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Australian rail heritage ‘travesty’

The Australian Technology Park is trying to dispose of a collection of rare and unique heritage machines that former workers at the Eveleigh rail yards were promised would be preserved reports Robert Burton-Bradley in Central on 2 December 2009.

The heritage items, which include cranes and hydraulic machines, have been left in a heap in the open air and labelled with signs clearly stating “Australian Technology Park Surplus Heritage Item? Identified for Disposal”.

Guido Gouvernor, who runs a restorative blacksmithing shop at the rail yards, said the situation was a “travesty”.

“They are unique and rare machines of great significance,” Mr Gouvernor said. “They are machines that showed the engineering world what Australia could do.”

A 1995 conservation management plan and companion management plan cover the items currently marked for disposal. The plans set out how heritage buildings and equipment were to be maintained at the Eveleigh rail yards site.

REDWatch spokesman Geoff Turnbull said the items appeared to have been marked for disposal just before the beginning of community consultation on the revision of a new ATP conservation management plan.

“The ATP’s decision to dispose of some of its heritage collection became known because for years, key ATP heritage items have been left to deteriorate in the open, visible to the public, and hence the adding of the large pink crosses did not go unnoticed,” said Mr Turnbull. “The attached tags told the story.”

The managing director of the ATP and CEO of the Redfern Waterloo Authority, Roy Wakelin-King, denied the items would be disposed of, and said alternative storage locations were being considered.

“As equipment has been outdoors for some time, heritage items are currently being refurbished,” Mr Wakelin-King said. “Alternate locations are also being considered, ensuring the ongoing preservation of these valuable heritage items.”

Critics of the ATP have for years campaigned against what they call “destruction by neglect” of valuable heritage items.

Mr Gouvernor said a new strategy was needed to preserve what heritage remained.

“The problem is there has never been an overall heritage strategy put into effect. Every time there is a revaluation of the heritage situation, items go missing or get dumped”.

Also see ATP Heritage Equipment Public Statement in response - REDWatch

Source: http://sydney-central.whereilive.com.au/news/story/australian-rail-heritage-travesty/