Historic links in heritage awards

It’s not just all about old buildings anymore and this year’s Tamworth heritage awards are significant for the substantial recognition of humans in the conservation and preservation of our historical links and social landscape.

The judges have conferred and the entries in the biennial awards that salute the outstanding efforts across the Tamworth Regional Council area have been studied – with the finalists and winners to be announced next Wednesday.

PEOPLE POWER: Judges Mark Rodda, Clare James, Tim Coates and Juanita Wilson sifted through some significant project entries for this year’s council heritage awards. Photo: Geoff O’Neill 020614GOD02

PEOPLE POWER: Judges Mark Rodda, Clare James, Tim Coates and Juanita Wilson sifted through some significant project entries for this year’s council heritage awards. Photo: Geoff O’Neill 020614GOD02

This year’s crop of conservation entries has a solid sense of people power when it comes to support and volunteer efforts in regional projects, according to TRC strategic planning manager Genevieve Harrison.

“There’s a strong recognition of the community’s role in valuing our historical links and in achieving projects,” Ms Harrison said.

This could be seen in the naming of Tidy Town committees and other community-driven  groups, like the King George V Avenue action group which had driven the issue over the endangered memorial avenue of oaks.

“Heritage advocacy is significant and it is seen in such things as building works, publications and websites, tourism, and in community engagement.”

Three TRC elected officials, councillors Juanita Wilson, Mark Rodda and Tim Coates, as well as the council’s heritage adviser Clare James, have judged these awards. 

Ms James said the 2014 awards recognised projects that maintained and enhanced the region’s architectural heritage.

“The awards will recognise and promote good design solutions that ensure that significant elements of heritage buildings and heritage conservation areas in the Tamworth region are maintained and enhanc- ed,” she said.

So, you don’t have to have a house or building that is technically an old place – it could be only 50 years old but be built on and celebrate the heritage of something that went before.

And so there’s likely to be gongs for more people, including an inaugural award named after the late historian Warren Newman.

Cr Wilson said she was pleasantly surprised by the numbers of homeowners and residents who had made considerable investments in properties to adapt them for modern family life but had “taken great care to maintain the character of the era of the building and enhance it”.

“And it surprised me too how much intrinsic satisfaction there was in restoring and conserving heritage places but also the sense of appreciation from others,” Cr Wilson said.

“The amount of entries in adaptive use was very pleasing and there’s a passion and excitement from people who have achieved results; that’s soul warming and soul rewarding.”

She believes more of us are more at home these days with having a sense of family about our houses, in having older homes that reflect our historical links through grand-parents and even parents. 

The awards cover projects completed from July 2012 to May this year and previous winners or nominees are eligible if they’ve completed another round of recent renovations and works.

ABC television host Adam Ford, the archaeologist and social historian star who fronts the program Who’s Been Sleeping In My House, is the special guest. 

Ford’s show unravels the social history stories behind the bricks and mortar of homes across Australia and presents a  fascinating insight into the lives and legacies left behind in house histories.

Tickets are available at $50 for a dinner at the Powerhouse hotel.

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