Call to value our her­itage

Don’t dis­card na­tion’s iconic build­ings

The Observer - - PAUL MURRAY -

AS WE grow as a coun­try, we need lots of new places to put peo­ple, but we are tear­ing down our his­tory to make room for big­ger build­ings that make our sub­urbs all look the same.

Line af­ter line of mas­sive new homes, built to the lim­its of the block, with a strip of grass out the front to re­mind us we live in a bush coun­try.

I have long ad­mired Tim Ross for his comedic and broad­cast­ing abil­i­ties. In re­cent years he has shown an in­fec­tious pas­sion for the spe­cial build­ings that make Aus­tralia unique.

This week, with his trade­mark hu­mour and in­sight, he told the Na­tional Press Club of an ir­re­versible trend that’s tak­ing over; an ob­ses­sion with the new that is rob­bing us of the places that, as he said, come from the back­ground of our col­lec­tive photo al­bum.

Dis­tinc­tive old schools, shops, pub­lic build­ings and most im­por­tantly homes that stand out of the crowd.

He’s not talk­ing about kooky for the sake of kooky, but dif­fer­ent for the sake of true com­mu­nity.

“Our sub­urbs and our ci­ties should be like our record col­lec­tions. You should have some of the new stuff, some of the old stuff and some rub­bish in be­tween to re­mind us of where we have come from. But un­for­tu­nately our ci­ties have a lit­tle bit too much Nick­el­back go­ing on at the mo­ment,” said Rosso.

Re­gional Aus­tralia has some of the best build­ings in the coun­try; the old post of­fice, po­lice sta­tion and work­ers’ homes make their mark on a com­mu­nity in a way row af­ter row of project homes or ci­ties filled with glass don’t.

His call to arms was for all of us to save some of the build­ings that have fallen out of fash­ion, be­cause while we may not value them now, the truth is we will in 50, 70 or 100 years.

While change is in­evitable, wip­ing the slate clean is un­nec­es­sary.

We need to keep the sym­bols of the places gen­er­a­tions who built this great coun­try called home and make the most of our op­por­tu­nity to add to that de­sign his­tory if we get the chance to build some­thing new.

Feel­ing ig­nored

THE na­tional me­dia had a chance to lis­ten to the con­cerns of re­gional Aus­tralia this week; in­stead, they re­main con­sumed by Can­berra games and the man who says he’s re­tired from pol­i­tics.

On Wed­nes­day night, Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son took ques­tions from peo­ple in Townsville about ev­ery­thing from wa­ter to vet­er­ans in a fo­rum on my TV show on Sky News. But un­less you were watch­ing, you prob­a­bly didn’t hear about it or, more im­por­tantly, you didn’t get to see what peo­ple re­ally care about.

In­stead, the Can­berra press ran with a made-up story about a plan for two elec­tions next year and went wall to wall on the for­mer Prime Min­is­ter on Chan­nel 2.

Peo­ple in re­gional Aus­tralia have ev­ery right to feel they are ig­nored by big city me­dia who only seem to care when it’s times of dis­as­ter or drought. They seem to think ‘vot­ers’ only mat­ter in the city and only count when they talk about the things they care about. This is sim­ply not true. I’m pleased to say the PM is keen to do many more re­gional fo­rums be­tween now and the elec­tion and I hope the Can­berra me­dia take the chance to lis­ten to what peo­ple out­side their lit­tle bub­ble care about.

‘‘ PEO­PLE IN RE­GIONAL AUS­TRALIA HAVE EV­ERY RIGHT TO FEEL THEY ARE IG­NORED BY BIG CITY ME­DIA WHO ONLY SEEM TO CARE WHEN IT’S TIMES OF DIS­AS­TER OR DROUGHT.

Photo: Chris Ison

PUT A STAMP ON IT: The old post of­fice in Rock­hamp­ton is a fine ex­am­ple of the won­der­ful old build­ings found across re­gional Aus­tralia.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.