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Heritage study to save Bourke’s past for the future

Bourke Shire Council staff members Carolyn Crain and Brooklyn McInerney outside Bourke’s Holy Innocents Anglican Church building, one of the sites being considered for heritage listing. Photo TWH

Bourke is one of the Australia’s most iconic locations. Its name is part of the lingo and the location – ‘Back O’Bourke’ – is as well-known as north and south.

Because of its significance as an historic region, Bourke Shire Council embarked on a mission more than 20 years ago, to list all the significant heritage sites across the shire.

Bourke was once a major inland port on the Darling River, at the centre of the vast wool industry in the late 19th century, as well as being a depot for Cobb and Co, which means the list of historic sites was extensive.

Early this year, council decided it was time to update the original community-based study carried out between 1998-2002.

Coordinator of Development and Regulatory Services, Carolyn Crain said an updated list of significant sites in the Shire was well overdue.

“The idea is to keep the place for future generations, to protect historic sites and recognise the significance of these sites,” Carolyn said.

“Letters have gone out to the owners advising them we are considering listing the site and asking them to provide comment. The list will then go back to Council for a decision as to which sites will be listed on our local environment plan.

“There are probably a few sites people may not have thought were heritage sites, and that’s why we have sent letters to the owners. We haven’t been able to get to all of those listed so this allows the people who own them, to let us know what condition they are in and so on.

“It’s not going to stop development on the property, it just ensures any development that does go on doesn’t impact on the significance of the site.

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