Campaigns to preserve the legacy of the past in Australian cities have been particularly focused on the protection of natural landscapes and public open space. From threats to Perth’s Kings Park and Sydney’s headlands to current proposals such as Barangaroo and the Perth waterfront, heritage activists have viewed the protection and restoration of “natural” vistas and landscapes as a vital part of the effort to preserve the historic identity of urban places. The protection of such scenic landscape elements has been a vital aspect of establishing a positive conception of the environment as a source of both urban and national identity. Drawing on the records of the National Trust of Australia (NSW) this paper unpacks the cultural and historical assumptions that motivated place protection in Sydney across the twentieth century. It also examines the ways in which those traditions have informed the debate surrounding Sydney’s highly contested Barangaroo development in the twenty first century.
The author 2014
Proceedings of the 12th Australasian Urban History Planning History Conference 2014