Out of sight, out of mind? An examination of built heritage conservation in rural South Australia

01st June 2012

Rural heritage in South Australia (SA) is represented by more than 3000 heritage listed properties located beyond municipal areas. It encompasses tangible aspects of South Australian history including buildings, places, sites and objects. Created by past generations of South Australians this heritage reflects pastoral, agricultural, commercial, industrial and social landscapes of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The survival of these heritage places relies heavily on effective heritage legislation and its associated administrative and financial support frameworks. The focus of this thesis has been to investigate the practical outcomes of current heritage legislation and frameworks. The study has aimed to determine the condition of selected state and locally listed rural heritage places in SA. It has explored how the protection afforded and the grants and incentives offered to heritage owners, differ between local and state listings. It has examined the conservation and condition monitoring approaches utilised by state and local governments, and considered the extent to which responsibility for listed built heritage is placed on the private property owner. Interviews were carried out with owners and an archaeological survey was completed to record the interior and exterior condition of nine properties which included homestead complexes, hotels and mining engine houses.

The research has revealed that it is the substantial time and/or financial commitment made by private owners and organisations, rather than heritage legislation and frameworks implemented by government, which leads to successful conservation. Furthermore, the study demonstrates the pressures faced by rural heritage, including neglect and isolation. This thesis argues that, when these pressures are combined with ineffective heritage legislation and frameworks, heritage listing does not guarantee that the heritage values of a place will be protected.

Julia Garnaut
Out of sight, out of mind? An examination of built heritage conservation in rural South Australia
June 2012
Thesis Abstracts
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