Celebrate World Heritage Day with these heritage industrial sites across Australia

The International Day for Monuments and Sites, better known as World Heritage Day, is celebrated annually on April 18. Here is create selection of seven iconic industrial heritage sites from across Australia.

Our built environment is populated with industrial heritage sites, connecting those of us in the present to the engineering efforts of the past, and also forming a testament for the future.

The theme for 2022, Heritage and climateis an opportunity to reflect on the impact of human industry on the environment and on efforts to conserve and protect heritage sites nationwide.

Sydney Harbor Bridge

The Sydney Harbor Bridge during construction. Image: New South Wales State Records and Archives.

the Sydney Harbor Bridgewhich recently celebrated its 90th birthday, is undoubtedly an iconic piece of Australian civil engineering.

Safety standards and structural maintenance methods have developed over the decades, but this Sydney Harbor stalwart continues to impress as a marvel of design and function.

Budj Bim Eel Traps

Budj Bim was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2019.

Heritage sites of human industry date back long before the arrival of outsiders. the Budj Bim Eel Traps on the southwest coast of Victoria are over 6000 years old, predate Stonehenge and the pyramids, and were made by Australia’s first engineers – Indigenous Australians.

The site is Australia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site exclusively for its Aboriginal cultural values. The system of stone weirs, dams and channels was designed to trap eels and other aquatic life for food and trade, and is an excellent example of aquaculture and hydraulic engineering.

Marie Vallee Rattler

When considering the elements of industrial heritage, it is often the large elements that come to mind – infrastructure, large buildings or remarkable monuments, for example. But industrial heritage is also items of movable heritage like vintage cars, x-ray machines and steam trains.

the Marie Vallee Rattler, a heritage steam train running through the scenic Mary Valley near Gympie, Queensland, was built as an extension of the main rail artery along the Queensland coast. Now a popular tourist attraction, the Rattler offers a chance to experience an icon of heritage railway engineering first-hand.

Parkes Radio Telescope

the Parkes Radio Telescope, located at the Parkes Observatory in central New South Wales, was opened over 60 years ago and is still in operation. the single antenna telescope is the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere dedicated to astronomy, with a dish with a diameter of 64 m.

Originally commissioned to conduct research in astronomy, the telescope has also been used by NASA to receive data from spacecraft. He is renowned for his role in the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969 and was immortalized on screen in film. The dish.

Victoria Pass

Pass Victoria. Image: Source unknown

Built in the 1830s, Victoria Pass is a main road through the Blue Mountains. The project was a significant engineering achievement in the early years of road technology development, bypassing steeper descents to successfully traverse difficult mountainous terrain.

As with many pieces of industrial heritage, Victoria Pass is an apt reminder of the impact of human industry on society – the pass was built using the labor of chain convicts.

Eveleigh Railway Workshops

Some elements of industrial heritage are essential for adaptive reuse. Eveleigh Railway Workshops in Sydney began operations in 1882 for the purpose of maintaining and repairing locomotives.

The space has evolved a lot over the years: during World War II, the facility was used to produce cannon shells; and currently occupying part of the site is Bodycenter for performing and contemporary arts.

West Gate Bridge

West Gate Bridge towards the city of Melbourne.

Unfortunately, not all industrial heritage sites are cause for celebration, but also for remembrance. the West Gate Bridge facilitates the passage of hundreds of thousands of Melbourneians to and from CBD every day.

During construction, however, in October 1970, part of the bridge collapsed in the Yarra River, killing 35 construction workers and injuring 18 others. Fragments of the collapsed section of the bridge are now housed in a garden on the Clayton campus of Monash University to “remind future engineers of the consequences of mistakes”.

Caring for and protecting technical heritage is an important and important task. If you are interested in preserving engineering history, visit the Engineering Heritage Australia website.

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