Tuesday, August 29, 2017

SUBMISSION: Cimitiere St Carpark 71 Cimitiere Street LAUNCESTON TAS 7250

22 August 2017 
 The General Manager, 
Mr Robert Dobrzynski 
Launceston City Council 
Town Hall St John Street 
By email only toRobert.Dobrzynski@launceston.tas.gov.au 

 Dear Sir, .

Re : DA 0377/2017, Visitor Accommodation - hotel: Food Services - restaurant; construction of a hotel, subservient uses and a restaurant; associated works including demolition, provision of landscaping, fences, access and parking; associated works in the adjoining road reservations including removal of 3 kerbside parking spaces for the provision of vehicle crossings in Tamar Street and Cimitiere Street (re-advertised) - Cimitiere St Carpark 71 Cimitiere Street LAUNCESTON TAS 7250. 

We refer to the Notice in The Examiner newspaper on August 9, 2017.

Having perused the documents published on Council's website, we wish to make the following representation in relation to this Discretionary Application. 

For some time, many residents of Launceston have been trying to reconcile high-rise development with heritage protection. From our research of cities world-wide, in almost every city where Tall Building Policies have been implemented, such policies were introduced only as a consequence of public outrage sparked by the construction of an individual building popularly perceived as violating the character of the city. Since 1977, Launceston City Council has promoted restraint in the construction of tall buildings in the central area. The LCC's Launceston National Estate Conservation Study promoted low-level developments of 2-3 storeys, and when taller buildings were proposed, these were to have a 3-3.5 storey podium at the street alignment, with the upper 5-6 storeys of taller buildings set back below a 35 0 line projected from the property boundary on the opposite side of the street.

The HPS(T)Inc. subscribes to the views and philosophies expressed in The Australia ICOMOS Charter for Places of Cultural Significance, The Burra Charter, where the Charter advocates a cautious approach to change : do as much to care for the place and to make it useable, but otherwise change it as little as possible so that its cultural significance is retained. Launceston is Australia's third oldest city, and an essential cornerstone of its cultural heritage significance is its limitation in the height of new developments. Tasmanian tourism authorities and including Launceston City Council itself, commonly describe Launceston as having the best preserved cityscape and with a fascinating history traced in its beautiful old buildings and streetscapes. 

To many people, the understanding of Launceston as a place of cultural heritage significance, may be difficult to express in words and whilst remain important and essential to their sense of well-being, can remain somewhat elusive and difficult to readily define. Quite recently, on 7th. April 2017, Historic England published a highly regarded and commendable research document UNDERSTANDING PLACE content.historicengland.org.uk that, we submit, may readily be applied to undertaking an historic area assessment here in Launceston. We recommend that Launceston's planners investigate this document and follow the advice therein to establish the qualities and contributions to urban planning that gives Launceston its cultural heritage significance. 

The failings of the Launceston Interim Planning Scheme 2015 have been well stated and agreed, including the failings and incompleteness of its heritage provisions. Your planners will have an opportunity when finalising Launceston's version of the Statewide Planning Scheme to rectify and complete the task, and by formulating an understanding of place, a sound foundation for the sustainable cultural heritage development of Launceston can be achieved. 

Prior to the establishment of modern planning controls in Tasmania and Launceston in particular, from around the early 1960's , a number of adverse developments have been allowed in Launceston. These buildings are regularly referred to by notable visiting cultural experts, with the question put "How ever did you allow the construction of these buildings to occur ?" 

The list of inappropriate developments include: The Telstra Building in St John Street, (constructed as the Telephone Exchange to half this height in 1960's and then doubled in height in the 1970's) so as to alternatively prevent the demolition of the historic Johnstone & Wilmot buildings next door, previously acquired by the Commonwealth Government as a site to expand the telephone exchange. It is an interesting note that during this period the Commonwealth Government was exempt from Local Government planning provisions. .

