What a fantastic way to start the weekend, with nice clear weather and all of our playgrounds, parks, skate parks, barbecues open and ready for use once again. It’s great that life is getting back to normal, and as a community we can safely enjoy all of the fantastic things Kalgoorlie-Boulder has to offer.
One of the really unique and show stopping elements of Kalgoorlie-Boulder is our beautiful heritage streetscapes. Previous Councils did a great job on Burt Street with Royalties For Regions funding, helped along somewhat by an unplanned earthquake which provided a great catalyst for getting the work done.
Whilst I don’t want an earthquake, I would love to see Royalties For Regions, which is still legally legislated for, being spent doing for the beautiful historic Hannan Street what has been done on Burt Street.
Forget the Super Pit, forget the Golf Course, our biggest tourist attractions are our magnificent streetscapes, and we should be condemned if, during our watch, that heritage is lost. Between Wilson Street to Porter Street, there are only four buildings on Hannan Street that were built after 1908, and all four of them sit on the intersection of Hannan and Cassidy Streets. We can’t lose any more.
The Federal and State governments need to do more throughout Australia to properly fund the restoration of our heritage buildings. Look at Europe – Western Europeans have learned this important lesson, and even when they are restoring historic buildings, they clad their scaffolding with images of what the completed works will look like. Imagine Paris without the Champs-Élysées – look at the effort the French went to during World War II to protect and preserve their history and culture. We need to do this now, so future generations can look at our streetscapes with a sense of wonder at what was achieved during the Western Australian gold rush.
Organisations like the Heritage Council at both a state and national level, and the National Trust, need to be more supportive of funding large scale heritage projects as well. Taking on a project the size and significance as the restoration of Hannan Street is a daunting job – there is so much to do – but the longer we don’t do it, the bigger job it will become.