already been contributed by members.

“It is the local events that are to me the most important because they are in the community and they raise awareness in the community of what’s happening,” he said.

“People should be able to feel included that they can contribute towards this in terms of support.”

If the bid is successful, Mr Gamble said the listing will not only ensure conservation but drive visitation and provide benefits to the entire state.

“The effect when you see an inscription is pervasive in the place,” he said.

“I heard a spokesperson for the goldfields bid say something really important actually and that was everyone is a winner whether you’re within the lines on the maps of this goldfields bid or not.

“The visitors do not want to see micro lines on a map, they come to see the Victorian Goldfields and that’s something that Victoria can share with the world.”

The discussion will be on Wednesday 22 May from 1pm until 2.30pm. To book a free spot, visit the Eureka Centre website.