Murrurundi & Pride of Place

Murrurundi & Pride of Place

I’ve just run into Mandy Archibald; oddly enough at a ‘pop up’ fish mongers refrigerated van. I felt guilty! I should add something for Murrurundi. Mandy is the very best ‘Pride of Place’ ambassador with her regular local ABC Radio historical segments. This is the best I can do at short notice. Sorry Mandy!

The featured image is the view from Murrurundi Gap. It mus be what Uncle Benny was writing about (see below)?

This is very ‘dated’ harking back to my time as Councillor on the Upper Hunter Shire Council. I also acted as Chairman of the UHSC Heritage Committee. The following are recorded for my visit to the Murrurundi Public School for its 160 year celebration. I thought some of the messages and sentiments were worth repeating? I have left them in context even though the meeting references are long past. Maybe you can give them a score? Has anything changed or happened?

“I have stood many times throughout my life at the spot where the Northern Highway touches the summit of the Dividing Range, above the railway tunnel to look down at Murrurundi, three miles away steeped in early history, undisturbed by progress, lying asleep in a cradle fashioned by the feet of its encircling mountains.

If there is an island valley equal in scope and in balanced beauty in New South Wales, I have yet to find it”

Mr. Harold Sims (aka Uncle Bunny

Murrurundi Public School

Established 1849

160 Years of Quality Education

Friday 4th December 2009


‘Developing Pride in Our Heritage and Confidence in Our Future’


Maximising Outcomes   Positive Relationships                    Success for All

Pride of Place

It’s all about looking after what you have. At a recent meeting of your UHSC Heritage Committee, guest speaker and chairman of Murrurundi Chamber of Commerce Peter Carlin spoke passionately and eloquently about his ‘pride of place’ in his new tree change home at Murrurundi.  He even rightly claimed ownership in stating ‘we won the Bluett Award’. Pride of Place (PoP) in remote Cape York is a paradigm designed to help improve the presentation of people’s houses and gardens as well as support the cleaning up of public spaces. Having a clean, neat environment will help make people proud of their surroundings, and in turn create a significant positive effect on social norms. It is also a family development project that strengthens households and communities while building people’s skills and confidence. PoP encourages families to take pride in and responsibility for the condition of their homes and backyards. Improvements may include landscaping, tree planting, house painting, carport or garden shed construction.  On Tuesday 14 October 2008, the City of Newcastle agreed to convene a Pride of Place taskforce. The taskforce has been working to address issues that impact on the overall amenity of the city including graffiti, vandalism, community safety, cleanliness and appearance. Representatives from business, government agencies, young people and the community are represented on the taskforce.

You will be relieved to know that you have a de facto Pride of Place commentarial in your UHSC Heritage Advisory Committee (HAC). The UHSC has a Heritage Strategy for the period 2011 to 2014. The mission is to protect significant places from adverse impacts resulting from deterioration, inappropriate use and over-development. The vision is for the UHSC to work with the community to identify, maintain, protect and enhance the LGA’s natural, cultural and built heritage in accordance with Australian Burra Charter principles for the benefit of present and future residents and visitors. Burra Charter? Pauline Hanson would say: please explain. I’m with you there, Pauline. The Burra Charter defines the basic principles and procedures to be followed in the conservation of Australian heritage places.

We have a dedicated group headed up by consultant and Heritage Advisor Lillian Cullen whose services are available free through the UHSC. I am titular chairman – or ‘tit’ for short. We are spread across the geographic landscape and meet regularly between Murrurundi, Scone and Merriwa. This is a seminal moment in our and your history. Under review are the Heritage Conservation Areas for each locality. You should become familiar with the content by visiting our website and/or our UHSC offices in Scone, Merriwa or Murrurundi.

I commend your energetic and passionate volunteer representatives on HAC: Cr Deirdre Peebles, Cr Pam Seccombe, Bryan Baker, Libby Walker, Lea Luckett, Matt Dixon, Geoff Field, Barbara Riddell, Mary Woodlands, Kate Halliday, Gordon Halliday, Bev Atkinson, Murray James and Paul Smith. Thanks to local knowledge, inspiration, innovation, energy, drive and vision, some outstanding things have been happening such as the Merriwa Railway Restoration Project, Murrurundi Museum and the Pioneer Cottage, Murrurundi. My contribution to pride of place amounts to mowing the grass on a regular basis on the extensive footpaths outside our residence and planting ornamental shade trees. It’s not always done with good grace but it invariably makes me feel better: and proud. An additional corollary is that it improves my health and fitness. Even more important is that Peter Carlin’s passion and persistence have borne fruit. With the unanimous support of your Heritage Committee the Hunter Heritage Network Seminar “Pride of Place” will be held in Murrurundi on Friday 30th March 2012. Have you seen the Belmore Hotel recently? There’ll be more to come later.