Media Release: Australian Cornish Mining Sites: Burra and Moonta on the World Stage

Media Release: Australian Cornish Mining Sites: Burra and Moonta on the World Stage

The Australian Cornish Mining Sites: Burra and Moonta (ACMS) were on display to the world at the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) 21st General Assembly and Scientific Symposium at the International Convention Centre held in Sydney last week. With more than 1,300 registered delegates, the conference represented an immense opportunity to showcase the characteristic engine houses as a technological ensemble in a landscape, representing places where Cornish mining, technology, skills and culture are demonstrated to the highest degree in surviving coherent cultural landscape.

The exhibition, as part of the Heritage Exposition Hub at the conference, is a partnership between the Copper Coast Council, Regional Council of Goyder, the National Trust of South Australia and HSR Australia Group. The CEO of the Regional Council of Goyder, David Stevenson acknowledging that "this is a step onto the international stage in relation to our world heritage journey for the Australian Cornish Mining Sites. It will also allow us to promote our bid among peers and agencies, develop awareness of the strength of our bid and to help us become more knowledgeable in relation to the process involved with the tentative listing. It is a voyage of discovery for us."

The week also marked the launch of the ACMS brand and website to collectively bring together important information from both the Burra and Moonta sites, as well as a resource for the community and decision makers regarding the world heritage bid. Copper Coast Council Economic Development and Community Engagement Coordinator, Holly Cowan is a part of the project team, noting that "part of the story is as much about the sites as it is about the Cornish community, and we have tried to capture this in the branding process."

So important is the bid to project partners that many coordinated their annual leave to learn from Cornwall, with World Heritage Consultant, Barry Gamble leading a site tour in July 2023. The CEO of the National Trust of South Australia, Stuart McNab, commented that "the trip enabled the partners to better understand the journey required towards and long term benefits of World Heritage status."

There are a number of processes the bid must go through, and the community have a role to play in helping to tell the stories, and many sites owned or operated by private or community based organisations. Keith McAllister, Managing Director of HSR Australia Group has worked on the Burra site over 15 years in conservation and restoration work on architectural or historical buildings, specialising in artisan trades. He knows the region has something special. "All builds are important, from small scale to large scale significance. For example, Cornish cottages are a big part of the story, and provide quaint historical value." Keith's team have helped deliver training packages to local people to assist in conservation of important sites.

Beyond the physical assets, a major opportunity exists in the visitor and tourism space. Goyder Mayor, Bill Gebhardt acknowledging that a world heritage tentative listing would be a huge result for the Copper Coast and Goyder Council's. "Both sites provide preeminent and complimentary Cornish Mining assets. The sites are well positioned close to Adelaide and existing tourism trails, and will become even more significant drawcards for visitors. This will provide immense economic benefit in the long-term for not only our sites, but the wider region."

Copper Coast Mayor Roslyn Talbot is equally excited and looks forward to the partnerships moving forward. "Proceeding to a tentative listing is an exciting prospect, and will pay homage to not only our early mining pioneers, but also the volunteers, communities and organisations that are dedicated to preserving and celebrating our Cornish heritage. Council's endorsement of the amended Tentative List Submission at its September meeting is a key step forward and shows Council's commitment to the venture." The amended Tentative List Submission is set to be endorsed by Goyder Council later in the month before being formally submitted to State Minister Close by the end of September.

ICOMOS concluded on Saturday 9th of September, with the general public and media attending on this day to gain a hands on experience of one of Australia’s historic sites.


Holly Cowan
Economic Development and Community Engagement Coordinator
Copper Coast Council
Ph: 8828 1200

Barb Button
Community Development Manager
Regional Council of Goyder
Ph: 8892 0100

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