Grand Chancellor Hotel, Cameron Street, (constructed as Launceston International Hotel in 1984) but illegally constructed to an additional height 2m in excess of the permit conditions. 93 York Street (constructed as MLC Building in1958) Queen Victoria Maternity Hospital (constructed in the 1960's on a very restrictive site as a part of the older maternity hospital complex and limited by encircling residential development. Henty House, Cameron Street Civic Square (constructed 1983 to a much reduced height following very widespread public objection and condemnation of the State Government's 1970's proposed office tower 12 storeys high). The present building was begrudgingly accepted by the public as a less-damaging concept. Quest Hotel 16 Paterson Street,( constructed as D W Murray, originally only 3 storeys, then significantly raised to 6 storeys due to commercial expansion of the Murray warehousing business early in the 20th. century. .

Launceston is a low level city with only a handful of church spires, the Post Office Centenary clock tower and the celebratory tower of Albert Hall punctuating the townscape. Some industrial chimney stacks at the Railyards, Launceston General Hospital, Patons and Baldwin, (several now demolished), and industrial structures such as the Vertical Retort at the Gasworks, the Grain Silo's at King's Wharf, and brewing equipment at Boags Brewery, remain and if not still in operation, are recycled for new and adventurous purposes. 

The pressure for increased density for development in our current day cities does not always demand high rises. In enlightened communities, where the level of living and working amenity is not so highly respected or regulated, high-rise development spores a 'Geography of Nowhere'. 

Paris, a much adored low-rise city referred to as le ville lumiere (city of light, where daylight and sunlight penetrates deeply into its apartments and workplaces right down to pavement level) has a well-researched benefit of a lower level of sufferers of depression, due to the positive influence of light on the wellbeing of Parisiennes. Paris outlawed tall buildings in the city centre in 1974, and in the Tsarist Russian capital of Saint Petersburg, (now identified by UNESCO) buildings could not be taller than the Winter Palace. In Rome there cannot be a building higher than St Peter's Basilica. Even in the highly commercialised city of Bali, Indonesia, following the unpopular construction of the tall Bali Beach Hotel, nothing can now be built higher than a coconut tree at 12m ! 

There are spectacular views to be gained from low level developments on Launceston's surrounding hills, so unlike the 'flat' featureless terrains of many other cities, Launceston does not need to build up to gain elevation and outlooks. Please don't gamble with the 200-year old legacy that exhibits the cultural heritage of Launceston. The height limit at 12m for Launceston may be the single most powerful thing that has made our city so amazingly fulfilling. Once you make a change, in any place or regard, it is essentially irrevocable, and you have stepped on a slippery slope that makes other undesirable changes more likely. 

The irreverent prize for Britain's worst building the Carbuncle Cup is awarded each year, with such places as the building dubbed the "Walkie Talkie" because of its obvious likeness, being one of the notable recipients. In Launceston circles this proposal for the Verge Hotel on Council's Cimitiere Street Car Park site fronting Tamar Street and our much valued Albert Hall, has already been dubbed the "Noodle Box". Please do not allow this potential carbuncle to be dubbed as Launceston's version of a recipient the Carbuncle Cup, a violation of the principles of the cultural heritage character of Launceston. 

In conclusion, we ask that in view what we believe to be a significant opposition to this tall building development application, that Council does not approve the application, instead encouraging this applicant to reduce the height to a limit of 12m and expand the footprint to encompass additional land if necessary to achieve their required room capacity. .

We look forward to your consideration of this representation and feedback on this project. 

Yours faithfully, 
 Lionel Morrell 
 President Heritage Protection Society (Tasmania) Inc.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

HUON PINE: Expressions of Interest:

Huon pine figures among the few materials in the world that have come to define a place. The stories linked to it run very deep in Tasmania and only some have been told. In the vernacular, there’s just so much stuff linked to this wood. 

The history of how this wood was harvested and used is more fascinating than the timber. The stores focus attention upon fascinating histories still hidden in what is thought to be Tasmania’s most important tree. Some of this has been published but much more remains hidden. 

