Heritage honours: Audria’s heads-up for history

A woman described as a heritage champion was last night named the inaugural winner of the Warren Newman Memorial Award at the 2014 Tamworth Regional Biennial Heritage Awards.

LEADING LADIES:  Marlene Ford, left, with Audria Rodgers at Calala Cottage during last year’s Spring Fair. Mrs Rodgers has been presented with the inaugural Warren Newman Memorial Award  for her significant work in preserving Tamworth’s history. Photo: Gareth Gardner

LEADING LADIES: Marlene Ford, left, with Audria Rodgers at Calala Cottage during last year’s Spring Fair. Mrs Rodgers has been presented with the inaugural Warren Newman Memorial Award for her significant work in preserving Tamworth’s history. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Audria Rodgers, a life member and patron of Tamworth Historical Society, was presented with the special award at a presentation dinner at Tamworth Quality Powerhouse.

Special guest Adam Ford – an archaeologist and historian who hosts the ABC TV program Who’s Been Sleeping in My House – presented Mrs Rodgers with her award and told the audience of about 80 people how she has given countless hours of her time to preserve the city’s heritage and record its history.

Mr Ford described Mrs Rodgers as “a champion of what, today, seems so obviously central to Tamworth’s identity”.

In 1970, Mrs Rodgers was among a group of people who helped retain Calala Cottage for the Tamworth Historical Society.

In 1980, she successfully worked to prevent the demolition of the former Dominican Convent building which is now home to Tamworth Regional Conservatorium of Music.

In 2000 she was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her untiring devotion to the preservation of history in the Tamworth region and other community work.

The Warren Newman Memorial Award was created to honour historian Warren Newman who died in December last year. Mr Newman’s most significant work was co-authoring the four volume Chronological History of Tamworth with eminent local historian Lyall Green, published in 2004. 

The Newman category will now be an ongoing feature of the awards staged by Tamworth Regional Council every two years to recognise efforts to conserve, promote and restore the heritage of the local area.

Awards were presented in 10 categories after the judging panel assessed 58 nominations.

The judges said the standard was of such quality they’d also named 10 highly commended recipients.

The Tamworth Hotel won the Conservation/Commercial category with the judges describing it as an “outstanding example of a continuous use which has evolved over time”’. 

The judges said the site (147 Marius Street, Tamworth) has “successfully integrated necessary upgrades . . . while maintaining the cultural and architectural integrity”. 

The judges said the award “recognises the considerations given to the continued conservation of this fine building”.

Tamworth Historical Society won the Conservation/Community category for the slab hut at the Calala Museum complex. 

The award recognises the “comprehensive consideration given to technical research and site conditions associated with conserving the slab hut”.

“The historical society demonstrated outstanding leadership in ensuring that conservation-based decision have been made based on practical advice and relevant expertise,” the judges said.

A project which has ensured the future practical use of a large timber outbuilding on an Upper Manilla property was awarded the Conservation/Residential category award.

The judges said Belinda Nixon’s efforts to stabilise and repair the timber vertical slab structure on her Oakhampton Rd property was an example of work which “assists in reinforcing the unique character of the region, which can so easily decay over time and be lost”.

Other winners on the night were:

* King George V Avenue Action Group – Heritage Advocacy;

* Ms Susan Moore, Daruka Station – Adaptive Use;

* Manilla Historical Society’s Manilla’s Men of Marble publication – Research and Investigation Analysis;

* Nundle Tidy Towns Committee – Education, Interpretation and Community Engagement;

* Megan and Duncan Trousdale of Odgers & McClelland Exchange Stores, Nundle – Heritage Tourism Product; and,

*Audria’s heads-up for history Kensell’s Holden Tamworth – Sympathetic Heritage Design.

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