A tin of pineapple jam, an onion and a tot of rum. Ahh, breakfast.

Growing up with several then national icons within walking distance I saw the sites of European arrival in New South Wales vary from receiving the runoff from Manly Peace Memorial Hospital’ s boiler, a dark goo heading a watercourse that was full of water dragons, assumedly like it was in 1788, to the centre of the big smoke, concrete and tar covering all remnants of the first colony.

At Manly Public our teachers focused on important historical events, crossing the Blue Mountains, the rum rebellion, exploring the inland, the landing at Gallipoli by the ANZAC’s. Funny how the aboriginals just disappeared following Sturt’s expeditions.

Anzac Day grew as part of my experiences along with the growth of television. This desolate piece of coast remaining similar to its condition for hundreds of years, the memorial being the marches, changing to being featured in programs of war film and eventually in fictional feature, It only became a national place of pilgrimage with the growth of low cost travel.

The ultimate sacrifice of many soldiers and few generals playing a new role in the image of a nation being created for purposes of state feeding its promotion as a must-see site.

And what have we seen as a result. The government of the 1950s reversance man, asking the Turkish government to turn the battlefield into some sort of tourist park, replete with a new route through the heart of the landing site, ANZAC Cove.

Does this align with the attitude he expresses in regard to the achievements of European Australia. Howard’s defence and promotion of the past appears to be a purely political device, to be swept aside whenever money or self aggrandizement are up for grabs.

Of course, this may simply be a comedy of errors, where the site supposedly of such importance to Australians has been let drift since 1919, no management plan beyond the war graves, no world heritage listing for this icon for both countries and no oversight by the tea drinkers of Foreign Affairs until suddenly the feeling that something may be gained from fooling about has driven a flurry of poorly planned road works.

Perhaps an historical approach has been taken to this; the fleet retiring from the Dardanelles when Johny Turk was almost out of ammo for the fortress guns thus failing to force that waterway and cause some consternation in Constantinople; insufficient intelligence causing our boys to land at the wrong site, carried there by local currents and saving them from facing the stronger defences and slaughter on the beaches; or following in the steps of the incompetent leaders who planned suicide charges at sites like the Neck and Lone Pine disguising them as good generalship.

And what treatment for the history of this nation. The previous occupants, believing themselves the owners, had to wait until 1967 to reappear and be declared citizens, to 1974 to achieve title to some remnants of their own land. Some were unable to take it up, destroyed as a people in both body and spirit by the decades preceding the idyll of the 1950s.

And the latest, a stop work request from the man of steel himself, the proposed stone retaining wall covering the scar of these poorly planned and abysmally executed works being the last straw to break the government’s resolve to cover up this black comedy by complete denial of responsibility or error.

Howard’s survival skills could sense the political damage but his government could not liaise with the Turks to minimize damage to the Gallipoli battlefield sites.
Can we expect anything important to our heritage to be treated with respect in this age of materialism.

At the same time the fate of a relatively undisturbed site of early exploration and science, Recherche Bay, is slated to be given the treatment that the Tasmanian government is so proud of, astounding anyone who recognizes the value of intact cultural heritage. Only true ignorance combined with bloody-mindedness can drive the forestry version of facadism, the 100m wide strip, being applied to this site.
One accepts the site of the first settlement growing into a city, the tanks and the stream buried by a concrete jungle rising on the site of a forest, it was, after all, before 1950.

Now, in this supposedly enlightened age we discover a constant stream of darkness from the past.

No planning for the Gallipoli battlefield even though the advice about the importance of the ANZAC Cove site was on the government’s desk, forests not planned for logging in the next 17 years saved whilst high conservation forests fall.
What information about Recherche Bay will be ignored in the deal that gives Howard his election forest promises and allows the desecration of our heritage and the destruction of nature to continue in the cozy arrangement for the lords of venality.

phill Parsons follows with interest the meanderings of governments policy toward heritage, the disconnectedness between intrinsic and political values, from time to time turning meaning meaningless.


Professor Mulvaney claims that loggers are unable to recognize archeological artefacts from the time between prehistory and a continuous record in Tasmania.
On what does he base this unevidenced claim.

When timber getting commenced artefacts were seen, sometimes in the possession of their owners, and we know that matter was dealt with the utmost sensitivity and compassion by those wanting the bush.

The lack of Greek temples did not impair some later appreciation of nature, after all there was plenty about, what matter a cut here or there, all for the good of the colony.

Scott Gadd, head of the Tourism, Parks and Heritage Department, neatly avoids the issue in advising the federal Environment Department that loggers would keep an eye out for historic features. Another tea drinker avoiding his moral responsibility in the service of the lords of venality.

The recorded and therefore historical items from the French period may have been found. Experience shows short peaceful visits from shipboard explorers generally leaves little trace, small artifacts of trade or loss may, with intensive searching, be found.

That the garden edge and the observatory site remain from the French record marking a peaceful first contact between two cultures makes this site one of great note in the story of Australia.

When an item from the historical period passes into the hands of those who keep no written record does Gadd’s sophistry assuage his conscience or does his letter show the same ignorance of archeology as the bulldozer’s mates.

And in modern times; with industrial logging using that oh so delicate tools, the log skidder we can expect the same sensitivity that the colonies’ first invaders applied to their pillage.

Going unnoticed, as they take the finest furnishings whilst trampling the treasures of life under wheel and track, the main prehistorical item, the temple of nature that stands all about, working to repair itself to the condition of 1792, will have its heart destroyed to line the pockets of vandals.

phill Parsons finds it inexcusible, eggregious in the extreme, unacceptable and unforgivable.


It just goes on and on, can they not manage this little bit of history.

In areas of the Meditteranean, standing built structures date back thousands of years ago.

Here is the Ross Bridge, only 182 years old, in the heart of the Tasmanian colonial heritage, the Georgian period and in the middle of the Heritage Highway, an icon to rank with Cradle Mountain.

In 1995 recommendations were made to retain the bridge in use to balance between its design capabilities and the modern world, and they are not followed.

When engineers recommend a weight limit what settling of the tea leaves decides that it is ignored. Were those who recommended the lower limit paid for their apparently wrong advice or is this another example of government by guesstimate.

I can understand the difficulty in enforcing a low speed limit, after all a permanent speed camera would look a sight among the Georgian, Victorian and Federation artefacts that make up this streetscape, and it would only increase revenue.

The one at Longford must be a complete flop and that is why it has been replaced with chicanes, designed to confound the law abiding driver and challenge those whose brain has not fully developed.

Let alone a camera that would also picture gross vehicle mass.

Isn’t it funny how security cameras, red light cameras and mobile phone cameras can abound, how government departments can go digital and revenue collection go online and no watch be kept on a bridge of such significance.

How do you manage a public asset like this and the Red Bridge in Campbelltown. If they are to be maintained then utility is a great driver to justify expenditure.

However, as tourist attractions, is not their value even greater. A loss on the third Spirit was justified in its value to the economy. Apparently the same argument apply to protecting our heritage icons.