The early exploitation of it for boat timber and furniture, to its present day statues as a rare and expensive wood where anything made from it becomes a kind of treasure that in turn have all kinds of information buried within them. The call is now out for those who have something to offer a publication project set against this background. Please contact the initial project facilitators via Treva Alen treva.alen@bigpond.com ”

Looking at history/histories from a standpoint of anthropology it is said that it “reveals a discipline driven by fission and fusion”. Such an approach sets the scene for something that might be described as ‘deep history’ and as an example of what might be achieved if ‘anthropology’ is permitted to inform critical discourse along the road of fusion rather than continue with the atomised interrogation of what’s known, unknown, believed, understood, whatever.

It might well illustrate a pathway towards examining a kind of fusion involving an ‘ethic of interdisciplinaryism’.  That is an idea encapsulated in the concept of something that might be understood as a ‘social brain’ of a kind.

By placing social imperatives at the heart of ‘historical understandings’ we might find a common ground of a kind upon which various fields of thinking – history, geography, cultural theory, anthropology, etc –  might profitably come together. Here we may have the opportunity to set a new agenda.

Our ‘social brains’ work in accord with deep as well as shallow histories towards it uniting experimental and historical sensibilities. A ‘musingplace’ might be a ‘place’ from which to launch such an endeavour as intimated here.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

CH Smith developer Errol Stewart hits out at Heritage Protection Society (Tasmania) president Lionell Morell

NOTE: The contention relative to this building just will not go away. Importantly a great deal of Launceston's history and heritage is located in the place.

The various development proposals that have failed have done so largely because of poor planning and Launceston's Aldermen will be judged in the future in regard to all this.

One or two have been unseemly in their willingness along the way to try an "hurry things up" and what they'll be remembered for is now in the lap of the GODS.
From the Examiner: "CH Smith developer Errol Stewart has hit out at Heritage Protection Society (Tasmania) president Lionell Morell over comments made to the City of Launceston about the site’s development application. ............ In a representation to the council, Mr Morell advocated a condition to retain the existing structure at 22 Charles Street but the developers plan to convert the top two storeys into one level. ............ “The remaining structure of the old warehouse at No 22 has been recognised and required to be retained by previous adjudicated permits,” he said. ............ “From our site inspection with the owners/developers and the heritage advisers, the significance of the surviving interior of the old residence at No 24 was identified, and accordingly we submit that all internal walls and the layout be retained accordingly.” ............ Mr Stewart said the suggestion old permit recommendations should be maintained was disappointing. ............ “The suggestion that the approval, which was granted 22 years ago, should bind us is totally without foundation,” he said.(the Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal) like all other eight representers are entitled to.” ............ Independent consultant planner Ashley Brook, from GHD, was engaged by the council to assess the application as the City of Launceston has a pecuniary interest in the development. ............ “The proposed works provide a reasonable balance between the preservation of the heritage buildings within the site and the practical realities of the proposed development,” he said. ............ The proposal put forward by developers Errol Stewart and Scott Curran would see the historic façades along Charles street restored. ............ The existing building closest to the Cimitiere Street intersection will be opened up on the lower two levels to accommodate a coffee shop with a floor area of 103msq. ............ A building extension to the rear of the 1860s Grain Store at 22 Charles Street and the 1938 CH Smith Wool Store at 20 Charles Street would be used as office space. ............ The proposed major extension at the rear of the buildings, also extending to the rear of 24 Charles Street, will be built over two levels above the ground level of a car park. ............ The 1830s Canal Street Warehouse, also known as the Cordial Factory or Supply River Store, would be retained and reused as a café or bar. ............ The plans include a large car park to be constructed over two levels to provide for both the private needs of the tenancies on the site as well as public parking. ............ The City of Launceston will vote on the development at its meeting on Monday. " ... Go to the source here – http://www.examiner.com.au/story/4418379/heritage-dispute-developing-over-ch-smith-pictures-videos/?cs=5312

RELATED STORIES: CH Smith plans go to council CH Smith plans unveiled by Errol Stewart and Scott Curran CH Smith timeline: revival efforts over 20 years Launceston City Council supports CH Smith car park plan Tasmanian Heritage Council green lights CH Smith site plans CH Smith site could be part of a major Launceston City Council development"

Monday, December 5, 2016

MEDIA RELEASE – 5 December 2016 Tasmania’s celebrated built heritage needs stronger protection under proposed planning scheme – National Trust

Freycinet Action Network
5 December 2016

Tasmania’s celebrated built heritage needs stronger protection 
under proposed planning scheme – National Trust

The Deputy Chair of the National Trust of Australia (Tasmania) Warwick Oakman has joined other stakeholder voices to raise concerns about changes to planning rules in Tasmania and the impact it could have on the preservation and setting of buildings in Tasmanian towns. Mr Oakman will address a public meeting on the planning reforms this Tuesday night in Launceston.

