Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area Advisory Committee Communique, February 2019

The Advisory Committee for the Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA) met on Island last week to discuss key projects and priorities for the site. There was a strong feeling among the members of the Committee that management of the site had ‘turned a corner’ and that we are tracking toward some tangible changes and improvements.

A highlight of last week was the first meeting of the new KAVHA Community Advisory Group. It was clear at the meeting that this group of community members are passionate and enthusiastic about contributing to KAVHA’s future direction. Establishing the Community Advisory Group was an initiative recommended by the Advisory Committee, and I look forward to working with the Group in the future. 

Members of the Advisory Committee recognise that progress at KAVHA has been slow over the last six to twelve months, particularly without a Heritage Manager on site. Members were pleased and encouraged to see more people back on the ground at KAVHA. 

The Advisory Committee welcomed the new Heritage Manager, Martin Purslow. Martin brings a wealth of experience to KAVHA, and is well supported by recently appointed on-Island staff Claire Quintal and Rod Bunk. Combined with Jimmy Quintal as Council’s Team Leader of the dedicated KAVHA Works Crew, I expect the community will see a noticeable increase in activity and improvements at the site.

The museums and research centre at KAVHA continue to attract the interest of visitors and locals alike. The Advisory Committee would like to congratulate Helen Brackin, and her team of museum staff and volunteers, for their thoughtful care of the collections and development of new and engaging exhibitions.

Several strategic projects are in progress, or are on the horizon for KAVHA, including the Cultural Landscape Management, Archaeological Zoning and Management, Interpretation and Development Control Plans for the site. While planning can be time consuming, the Advisory Committee is confident that we are very close to having a set of quality foundation documents to underpin and guide future site management in a coordinated and considered way.

The Advisory Committee visited the Polynesian Marae site and recommended progressing the removal of a selection of trees to protect the archaeology of the area and improve interpretation of the Polynesian settlement. This and other important issues around the practical management of vegetation, livestock, traffic and water quality will be discussed during upcoming community consultations on the draft Cultural Landscape Management Plan.

The Interpretation Plan will consider new and innovative ways to present the site, with a focus on the Pier precinct as the primary visitor hub. Valuable input has already been obtained from the community, and the draft Plan will be available for review and feedback in the coming months.

The creation of a Development Control Plan for KAVHA is an important tool in improving the site’s governance. The aim of the Development Control Plan is to clarify allowable activities at KAVHA to better enable future works and activities by site managers, landholders and the community. The project team will work closely with Norfolk Island Regional Council’s Senior Strategic Planner to progress the development of the plan, which will also be available for public review later in the year.

The Advisory Committee expects to meet again on Island in August 2019.

Mr Eric Hutchinson
Chair, KAVHA Advisory Committee
February 2019