Documenting pastoral landscapes: Connecting archaeology, history and communities

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Abstract

Australia has a rich pastoral heritage extending over 200 years and across much of the continent. However, heritage inventories and conservation plans prepared by heritage management agencies for pastoral heritage sites and objects are not capturing the full range of past activities or material traces of the histories of these landscapes. I argue that this is because heritage professionals adopt a narrow view of what constitutes “material traces” in the context of the cultural heritage management of pastoral landscapes. Using the example of Culgoa National Park in New South Wales, Australia, material remains embodying the history of this landscape are described within a cultural landscape framework. The identification of these items, whether from historical sources, community knowledge, or field survey, is described. I conclude that the process of interrogating documentary and other historical data is in many cases insufficient to identify the full extent of pastoral heritage items and values and therefore incomplete for conservation and management planning purposes. I argue for the expansion of a fabric-driven “homesteads and woolsheds” approach (commonly applied in pastoral heritage conservation and management) to a holistic model that connects homestead and woolshed complexes with their multi-layered histories and their broader cultural landscape settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-58
Number of pages26
JournalHeritage and Society
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes

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