The Heritage Committee, as part of the Queensland Chapter was established in January 2018 with Terms of Reference to:
- Assist the Queensland Chapter Council with expert heritage advice when required
- Make submissions opposing applications which reduce the cultural significance of heritage listed buildings
- Support nominations of places for heritage listing
- Where resources allow – nominate significant buildings for heritage listing – with particular reference to the Enduring Architecture Awards and lists of significant Queensland buildings, including 20th century buildings
The committee is currently chaired by Michael Scott RAIA, with members Ruth Woods FRAIA, Robert Riddel LFRAIA, Don Watson LFRAIA, Laurie Jones FRAIA, and Leah Gallagher RAIA – who was recently appointed following the resignation of Andrew Ladlay FRAIA to focus on his commitments with the Queensland Heritage Council.
Typically, the Department of Environment and Science (DES) will notify the Queensland Chapter of any applications for new or amended entries to or removals from the Queensland Heritage Register (QHR). The Heritage Committee will then provide formal submissions to the application process on behalf of the Institute. Once the application is publicly accessible, it is reviewed and discussed by members online, with a consensus view then relayed back to the DES through the committee.
This system has worked well over the past two and a half years, as demonstrated by this recent example.
A small 19th century timber church (now a residence) in regional south east Queensland, entered in the QHR, was the subject of an application from the current owner for its removal from the Register. The many grounds claimed for its removal included statements that:
- There were better churches in the town and neighbouring area
- The pastoralists who originally built the church had other properties with more significant churches
- The town later developed in a different direction so the church was no longer a landmark
- Many of the original church fittings had been removed
- The local Council had indicated that it would not object to removal of the building from the Register.
Our assessment of the application identified that some assertions were not relevant and some committee members, who were familiar with the 1873 church and its history, were able to provide historical information and sources of documentary evidence to support its retention on the QHR. This advice was communicated to DES expressing strong support for retention of the former church on the QHR, but noting that if the decision was for removal, the local authority should be encouraged to assess its significance for entry on a local register.
Subsequent historical research by DES officers assessing the application for removal from the QHR led to a revision of the history and a recommendation to the Queensland Heritage Council to retain the former church on the Register, but to reduce its listing boundary to exclude some non-significant buildings on the property.
As a submitter to the application, the Institute now has an invitation to make an oral representation to the Queensland Heritage Council in support of its views, prior to a final decision. While this is unlikely to be necessary in this particular application, it is a valuable mechanism for the Heritage Committee and the Institute to have available for more contentious issues.
The Heritage Committee continues to provide the Queensland Chapter with expert advice on protection of our built heritage throughout Queensland.