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Australia’s built heritage celebrated in 2019 Australian Heritage Festival

The National Trust of Australia’s Australian Heritage Festival returns in 2019, after drawing in over 441,000 visitors to events across the country in 2018.

The 2019 festival theme, “Connecting People, Places and the Past,” will explore the relationship between modern communities and the histories of the places they inhabit, with an added focus on emerging technology and how heritage can be preserved and understood in the future.

Simon Ambrose, CEO of the National Trust of Australia (Victoria), said, “The National Trust has worked to diversify the program of events at this year’s Australian Heritage Festival to encourage communities to come together and discover heritage in a new way.”

Below, we’ve assembled a few architectural highlights from the 2019 program. To view the full program, go here.

Robin Boyd Centenary Heritage Speaker Series – Melbourne

1, 9 and 15 May

In 2019, the Robin Boyd Foundation is overseeing the celebrations of the centenary of architect Robin Boyd’s birth. As part of these celebrations, the foundation is running a series of three panel discussions featuring architects and designers on heritage and what it means in 2019.

The speakers for the series have yet to be announced, but the topics – “Who owns heritage,” “The Goldilocks paradigm in restoration and conservation” and “Mid-century modernism in a post-ironic world” – pose some big questions and promise lively discussions.

The Boyd Foundation’s 2013 Summer School at Robin Boyd’s Walsh Street house.

The Boyd Foundation’s 2013 Summer School at Robin Boyd’s Walsh Street house.

Image: Robert Deutscher

Beaumaris Classics by Foot – Melbourne

19 May, tours at 1 and 3pm

This walking tour of the Melbourne suburb of Beaumaris will see visitors take in an area that is home to a proportionally large number of houses by some of Melbourne’s most significant modernist architects and practices, including Anatol Kagan, Yuncken Freeman and Chancellor and Patrick.

The tour is organized by modernist heritage group Beaumaris Modern, which has also launched a book celebrating the mid-century houses in the area, written by its members Fiona Austin, Simon Reeves and Alison Alexander.

Tower Hill Twilight Tour and Talk – Tower Hill

18 May, 3–6pm

Part of the 2019 Robin Boyd Centenary of Design celebrations, this tour and presentation at the Tower Hill Visitor Centre will be an opportunity to explore Boyd’s design and learn more about the Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve, Victoria’s first official national park.

Tower Hill Game Reserve by Robin Boyd.

Tower Hill Game Reserve by Robin Boyd.

Image: Heritage Council Victoria

“What’s in a name?” by Melbourne Architours – Melbourne

11, 12 May, 1.30–2.15pm

This tour, designed specifically to address the theme of the 2019 Australian Heritage Festival, will take in many of Melbourne’s most significant landmarks, exploring their names and the history behind them. The tour will take in street names to modern day icons like Federation Square, Birrarung Marr and Eureka Tower.

The Griffins’ Castlecrag hidden house hop – Sydney

4 May

A two-hour walking tour that visits a number of houses designed by architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin in the Sydney suburb of Castlecrag. The 13 surviving houses were built in the 1920s by the Griffins’ Greater Sydney Development Association project, which aimed to produce residential developments that were sympathetic to the landscape. The Griffins themselves lived in Castlecrag for a decade from 1925.

Places on the tour must be pre-booked.

Conrad Gargett presents Brisbane’s Customs House – Brisbane

15 May, 5.15pm

Conrad Gargett will make a presentation on the value of heritage building and its experience in rehabilitating, conserving and redesigning heritage buildings. The presentation will make use of its work on Brisbane’s Customs House, which was built in 1889 and is listed on the Queensland Heritage Register and the Register of the National Estate.Conrad Gargett has worked on a number of projects as part of the building’s ongoing conservation and adaptive reuse, including additions like The River Room and Patina restaurant.

The former Penitentiary Sleeping Ward (third class accommodation within the Female Factory).

The former Penitentiary Sleeping Ward (third class accommodation within the Female Factory).

Image: Australian Heritage Council

Ranelagh Estate Walks by the National Trust of Australia’s (Victoria) Mornington Peninsula Branch – Mount Eliza

4 and 11 May, 2pm

A tour of state heritage-listed Ranelagh Estate in Mount Eliza, which was designed in 1924 by Walter Burley Griffin with surveyor Saxil Tuxen and Marion Mahony Griffin as an estate for professional families to build holiday homes. Visitors will be able to “enjoy a guided walk through the curvilinear streets of the Walter Burley Griffin-designed Ranelagh Estate and learn first-hand about the history of the heritage dwellings that line the streets of this stunning estate.”

Female Factory Focus – Parramatta

27 April, 11 and 15 May

The Parramatta Female Factory was a workhouse and residence, designed by convict and colonial architect Francis Greenway, who later became the first government architect of NSW. The prison for “unassigned” convict women opened in 1821 and was Australia’s first purpose-built facility for convict women sent to NSW. This three and a half-hour mini-bus tour will explore one of the most significant surviving pieces of Australia’s convict-era past and allow visitors to interrogate the role of women during that period. The Parramatta Female Factory was placed on the national heritage list in 2017 following a contentious proposal to redevelop the surrounding area.

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