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Consultation is now closed

Thank you for submitting your comments on the provisional registration of the Red Hill campsite.

The consultation was open from 25 September to 22 October 2018 with comments being submitted either by a survey, email or mail.

A final decision on registration will be made by the ACT Heritage Council before the provisional registration period concludes. The decision will be notified on the ACT Legislation Register and also at this site. The Council will contact all interested persons, including anyone who provided comments, shortly after a decision has been made.

Comments made through this website are formal statutory consultation comments and are given to the Council. The statutory consultation notice can be found the ACT Legislation Register.

What we are looking at

Red Hill Campsite has been provisionally registered on the ACT Heritage Register for its use as an Aboriginal campsite in the 1920s to 1940s and now the Heritage Council want to hear your comments to see if they got it right.

Provisional registration is only the first step to let you know why the Council thinks a place or object is important to the ACT and you, its residents. Now the Council want to hear what you think about their initial assessment to see if you think they got it right, or if there is other information to consider.

The Council’s initial view of heritage significance is in the survey, but you may find the following overview helpful.

Red Hill Campsite, colloquially known as the ‘last campsite of the Ngunnawal’ is a place where Aboriginal people camped in the late 1920s to 1940s. It is the only known place of its kind in the ACT. Oral histories of the place are part of the life of Matilda House, a Ngambri-Ngunnawal Elder in the ACT. A public park at the time, it was used as a camping ground and is an important example of how Aboriginal people were able to continue to live and work in the ACT region during a time of transient employment opportunities.

Note: all Aboriginal heritage objects and places are protected under the Heritage Act 2004, regardless of registration status.

We will use your views to

This is the opportunity for you to say if you think the Council has it right or wrong, or if there is anything else they should have considered.

A common outcome of consultation is the Council confirming or rethinking what is included in their assessment, or what a final decision may look like. This can involve changing boundaries or adding or removing features that make up the significant fabric of the place.

Map


Proposed Heritage Boundary of Red Hill Campsite site marking out the traffic island within the road easement bordered by Flinders Way, Durville Crescent and Hayes Crescent

Survey

*Please note that only comments received during the public consultation period will be valid for certain provisions under section 13 and/or review under part 17 of the Heritage Act 2004. This includes comments received no earlier than 12am on 25 September and no later than 11.59pm on 22 October.

The Council has provisionally registered Red Hill Campsite as a way to indicate that it intends to make a decision on whether or not to permanently put it on the ACT Heritage Register. The provisional registration sets out what it is about the place that the Council thinks is important to the ACT and why.This public consultation aims to find out the views of the ACT community.

Please read the Provisional Registration Decision and the Background Information documents before starting.

Section 1 - ACT Heritage Council considerations - place

The boundary on the map (see 'map' tab) and the attributes listed below are what the ACT Heritage Council considers to capture the proposed heritage significance of the Red Hill Campsite. Do you agree or do you have suggested changes you want the Council to consider?

Red Hill Campsite has the following attributes:

  • Aboriginal oral histories relating to the use of the place as a campsite and its enduring importance to Aboriginal people as a gathering place where Connection to Country is maintained.

*Note: modern infrastructure within the site boundary such as concrete paths, kerbing, power and light poles are not part of the significant features of the place, but any works that have the potential to disturb the ground will be subject to provisions of the Heritage Act 2000

Section 2 - ACT Heritage Council considerations - significance

A place or object has heritage significance if it meets with one or more of the eight heritage significance criteria as defined under section 10 of the Heritage Act 2004.

The heritage significance criteria are labelled (a) to (h), and your comments are most useful when addressed against each of these criteria, or you could focus on the ones relevant to your argument. However, you may choose to only leave a general comment by skipping to the General Comments section.

The ACT Heritage Council has determined that Red Hill Campsite is likely to have heritage significance under criteria (a), (b), (g) and (h) only. The criteria that are not met can also be commented on.

While the Council will independently assess and research any claims you make against the criteria, it may be helpful to refer to the Heritage Assessment Policy as a guide to providing the strongest argument with appropriate evidence.

(a) importance to the course or pattern of the ACT’s cultural or natural history;

The Council has assessed Red Hill Campsite against criterion (a) and is satisfied that Red Hill Campsite, Griffith is likely to meet this criterion.

Sometimes referred to as ‘the last campsite of the Ngunnawal’, this place is the only known site of its kind in the ACT. It is an important example of a place where Aboriginal people camped and interacted with each other and the wider community during the early part of the twentieth century.

