Reasons to be cheerful

By Tristan Davies, Melbourne Heritage Action

As the end of another year approaches, Melbourne’s heritage arcades are filled with decorations, the art deco Myer windows are displaying their 62nd Christmas windows and Flinders Street Station’s long-awaiting restoration is finally unwrapping itself as a present to all of the city. 

What better time to look at the past year in heritage, and unveil MHA’s own Santa wishlist for 2018?

While some notable losses of heritage in the CBD – such as 488 LaTrobe, the uncertainty over the fate of the Queen Victoria Market, the continued bomb-site status of the former Palace Theatre and approved facadism of the Elms Family and Greater Western pubs – sit as lumps of coal in our Christmas stocking, there was much to celebrate about this year in heritage activism.

After almost a decade of lobbing by MHA, the National Trust and other community groups, 2017 saw real action at the City of Melbourne directed at finally updating our city’s heritage protection for the 21st century.

New guidelines were written that will see heritage-listed places treated far better. The Guildford and Hardware lane precincts were studied and will soon be protected and strong moves were made to advance comprehensive heritage studies of Southbank and the entire CBD – something not seen since 1984, when Around the World in Eighty Days was the Myer Christmas windows theme.

The next year should see these studies put into the planning scheme, permanently safeguarding many areas of the city for many more years to come.

MHA wishes all readers a great holiday season and start to 2018, as the NYE fireworks explode over a city finally seeing some real movement towards protecting its greatest treasures.

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