Region’s cultural heritage in the spotlight
  • Monday 28 June 2010

Many of the region’s heritage champions will gather at the Big Pineapple tomorrow to learn about recent Sunshine Coast Council initiatives to improve the protection, awareness and celebration of the region’s cultural heritage.

Council’s Cultural Heritage and Collections Unit Manager John Waldron said the region’s valued heritage had never been in safer hands.

“The introduction of these networking opportunities, together with the appointment of new heritage curator Olivia Robinson, puts the protection of our heritage in a really positive position,” he said.

In recent months, Mr Waldron said several important events had focused attention on the region’s unique cultural heritage.

“Events such as the inaugural Sunshine Coast Heritage Festival attracted over 1,200 people to historic Bankfoot House, Glasshouse Mountains – the region’s first homestead and Cobb and Co staging post,” he said.

Friends of Bankfoot House President Ron Gillinder said: “The strong attendance was a pleasant surprise, particularly given the weather at the time and an indication that the community is very interested in local history and supports efforts to preserve our cultural heritage.”

Mr Waldron said another event that put the focus on heritage was the launch of the touring exhibition Greetings From Peregian Beach Roadhouse. Local curator Shaun Walsh developed the heritage exhibition using local collections to tell seven surprising stories about the people and places that have shaped the character of the Sunshine Coast. The exhibition was launched at Caloundra Regional Gallery and will be installed at the Butter Factory Art Centre in Cooroy during July and August.

Mr Waldron said the Big Pineapple gathering offers the first opportunity to discuss the new heritage levy for the Sunshine Coast.

The $5 levy will generate an estimated $800,000 each year. These funds will be set aside specifically for facilities, programs, projects and activities concerned with the preservation and promotion of the region’s history and cultural heritage. It will also be used to trigger other government and non-government support and partners.

Heritage Reference Group Chair, Councillor Anna Grosskreutz, said the levy came at a critical time for the region.

“With the current pressures brought on by increased growth, we need to ensure that the heritage and character of our communities are protected,” she said.

“The history of this region is made up of many special stories and events and it is important that our community and the people who visit are aware of these and understand what it is that makes this place unique.”

The levy will support a range of initiatives including:

  • heritage education and awareness programs
  • festivals and forums
  • opportunities to attract funds for major capital works activities.

The levy will also help support the efforts of the region’s many community museums. Volunteers spend countless hours researching, documenting and promoting the people, places events and stories that make up the character and culture of the Sunshine Coast.