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Goldfields ramps up UNESCO World Heritage campaign

Garfield Water Wheel in Chewton.

The Central Victorian Goldfields are another step closer to UNESCO World Heritage listing, following a UK World Heritage expert describing the landscape as the best-surviving example of the 19th century gold rush.

Friday 18 September 2020

The Central Victorian Goldfields are another step closer to UNESCO World Heritage listing, following a UK World Heritage expert describing the landscape as the best-surviving example of the 19th century gold rush.

Heritage expert Barry Gamble has developed a Statement of Outstanding Universal Value to help progress the bid and in it calls the Central Victorian Goldfields “the most extensive, coherent and best-surviving landscape anywhere that illustrates the global gold rush phenomenon of the second half of the 19th century.”

Mount Alexander Shire Council has partnered in a campaign with 12 other councils across the Goldfields region to inscribe significant gold rush-era sites on the World Heritage list.

A pathway to making a successful bid towards World Heritage listing is currently in development with Mr Gamble, 13 councils and co-patrons The Hon. John Brumby AO and The Hon. Denis Napthine AO.

Mr Brumby said he was delighted to formally join the bid as co-patron and excited by the momentum it was gaining.

“Victorian leaders have known since the 1980s that this bid has merit. The region’s heritage is unquestionably amongst the best in the world and tells an important and wonderful story about the world and its social and economic development,” said Mr Brumby.

“We also know that World Heritage listing, as well as the journey to achieve it, can achieve strong regional and community development, supporting tourism COVID-19 recovery and jobs – a second gold rush for the region, which couldn’t come at a more needed time,” he said.

Dr Napthine said he was also very pleased to support the bid and encouraged communities to remain engaged in the process.

“The recent and successful bid to list the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape in South West Victoria on the World Heritage List was a long process but it has put the region on the map,” said Dr Napthine.

“Like Budj Bim, the bid to list the Central Victorian Goldfields is a terrific way for the whole community to benefit in so many ways including driving the regional economy through added tourism,” he said.

The bid has received an additional $50,000 from Victorian Goldfields Tourism Executive, in addition to $50,000 it already injected into the campaign, and $50,000 in funding from the Victorian Government.

The additional funds will be used to develop publicity material that will promote the World Heritage value of the region, including a website, social media campaign and a series of stories of the Goldfields to drive added visitor interest and engagement.

“We are excited to be part of this bid and the additional funding will help to promote our region as we continue on our path to recovery from coronavirus (COVID-19),” said David Leathem, Manger Economy and Culture, Mount Alexander Shire Council.

“We already know the importance of the goldfields and their role in our nation’s history. World Heritage listing would draw more visitors to our region, so they too can understand our region and the impact it had on the global economy,” he said.

The Central Victorian Goldfields World Heritage bid Local Government partners are Mount Alexander Shire, Ararat Rural City, Campaspe Shire, Central Goldfields Shire, City of Ballarat, City of Greater Bendigo, Golden Plains Shire, Hepburn Shire, Loddon Shire, Macedon Ranges Shire, Moorabool Shire, Northern Grampians Shire and Pyrenees Shire councils.

Image: Garfield Water Wheel, Chewton.



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