Shires from across central Victoria have come together in a united push to have Victoria’s Goldfields recognised as a World Heritage site.
We’ve got something special in the history of the world here, so if we can capitalise on that we can help with the conservation of some of those places that are critically endangeredChris Meddows-Taylor - VGTC chairman
The idea was originally flagged in the late 1980s by the-then federal Bendigo MP John Brumby, advocating for a 14,000 square kilometre space bordered by Ballarat in the south and Charlton in the north to be recognised as the best example of the landscape created by the 19th century goldrush.
Representatives from 13 shires as well as state MP Danielle Green were in attendance at the RACV Goldfields Resort in Creswick on Monday to discuss the push, which now covers 25,000 square km of land within shires including Ballarat, Hepburn and the Pyrenees.
Central Goldfields councillor and Victorian Goldfields Tourism Executive chairman Chris Meddows-Taylor said while the concept was an old one, it presented significant tourism and heritage maintenance opportunities for the region.
“It’s been around for a long time but just getting the momentum to get it going has been building in recent years and we think we’re just about ready to go,” Cr Meddows-Taylor said.
“We’ve got something special in the history of the world here, so if we can capitalise on that we can help with the conservation of some of those places that are critically endangered, we can bring tourism and economic development to the region.”
Economic modelling conducted by the group has suggested World Heritage listing could generate economic benefit of up to $68 million per annum for the region.
The push has been listed as part of the City of Ballarat’s draft Heritage Plan, which spans through to 2030.
The group is also hoping to acquire a $25 million fund for councils to help with the maintenance of heritage assets.
In the immediate future the group of councils are hoping to secure two years worth of funded research at Federation University for the feasibility of the application.
Australia currently has 19 locations which are listed by the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation, three of which are cultural locations and for which are mixed cultural and natural landmarks.