Conrad Gargett is leading a multidisciplinary team to develop the first Site Masterplan for Kingston, a World Heritage Listed historic site and cultural hub on Norfolk Island. This work is being undertaken in conjunction with an updated Heritage Management Plan by GML.
Boarding their first flight through the international terminal in a number of years, our team commenced work on this project in February, spending a week on the island to understand the site, key issues, challenges and opportunities.
This visit included comprehensive engagement with the local community and key stakeholders. The team hosted a week of open ‘drop in’ sessions, targeted group sessions and informal one-on-one discussions to capture the community’s knowledge, understanding and passion for the site. Stakeholders ranged from community elders (The Council of Elders), lease holders, families, schoolchildren and the general community, through to tourism operators and business representatives.
The team recently returned to Norfolk Island to share their findings from the initial consultation including the key outcomes, challenges and opportunities. A range of options were presented back to the community and we now look forward to their feedback which will help shape the masterplan moving forward.
The Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area was inscribed on the World Heritage list alongside ten other sites across the Australian mainland which each tell a different aspect of the Australian Convict story. In addition to the two convict periods of occupation, the site also embodies other layers of history including settlement by Polynesian Islanders almost 400 years ago and as the home of the Pitcairn Islanders who relocated to Norfolk in 1856. Kingston is integral to the island’s cultural heritage and contemporary story.
The site has an outstanding collection of high significance heritage buildings, ruins and archaeology representing the four key periods of settlement and development. The values of the site are also embedded in the dramatic setting of rolling green hills and valleys, ubiquitous Norfolk Island Pines and beautiful rugged coastline with secluded swimming bays and a coral reef. Alongside the significant layers of history, Kingston is a “living site” and forms a key part of the cultural life and day to day activities on the Island. The place is highly significant to locals for hosting cultural, social and recreational activities.
The Kingston Site Masterplan project builds upon previous and recent engagement to consider new opportunities and options for the future use and experience of the site.
The project considers how to support and enhance community and cultural uses while balancing the needs of visitors and tourists. Issues such as arrival, entry and orientation, museum management, interpretation and visitor experiences will be considered in the development of the masterplan.
In order for the site to remain vibrant into the future, the Site Masterplan will consider potential new uses for some of the many heritage buildings on the site. These new uses need to be appropriate, compatible and retain the values of the place.
Conrad Gargett will return to Norfolk Island in September to present the draft to the community and stakeholders for further feedback.