Pesky heritage in the way of Big Coal 22.12.2010


In case you missed it there’s a worrying heritage story up the Hunter Valley.

The subject of the story is Wambo homestead:the Sydney Morning Herald wrote yesterday

Wambo Homestead near Singleton, first built in 1830, is on the path to becoming the first protected property delisted from the state heritage register under changes to the NSW Heritage Act which came into effect in January, because the world’s biggest private sector coal company wants to mine the seam beneath it.

Wambo Coal, owned by the American giant Peabody and Japan’s Sumiseki, has applied to the NSW Heritage Council for permission to demolish the homestead on the basis that the company will suffer ”undue financial hardship” if it must sacrifice coal to protect it.

The (Newcastle)  Herald reported that a compliance check was done by the Department of Planning and the homestead will be upgraded by carrying out works required by the existing development consent. Maintenance work will include ‘new gutters, downpipes, improved drainage and assessment of pylons and veranda props’. These works will be required regardless of the separate application to remove the homestead from the heritage register.

”It’s one good storm from being a disaster,” said Wambo mine’s acting general manager, Peter Roser. The stud master’s cottage has already had its roof blown off twice and is now swaddled in tarpaulins. (SMH)

So am I right in thinking that the building will be repaired and then could be demolished? The coal company, of course, think it’s OK to demolish it because their research alleges it’s not special because they’ve found 78 buildings throughout the Hunter that are somewhat similar…

The Hunter Heritage Network points out that this would set a worrying precedent ‘as all owners of heritage items would be entitled to claim finanical hardship in the form of foregone development opportunities’. Home



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One Response to “Pesky heritage in the way of Big Coal 22.12.2010”

  1. Ali Says:

    very worrying especially if it sets a precedent. imagine if heritage pubs could be demolished because there are simply other ones existing similar?

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