Monday, November 24, 2008
CONVICT LUMBER YARD
The Trust recently commented on a proposed development on the footprint of the Convict Lumber Yard historic site in Newcastle. The Convict Lumber Yard was an Australian Colonial workplace and today it remains relatively undisturbed in the urban port location of the Hunter River (previously known as Coal River). The historic site has strong associations with early European and convict occupation from 1814 and is representative of convictism in Australia. The lumberyard is considered to be rare in New South Wales as evidence of a convict industrial workplace. Recent archaeological investigations have confirmed relics associated with convict occupation on the lumberyard footprint and potentially these relics could be of National significance. The proposed new development would disturb these relics.
The Trust supports interpretation of the Convict Lumber Yard that reflects the cultural heritage of the site, its past use and open spaces. The historic site potentially may reveal through future historical archaeological and research much more about Australian convict work spaces, technologies and skills.
It is hoped that the open space on the footprint of the lumberyard can be retained as this contributes not only to the Convict Lumber Yard Parkland but to the townscape of Newcastle and Newcastle East Conservation areas. The National Trust considers the convict lumberyard as having cultural significance and worthy of conservation. We hope that a reasonable decision is made to protect this early industrial site, and await comment from the New South Wales Department of Planning.