Federal Minister for Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek, visited the Silver City yesterday to make a significant announcement regarding federal support for the Broken Hill Trades Building UNESCO World Heritage Listing bid.
The international bid, spearheaded by Denmark, includes Paasitorni Helsinki in Finland, The Workers Assembly Hall in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Feestlokaal van Vooruit Ghent in Belgium along with the Victorian Trades Hall in Melbourne and the Broken Hill Trades Hall.
Minister Plibersek made the announcement at Trades Hall, giving an impassioned speech about the importance of the Trades Hall, not just to Broken Hill and Australia, but to the world.
The announcement marks another important milestone for the iconic building as it inches ever closer to gaining World Heritage Listing, along with Victorian Trades Hall and several others as nominations for the World Heritage List of Workers’ Assembly Halls.
“I’m really happy to be here today because this announcement of the Broken Hill Trades Hall, the Australian Government and the New South Wales Government working together to nominate it for World Heritage listing is a really significant acknowledgement of not only the beauty of the building, but the role Broken Hill played in leading the world in conditions for working people,” Minister Plibersek told the Barrier Truth.
“This is a delightful thing to be able to do. Not only is it great because I love this building and it is a wonderful thing to be able to be part of showing the world how beautiful this place is.
“It’s a really, really special place in Australian history and culture and anybody who came here, from anywhere in the world, can see an intact description of the industrial history here,” Minister Plibersek continued.
There is still some distance until the building will be officially anointed as a UNESCO World Heritage Listed dwelling, but the federal government support was crucial to the ongoing bid.
“We have had to get local government, state government and now federal government backing, and the federal government backing is the most important to secure, because without it the bid just wouldn’t go forward,” Diana Ferry, advisor to the Trades Hall Trust, told the Truth.
There is optimism that the building will get the nod since the Trades Hall is still used for its original purpose, but also acknowledgement that it is some way down the track still.
“Although the outcome is probably two to three years away, we’re reasonably confident because this has been put together over the last 13 years, and certainly over the last eight years, we’ve all worked together in the background, putting together the documentation,” Ms Ferry continued.
Ms Ferry went on to laud the support the bid has received, not only locally but around the country and around the world.
“We have had a lot of support from the Victorian Trades Hall. We have also had really good advice and support from Liz Vines and Simon Molesworth. Heritage architects Lovell Chen have given us some pro bono support. Margot White contributed a lot to the early historical research.
“Even people like Corey Spiteri from Council who did some research and put together the script behind the videos that are playing at Trades Hall – that script gave us a lot of historical data as well. So, people have been contributing to that process even if they didn’t know it,” Ms Ferry continued.
Ms Ferry went on to detail the difference World Heritage Listing would make to not only the building – but also Broken Hill and the Far West Region.
“The World Heritage nomination will enable us to attract funding to help maintain the building. It will also attract visitors to the building because it will put it on the map of significant places to visit, which in turn helps the region, and helps the city of Broken Hill, as well.”