The National Trust is a community-based organisation responsible for the protection and presentation of historic heritage places. Since 1960 the Trust and its members have played a lead role advocating for the preservation of built heritage in Tasmania. It manages and opens to the public historic properties such as Runnymede in Hobart and Clarendon outside of Launceston. Mr Oakman has been involved with the management of the National Trust in Tasmania for the past 18 years.

“We are concerned about the small towns of Tasmania and how traditional, modest, sometimes internationally significant places and attendant rural landscape setting will be preserved under the proposed provisions of the new Tasmanian Planning Scheme,” said Mr Oakman.

“Unless planning has provisions to help protect unique and important heritage buildings and landscapes, it will have a permanent detrimental impact on Tasmania.”

Mr Oakman said the concerns were heightened with the impending removal of over 500 properties from the Tasmanian Heritage Register.

“The built cultural heritage landscape of Tasmania is of unique national and international character and needs strong protection under planning laws,” said Mr Oakman.

Mr Oakman will discuss the National Trust's concerns over the current proposed planning reforms at a public information night in Launceston on Tuesday, organised by over 20 community and environment groups.

7 - 9 pm, Tuesday 6th December
Pilgrim Uniting Church
34 Patterson Street, Launceston
Facebook Event Link:


Sophie Underwood Founder of the Freycinet Action Network. Sophie will provide an overview, background, timelines and next steps of the proposed Tasmanian Planning Scheme.

Evan Boardman - Evan Boardman, Director of E3 Planning. Evan is a planning consultant and will be speaking about how the draft Tasmanian Planning Scheme will be taking away most of the protections for neighbourhood amenity and character with regards to views, privacy, sunlight into your backyard and home.

Todd Dudley – Director of the North East Bioregional Network will be speaking on the potential environmental impacts of the proposed Tasmanian Planning Scheme.

All three political parties have been invited to attend and the Green’s Rosalie Woodruff will outline her party’s position, while a statement will be read from Labor’s Madeline Ogilvie, Shadow Minister for Local Government & Public Planning, who is an apology. Planning Minister Peter Gutwein has again declined an invitation to participate in the public meeting.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Crowdfunding Alert

For More Information eMail LauncestonProjects@bigpond.com


 BTW:  Thanks to the reader who emailed me insisting that "suppoting" really needs an 'r' ... you're right and we've put it back after it got back from, and got over, being WRONG! ... However we do appreciate your money THANX!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


Dear Ratepayers and supporters,

Thank you to those who signed the original petition requesting that Launceston City Council convene a Public Meeting to discuss the gifting of the land at Inveresk (the old Velodrome cycling track site next to York Park Stadium) and the Willis Street public car park site (the old Goods Railyard on the opposite side of the North Esk River)  and who were able to attend the Public Meeting that was finally concluded last week on 21st June at Albert Hall. 

The 132 members of the public attending the Public Meeting overwhelmingly opposed the gifting of the land  to the University, compared to less than 10 of those who were willing to vote AGAINST the Motions put to the meeting.

Since the Meeting, The Examiner Newspaper (who has admitted publicly its bias in supporting the move by UTas to Inveresk) received 138 Facebook comments, all opposing the proposal. That level of comment to a media Facebook story is extraordinary!

Unfortunately, Launceston City Council is not obliged to accept the outcome of the Public Meeting, and we are sure that LCC will continue to progress the gifting of the 2 pieces of land to UTas.

