A message from Historic Houses Association of Australia (HHA):
Amongst the members and affiliates societies of the RAHS are many people who, in one way or another, participate in the protection and management of important historic houses in their local communities. This may include buildings you occupy, are open to the public, live in or visit.
If you do, you will know that over the past 30 years or so, there has been enormous growth in the so-called ‘heritage industry’. Many different types of professionals – conservation architects, planners, archaeologists, bureaucrats – and organisations have developed. This growth has been accompanied by sophisticated and sometimes complex processes, charters and procedures to facilitate the identification, protection and management of historic buildings in Australia. Owners, especially of houses, can be bewildered and intimidated by this array of expertise, processes and the expectations placed on them. Yet it is the owners who are often on the receiving end of decisions that arise from these processes.
To an owner it sometimes feels like there are ‘more obligations and no incentives’. Almost everyone who owns a historic house can tell a ‘war story’ of bureaucratic frustration, conditions that impose additional costs, delays, lack of information and demanding officialdom. But it’s not all bad. Some can tell of the lifeline offered by a government grant, access to professional advice or support from the local community.
The Historic Houses Association of Australia (HHA) was formed in 2016 to become the leading support agency for the owners of historic houses across Australia. It is inspired by similar bodies around the world that were formed many years ago to act as a voice for the owners of historic houses.
In order to better understand the needs of owners in Australia the HHA is arranging a national conference in Sydney on 5–6 April 2018. It will feature speakers from organisations in Britain and Europe that have been in existence for many years and have been very effective in supporting owners through technical and legal advice, lobbying governments for tax concessions for owners, advising on commercial activities including tourism opportunities, collegiate support and dissemination of information.
This will be the first national conference in Australia of its kind – with the needs of owners of historic houses at its core, with the aim of developing a national agenda and a national voice that can be advanced to benefit owners.
The conference will hear from owners and others throughout Australia who will tell their own stories of successes, frustrations and failures. It will also hear from state and local governments and from experts in the field about what support currently exists. This conference is aimed at private and public owners of historic houses, all levels of government, heritage agencies and interested members of the public.
The HHA would be delighted to have representatives from the many affiliated societies of the RAHS attend the conference, as your participation would be invaluable. For further information on the conference, click here.