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Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area Advisory Committee Communique

The Advisory Committee for the Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (Kingston) met on-island last week for the first time since July 2019. Members were thrilled to be back on site to see first-hand the significant and visible progress that has been made across Kingston over the past 18 months.

The Advisory Committee was impressed by the maintenance team’s care and quality of work restoring some of Kingston’s significant buildings, including the Settlement Guard House and Protestant Chapel. The team has set itself ambitious goals and are completing work to a high standard, while taking every opportunity to both learn and share new skills to ensure they live on in the Norfolk Island community.

Cooperation with a number of local community groups has been pivotal to the recent progress at Kingston, including the Community Advisory Group (CAG), the Council of Elders, the Norfolk Island Museums Trust, and the Norfolk Island Regional Council Tourism and Heritage team. The Advisory Committee thanks these groups for constructively working together with the Kingston management team.

The CAG remains crucial to informing Kingston’s management, and Chair Helen Pedel shared the group’s experiences over the past year. CAG members were praised for their honest and enthusiastic feedback and for willingly giving their time and knowledge to ensure activities at Kingston are designed and implemented in the best interests of the site and the community.

Looking forward, the Committee is excited to be bringing together the long-term vision for Kingston and individual sites of importance to underpin the site’s activation. Building on the strong planning foundation already in place, the Advisory Committee discussed upcoming projects including the development of a site master plan, the five year review of the site’s heritage management plan, and the development of heritage management plans for the arched building at Longridge and the HMS Sirius shipwreck. These plans will draw on the outcomes of previous community consultation, and community members will have the opportunity to provide feedback prior to their finalisation.

The Advisory Committee welcomed the appointment of archaeologist Tom Sapienza and Interpretation Project Coordinator and Researcher Maree Evans. The extraordinary knowledge and energy of these two individuals was evident, along with their desire to uncover and share the hidden stories of Kingston, which will prove invaluable as the implementation of new interpretation and capital works projects progress across the site.

Sadly, this meeting was the last for Ms Kristal Buckley who has resigned her position from the Advisory Committee due to work commitments. Ms Buckley has a long association with the site and it is clear that Kingston and the Norfolk Island community hold a special place in her heart. As Chair of the Advisory Committee, I wish to thank Ms Buckley for her enormous contribution to Kingston since her appointment in 2015. With her incredible knowledge of heritage conservation and management, coupled with her candid and passionate approach, she has been a strong advocate for the highest standard of care for Kingston and ensuring the site and the community benefits from its inclusion in the Australian Convict Sites world heritage listing. In her final remarks, Ms Buckley paid tribute to the Norfolk Island community for their care of Kingston, and reiterated the importance of celebrating the culture and language of the site’s communities past, present and future.

The Advisory Committee includes three local members (Duncan Evans, David ‘Dids’ Evans and Susan Prior), three expert members (Kristal Buckley, Kevin Sumption and Jane Harrington) and is chaired by the Administrator of Norfolk Island.

For further information or discussion, please contact Martin Purslow (phone 52462 or 23115; email martin.purslow@infrastructure.gov.au) or the Office of the Administrator (phone 22152 or email office.administrator@infrastructure.gov.au).

Eric Hutchinson
Chair, Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area Advisory Committee
30 March 2021