However, the Local Government Act 1993 allows for petitioners to proceed to sign a SECOND PETITION, once a Public Meeting has been held on the topic, this time requesting LCC to facilitate an ELECTOR POLL of all Launceston people on the Launceston Elector Roll.

A minimum of 1000 elector signatures (we aim for say, 1500 so as to ensure its validity) must be collected and presented by 20 July 2016

We expect this will be a major undertaking in such a short time, however, with your assistance, we hope we can succeed.

If you are able to print off the Petition Form, then we ask that you:

  • email LauncestonPR@bigpond.com asking for the PDF Form;
  • sign the form and encourage as many friends and acquaintances on the Launceston Roll, to do likewise. 
  • post original copies ack to our collection point (P.O. Box 513 Launceston 7250); OR
  • simply drop them into my letterbox at 41 High Street, when you are passing. 
  • You may also like to send a copy of the Petition to your friends, by email.
If you do not have printing facilities, please ask me for copie(s) to be forwarded to you.
In the meantime, here are a few ‘dot’ points to summarise last Tuesday night’s Public Meeting:

  • Criticism of Council’s lack of due diligence, including construction problems/costs and issues with developing on the flood plains of the North Esk River and potential seismic risks
  • The track record of UTas in consistently chipping away at the Launceston campus making it but a shadow of what it was 20 years ago. There is no confidence this pattern will change
  • 10,000 PLUS extra students can’t be guaranteed. It is an aspirational figure based on demographics not fact, and a fraud to say that is the kind of figure that will eventuate from this proposal
  • Absence of support by electors
  • Risk of UTas plan not fully eventuating or finding success – the punt
  • Reliance on trust versus a properly defined and proven business plan
  • The Northern Campuses remaining lesser branches of UTas without the ability of independent initiatives to remain sustainable
  • Traffic congestion and parking inadequacies for UTas and other users of the precinct
  • We need a uniquely Northern campus independent of UTas 
Please do not hesitate to contact me should you like to discuss your position on this land give away, or have any ideas on how we may further engage with Launceston Electors in relation to this matter.

If you are concerned about the high level of LCC Rates that you are being required to pay, and at how LCC spends your hard-earned money, then please sign the Petition. Council’s valuation of these two pieces of land is $4.5M and apart from the loss of this significant sum that would lessen the Launceston rate burden, the land currently produces a healthy income to Council that helps offset rates paid by its citizens. Once this becomes University owned, not even rates are payable.

Many thanks,


Lionel MorrellPresident
Tasmanian Ratepayers Association Inc.
41 High Street
Launceston TAS  7250
T  03 6331 6144
e  li82303@bigpond.net.au

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Public Meeting Launceston City Council

Notice of Public Meeting

Public Meeting 7 June 2016 postponed to 21 June 2016

The public is advised that at the Public Meeting held at the Albert Hall, Launceston at 7pm on Tuesday 7 June 2016 in response to a petition received by the Council Meeting, the subject matter being:

1.    That the Launceston City Council call a Public Meeting for the purpose of discussing the Council's decision to transfer (free gift) land, known as Willis Street Car Park and Old Velodrome
2.    Call on Council to rescind the motion passed by the Full Council Meeting 9th November 2015 to transfer said land (free gift) to UTAS
3.    That the said land be placed for sale on the open market via a public auction with a Reserve Price of $5 million,

the following decisions were taken:

1.    That Mr Don Wing AM is appointed as chairperson for the purposes of the Public Meeting; and

2.    That in view of the flood crises that is threatening Launceston and with respect to the efforts and pleadings by the petitioners and their representative for this Public Meeting to be rescheduled to a later date since yesterday, such a request having been refused by Council's representatives, this meeting now be adjourned forthwith and resume at this same venue on Tuesday 21 June 2016 at 7pm, so that those people attending can now return home safely.

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a Public Meeting will be held in Albert Hall, corner of Tamar and Cimitiere Streets Launceston, commencing at 7pm on Tuesday 21 June 2016 to consider the matters sought by the petitioners, namely:

1.    That the Launceston City Council call a Public Meeting for the purpose of discussing the Council's decision to transfer (free gift) land, known as Willis Street Car Park and Old Velodrome
2.    Call on Council to rescind the motion passed by the Full Council Meeting 9th November 2015 to transfer said land (free gift) to UTAS
3.    That the said land be placed for sale on the open market via a public auction with a Reserve Price of $5 million.

