By Bruce Munday.
South Australia has many kilometres of dry stone walling, most of it dating back to the nineteenth century. Yet only a smidgin of these are protected: Three as state heritage places under the Heritage Places Act and four local under the Development Act. Of these, most are ‘add-ons’ to listed buildings and probably would not be listed in their own right. It is dismaying that as many as 30 local councils have no registered local heritage places whatsoever.
The State Government is currently undertaking ‘the biggest overhaul to South Australia’s planning system in over 20 years. A more efficient and effective planning program [that] promises to shape the future of South Australia, revolutionising the way planning decisions are made.’
Such a preamble might send a shiver down the spine of the average conservationist. In fact there are some widely accepted virtues in this proposal and it must be said that the survey of public opinion has been very extensive. However preliminary analysis indicates ‘a very large gulf separates the views expressed by state government agencies and the property industry from the opinions of local government and community organisations’.
The only extensive dry stone wall in SA that is listed for protection (New Honiton Road, Yorke Peninsula)
It is to be hoped that SA councils will follow the examples of Melton and Wyndham to provide effective protection before important walls become victims of a ‘streamlined’ development assessment process.