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City's heritage on display

Thursday, 22nd April, 2010

* A conference will look at the city's rich mining history and built heritage. * A conference will look at the city's rich mining history and built heritage.

By Andrew Robertson

Broken Hill will be the centre of attention for a group of Australian and international delegates attending a four-day heritage and conservation conference beginning today.

Almost 200 visitors - including a delegation from Indonesia - will attend the Australia International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) annual conference at the Entertainment Centre. Convener Ray Tonkin said yesterday the event acted as a major annual gathering for professionals involved in heritage and conservation areas from around the globe including architects, historians and archaeologists. He said the conference was also an opportunity for the "heritage practitioners" to visit Broken Hill which, with its rich mining history and built heritage, was considered "a bit of an exotic location". "It's a bit of a big deal and I think (it) surprised us how popular it's become," Mr Tonkin said. "We actually got to the point we were a bit concerned whether we would accommodate everybody." Mr Tonkin said when the call for papers was issued last year organisers received more than 60 abstracts which was "quite extraordinary", and forced organisers to expand the program. Thirty full papers will be delivered at the conference, along with 20 "snapshot presentations", covering three themes: management of historic towns, industrial heritage and remote pastoralism. "There was particular interest in the industrial heritage area," Mr Tonkin said. Delegates will hear from a variety of speakers including Sir Neil Cossons, chairman of English Heritage from 2000 to 2007, who will give the keynote address," Mr Tonkin said. "We've lost one speaker as a result of the volcano (in Iceland), he was coming out of the UK." The conference will also include a number of excursions and two book launches, including one written by heritage adviser Liz Vines, called "Broken Hill: a Guide to the Silver City". Heritage lawyer and pastoralist Simon Molesworth, who will also give an address, told the BDT the three conference themes were all relevant to Broken Hill." "The reality is Broken Hill is at the centre of a major pastoral business (and) this is the birthplace of Australian mining history," said Mr Molesworth, who is chairman of the executive committee of the International National Trusts Organisations," he said. "(And) the town's heritage is really quite unique and has some really special attributes. "So the three themes off the conference are very relevant to Broken Hill." Mr Molesworth said the arrival today of the CEO of the Heritage Trust of Indonesia as part of a delegation from that country was also "very significant". The Indonesian government had committed significant resources to preserve its built heritage, and the delegation would use the visit to "look at Broken Hill and see what we're doing", he said.

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