The chair of the Public Meeting shall be Mr Don Wing AM and the Meeting shall be conducted in accordance with the Local Government Meeting Procedures (Regulations) 2015, as appropriate. The agenda of the meeting will be:

1.    Opening remarks from the Mayor, Alderman A M van Zetten
2.    Introductory remarks from the Chair, Mr Don Wing AM
3.    Report on submissions by the General Manager under section 60A(4) of the Local Government Act 1993 (Tas)
4.    Statements of position (15 minutes each)
(a)  Council
(b)  Petitioner
5.    Motions on the subject matter
6.    Close

Written submissions in relation to the subject matter have been summarised by the General Manager and will be available to those attending the Public Meeting and can be viewed at www.launceston.tas.gov.au.

Robert Dobrzynski

General Manager

Sunday, December 13, 2015


A collections of historical photos of Northern Tasmania from various sources. Please feel free to post your own but also give credit for their origins. The photos and memories of the past are the history of our future. By combining them into one place, we are ensuring that the memories linger and  our grandchildren will know and understand us. Please share your memories


Click here to access this article online
JAMES BRADY'S TEXT: THE proposed de-listing of 44 Balfour Street properties from the Tasmanian Heritage Register has been questioned by a Launceston architect. ......... Lionel Morrell said he was a member of the National Trust classification and building advisory committee when the street, including the advertised properties, were listed on the register. ......... Mr Morrell said, at the time, the process was considered to be the most extensive classification process ever undertaken by the committee for the National Trust. ......... A letter detailing the study was sent to Tasmanian Heritage Council chairwoman Brett Torossi, Heritage Minister Matthew Groom and Treasurer Peter Gutwein. ......... "The process included research of valuation rolls and other archive material to establish a detailed history of each place, builders, architects and inhabitants," Mr Morrell wrote. ......... "From surveys of the street, and photographs, architectural descriptions were prepared, formulating a statement of significance. ......... "All owners and occupants were contacted formally by letter prior to the conclusion of the research, and none of the owners objected to the entry of their property on the National Trust's Register and nomination to the Launceston City Council's Heritage List." ......... Ms Torossi said she had access to the reports. ......... "A wide range of relevant records available to the Heritage Council were considered as part of the recent assessments of entries on the Tasmanian Heritage Register," Ms Torossi said. ......... "The 'intention to remove' process is designed to provide affected property owners and the public with the opportunity to furnish any additional information that they think will assist the Heritage Council to make informed decisions. ......... "The Tasmanian Heritage Council is completing its consultation with the Launceston community and at the same time has begun the process with affected property owners in Hobart." ......... 

FURTHER COMMENT FROM LIONELL MORRELL ......... All Launceston properties that have been entered on the statutory Planning Scheme heritage list were subject to a public advertising and objection process. When the Tasmanian Parliament created the legislation for the Tasmanian Heritage Council and hence the Tasmanian Heritage Register, it was Parliament who made it law to automatically move over all listings in Launceston and Hobart, as well as places listed on the National Trust Register, to the Tasmanian Heritage Register. This was a very public process. In the case of Balfour St, additional work was done, so why is the THC now trying to undo this thorough process?......... The issue of house insurance is a matter for the Australian Insurance Council, and you may be surprised to learn that another of their whacky conditions applied to housing insurance, voids cover on all buildings over 100 years old unless noted and agreed. Who has ticked that box on their application/renewal form? This has nothing to do with heritage listings and in Launceston, of the 30,000 buildings in the city, only a small percentage are heritage listed, but a large number are over 100 years old. With Launceston founded over 200 years ago, it is obviously an old city, but why is it potentially denied insurance cover. Just because you have paid an insurance premium doesn't mean your building is covered.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Modern approach to preserving history

HPS Editor's Note: Mr Smithies speaks here from the position of the National Trust's Managing Director operating under the auspices of the  National Trust Act and is curiously silent in regard to the Trust's Board of Directorsits membership and their role in determining policy and undertaking strategic planning. Unless the National Trust's Board  of Directors has functionally abdicated its governance role and thus has delegated policy determination to the Managing Director, if so, this seems to be at odds with best practice in corporate governance and management. Moreover, if this is excused under the banner of 'modernity' it is unfortunate with many risks attached.