Designated as a park in the 1920s, open spaces such as this site were important in allowing Aboriginal people to continue to move through, camp and remain connected to Country. This occurred at a time when Aboriginal people, whilst actively engaged in the construction of the Nation’s Capital, were not formally acknowledged as doing so.

This place is representative of the informal campsites common in the ACT in the 1930s and 1940s by workers who came to the ACT in search of employment during the late Depression years. The Depression had a significant impact on work available at the time and saw large movements of people across the ACT and NSW seeking employment. Many of these people ended up camping in vacant spaces close to water sources and employment possibilities. More specifically Red Hill Campsite represents a place where Aboriginal people gathered and maintained Connection to Country whilst being actively involved in the early workforce of the ACT region.

(b) has uncommon, rare or endangered aspects of the ACT’s cultural or natural history;

The Council has assessed Red Hill Campsite against criterion (b) and is satisfied that Red Hill Campsite, Griffith is likely to meet this criterion.

Red Hill Campsite is the only known place of its kind in the ACT. There is a clear association between this place and the movement of Aboriginal people throughout the ACT during Australia’s late depression years (1930s and 1940s). This was a time punctuated by periods of uncertain employment and significant change in the cultural landscape of the ACT region.

There is very little known about Aboriginal campsites in the ACT, particularly those close to the Molonglo River as is the case with Red Hill Campsite. This is because most campsites were flooded with the formation of Lake Burley Griffin or later destroyed as a consequence of urban development. Red Hill Campsite is also unique as an accessible, urban location which is uncommon for Aboriginal places in the ACT.

As an early recorded example of a contact site in the ACT, the campsite represents an important phase in the urban development of the region. This growth required a steady stream of workers, comprised of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, to build the Nation’s Capital. This place gives tangible form to the intangible oral history of marginalization experienced by the Aboriginal community who significantly contributed to this development.

(c) potential to yield important information that will contribute to an understanding of the ACT’s cultural or natural history;

The Council has assessed Red Hill Campsite against criterion (c) and is satisfied that Red Hill Campsite, Griffith is not likely to meet this criterion.

Archaeological investigations undertaken in 2016 were conducted in order to assess the potential for any sub-surface physical evidence relating to the use of the site as a Ngambri-Ngunnawal campsite.

Material culture recovered from the excavation includes artefactual material related to the park’s use as a recreational facility. It is possible that artefacts such as glass bottles are related to past camping episodes. However, the existence of a shared material culture between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people during this period makes identifying Aboriginal presence difficult to determine archaeologically.

Whilst Red Hill Campsite is significant as a representation of Aboriginal past ways of life and customs, the place is not considered to yield any further information beyond that which is already available. In order to meet threshold, the potential to provide information must relate to the physical evidence available at the campsite itself, and not the associated recorded evidence. Therefore, this criterion is not met.

(d) importance in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a class of cultural or natural places or objects;

The Council has assessed Red Hill Campsite against criterion (d) and is satisfied that Red Hill Campsite, Griffith is not likely to meet this criterion.

Red Hill Campsite is significant for its intangible heritage values which demonstrate land use and movement. However, there is insufficient evidence before the Council at this time to suggest that this place represents the principal characteristics of its class to a significant degree that is beyond the ordinary.

(e) importance in exhibiting particular aesthetic characteristics valued by the ACT community or a cultural group in the ACT;

The Council has assessed Red Hill Campsite against criterion (e) and is satisfied that Red Hill Campsite, Griffith is not likely to meet this criterion.

Red Hill Campsite is significant for its intangible heritage values. There is insufficient evidence before the Council at this time to suggest that the community of the ACT values the place for its aesthetic characteristics to a significant degree.

(f) importance in demonstrating a high degree of creative or technical achievement for a particular period;

The Council has assessed Red Hill Campsite against criterion (f) and is satisfied that Red Hill Campsite, Griffith is not likely to meet this criterion.

There is no evidence before the Council at this time to suggest that the place represents a high degree of technical or creative achievement. Artefacts uncovered during archaeological excavation at the campsite include bottle glass fragments that assist in dating the use of the place for recreational purposes. They do not demonstrate a particularly fine construction or design technique beyond that which is common to the era.

(g) has a strong or special association with the ACT community, or a cultural group in the ACT for social, cultural or spiritual reasons;

The Council has assessed Red Hill Campsite against criterion (g) and is satisfied that Red Hill Camp Site, Griffith is likely to meet this criterion.

