Converge Heritage + Community / ARCHAEO Cultural Heritage Services undertook an Historical Assessment of the Mount Peter area, on behalf of the Cairns Regional Council in February 2008.
The study was one of a number of base line studies commissioned by Cairns Regional Council as part of its master planning and urban design strategy for the Mount Peter Area which has been identified as a priority urban growth area in the Cairns region over the next 20 years.
The purpose of the non Indigenous cultural heritage assessment was for ARCHAEO/Converge to provide to Cairns Regional Council with a thematic and contextual history of the study area and to identify areas or places of particular significance which should be considered in detail in the Master Planning process.
It comprised one of two stand alone reports which considered both Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultural heritage in the Mount Peter area.
The assessment included:
- A summary of the legislative framework;
- Contextual and historical research;
- The nature of consultation undertaken with the Mount Peter and wider Cairns community;
- Results of the cultural heritage study; and
- Recommendations for the management and protection of places of potential areas of cultural heritage significance.
The study found that the Mount Peter area is significant in the early history of the Cairns region and that within the Study Area there are at least 33 historic sites with potential heritage value. Additionally it identified and put into context a number of historic themes relevant to the Area, for example the continuing Indigenous occupation of the Area after colonisation.
The aim of this study was to provide an overview of the Mount Peter Area and an investigation and identification of areas and items of potential historic cultural heritage significance. To achieve this, the following scope of study was undertaken:
• Research and discussion of the historical, archaeological and physical context of the Study Area;
• Consideration of what historical heritage sites and places exist;
• Understanding of the known extent of significance associated with historical heritage sites within the Study Area, and whether or not potential exists for currently undefined sites to be present; and
• Defining which historical heritage sites, if any, will require further study before evaluation and management of risks can be achieved.
The ARCHAEO/Converge study used an integrated approach to established places and potential places of significance in the study area. As such, ARCHAEO/Converge combined desktop research of heritage registers and studies (for previously identified places) with primary historical research, community consultation, contextual research and targeted site survey to identify places of potential cultural heritage significance.
This method allowed a holistic approach to the non-Indigenous cultural heritage of the area. It considered those properties which were listed with the Register of National Estate and State Heritage Register and Cairns Regional Council registers which already had an established level of significance as well as considering sites and places where, levels of significance may or may not have been identified to the same extent thereby identifying sites and places which might be of previously unidentified significance.
Cairns Regional Council's innovative master planning approach for the Mount Peter Area has allowed the cultural heritage values of the Area to be considered in a timely manner which should allow the cultural heritage values and significance of the Mount Peter Area to be integrated into its overall development.
By incorporating this document into their master planning, Cairns Regional Council have the opportunity to take a pro active approach to the management of cultural heritage values of an area that was identified as being of considerable significance in the context of the Cairns area and thereby contributing to the protection of Queensland's cultural heritage for the future
Through the adoption of best practice principles such as those of the Burra Charter, ARCHAEO / Converge undertook a thorough investigation into the cultural heritage values of the area and detailed recommendations which addressed the following heritage matters:
- Managing sites with cultural heritage significance;
- The area's aesthetic qualities;
- Archaeological potential;
- Recording the area's history;
- Interpreting the history of the area; and,
- Mitigating the impact of development of the Area.
With the provision of a heritage study that utilises an integrated approach, such as the Mount Peter Heritage study, local government authorities can be equipped with a representation of the range of cultural heritage values that exist within the study area, far in excess of the limited nominations on registers for sites of local, state and national significance.
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