Modern approach to preserving history

By May 23, 2015, 5:44 p.m.

MATTHEW Smithies wants to see National Trust Tasmania become a contemporary heritage management organisation.
He  moved here from Sydney   six years ago, after two decades in senior heritage management with several institutions.Mr Smithies, who replaced Chris Tassel as the trust’s managing director in December, said the organisation had not always excelled in good governance and financial responsibility.
Among them were the Australian Maritime Museum and the Queen Victoria Building,  with  partnership programs with the Australian War Memorial, Sydney Opera House and Art Gallery of New South Wales .
He was  also  a New South Wales government cultural heritage adviser and established Sydney After Dark.
In his five years with the state’s National Trust, he has overseen numerous projects including the Tasmanian Heritage Festival.
‘‘The last museum I was at was the Sydney Jewish Museum, which was an absolute eye-opener for me,’’ he said. ‘‘They represented the Holocaust, it was a commemorative site, and it turned my view on heritage site management on its head.
‘‘I had been trained fairly traditionally, and when I went there it was all about impact.
‘‘It wasn’t about trying to get huge numbers to the site: success was measured by what impact the experience had on the visitor.
‘‘I found that a fascinating way to measure success in a cultural institution.
Mr Smithies, who lives just outside   Lilydale, has established a hazelnut plantation and runs a rare breed of Irish Dexter cattle.‘‘That’s the philosophy I’m trying to overlay with the National Trust in Tasmania.’’
He works out of Youngtown’s historic Franklin House and said that Tasmania had a tremendous heritage product.
However, he said more needed to be done than just present the buildings, collections and objects. ‘‘It’s presenting it in a way that has direct links with community,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s all about impact and pulling together heritage activities that have relevance to our community, otherwise heritage is actually at arm’s length and it’s not obtainable or accessible.
‘‘Heritage doesn’t need to be tired, boring and mausoleum-y: it can be actually really interesting and dynamic.
‘‘We are also taking every opportunity at the National Trust to engage with younger generations to get involved with heritage in management – they’re our future and have a huge amount to offer.’’
In December 2006, following a period of administration and restructure, a new National Trust Act was proclaimed by the Tasmanian government.
National Trust Tasmania operates 10 sites including  Franklin House, Clarendon homestead at Nile, the Old Umbrella Shop, Oak Lodge, Runnymede, the Penitentiary Chapel Historic Site, Penghana and Mount Lyell mine offices.
Mr Smithies said it was his responsibility to oversee all aspects of the operation and future development of the National Trust.
‘‘I’m also a people trafficker – I see my role as actually pulling together the right people to create dynamic, interesting, innovative teams – that’s 80 per cent of my role,’’ he said.
‘‘And making sure that all fits within the strategic plan of the National Trust.’’
Mr Smithies said heritage had a key role to play in the state government’s target of attracting 1.5 million annual visitors by 2020 and beyond.
Tourism Tasmania research showed that heritage was a main driver and reason why people came to the state.
National Trust Tasmania last week presented to the Legislative Council Government Administration Committee ‘B’ Sub-Committee Built Heritage Tourism in Tasmania Inquiry.
‘‘Has heritage always got the attention that I think it should have got? I think you could only answer that as no, it hasn’t,’’ he said.
‘‘We have in the past and still do to a certain extent pay attention to food and wine –  that is one area of what Tasmania has to offer.
‘‘Every year I try and get out of Tasmania to broaden my horizons and see heritage management somewhere else in the world.
‘‘I think the National Trust in Tassie can set some fantastic new benchmarks and develop some new and interesting heritage management capabilities, which is really exciting.’’
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