Red Hill Campsite has a strong and special association with the Ngambri-Ngunnawal group of the ACT region, in particular with the life of Ngambri-Ngunnawal Elder Matilda House and previous generations of her family. Further, the campsite is representative of Aboriginal heritage and associated strong Connection to Country. The utilisation of this place by successive generations of Ngambri-Ngunnawal people shows the length of their association with Red Hill Campsite. In sharing the history of her own relationship with this place, Ms House is telling the story of many Aboriginal families. Red Hill Campsite survives as a rare, extant example of what would have once been a common type of gathering place for Aboriginal people. It was a place to rest, to refuel and to connect with other families in the region.

Given little visible material relating to the oral history of this site, it is the intangible cultural heritage of place that is the most significant aspect of Red Hill Campsite. Intangible heritage is an important part of Aboriginal culture and this campsite demonstrates known episodes that occurred at this place. Red Hill Campsite is representative of Aboriginal involvement in the multi-cultural workforce of the early ACT. The fact that Aboriginal people were able to work on Country and maintain a Connection to Country throughout the twentieth century is of high significance for Aboriginal people in the region.

Places where Aboriginal people camped during the 1920s to 1940s and to which an oral history can be attributed are rare and highly valued by the Aboriginal community, and as such, are highly enduring in contemporary oral sources and the shared experience of connection.

(h) has a special association with the life or work of a person, or people, important to the history of the ACT.

The Council has assessed Red Hill Campsite against criterion (h) and is satisfied that Red Hill Campsite, Griffith is likely to meet this criterion.

Red Hill Campsite has a special association with the Ngambri-Ngunnawal people of the ACT. More broadly, it is a place demonstrative of the informal campsites common in Canberra in the 1930s and 1940s. It is a place that is strongly associated with contemporary oral history that is related to the use of this place by workers who significantly contributed to the economy of the ACT. The Aboriginal community’s association with this land is long lasting and is not only aligned with Ngambri-Ngunnawal Elder Ms Matilda House’s family history, but forms part of the history of the Ngambri-Ngunnawal people and the broader history of the ACT region. That Aboriginal people worked on Country and maintained Connection to Country throughout the twentieth century is a very significant story for the Aboriginal community of the ACT.

Ms House is a prominent and well respected member of the ACT community. As an Aboriginal Elder she actively promotes improved relations between the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and the wider ACT population. Her lasting influence on the community and her contribution to the ACT’s history is evidenced by her being named Canberra citizen of the year for 2006.

Ms House’s association to the place is enduring and distinctive for its representation as a site which tells the continuing story of Ngambri-Ngunnawal Connection to Country. Red Hill Campsite is the only known place of its type in the ACT. The intangible heritage of the place, as recorded in Ms House’s oral history, is an integral story in the development of the ACT region. The region’s transformation from a pastoral zone to the Nation’s Capital is ostensibly represented by non-Aboriginal people. By telling the story of Red Hill Campsite, Aboriginal stories and sense of place are recounted as an integral part of the history of the ACT. Their voice is celebrated as a story of resilience and connection to the economic progression of the region.

Section 3 – General Comments

I support the proposed heritage registration?

Section 4 - Demographics

Your personal details are confidential and will not be publicly visible, but this is required for you to be kept informed and to be counted as an ‘interested person’ (refer to the Privacy Statement at the beginning of the document).

If you do not provide your identity or contact details then the ACT Heritage Council will be unable to give you notice of decisions as an interested person under the Act. Also, you may not be able to be identified as an interested person entitled to appeal rights under the Act.

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Privacy statement

This survey fulfils the role of public consultation under section 37 of the Heritage Act 2004 (the Act), and the collection of personal information as authorised by the Act. If you make a comment using this form, you will be considered an interested person under section 13 of the Act. For this reason, the survey requires respondents to provide contact details so functions under the Act relating to notification of interested persons can be fulfilled. If you do not provide your identity or contact details then the ACT Heritage Council will be unable to give you notice of decisions as an interested person under the Act. Also, you may not be able to be identified as an interested person entitled to appeal rights under the Act.

The personal information on this survey is collected by the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSDD) and provided to the ACT Heritage Council. All personal information provided will be collected, used and stored in accordance with the Information Privacy Act 2014 and EPSDD’s Information Privacy Policy, which contains information about how you may access or seek to correct your personal information held by EPSDD and how you may complain about an alleged breach of the Territory Privacy Principles.