Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area Advisory Committee Communique, March 2018

Media Release
15 March 2018

The Advisory Committee for the Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area (KAVHA) met on island last week, with discussions focusing on making progress toward unifying the site's operations.

The GML + Context team, who are developing a Cultural Landscape Management Plan for the KAVHA site, were also on island last week to coincide with the Advisory Committee meeting. While on island the team conducted fieldwork and targeted consultation to ensure the many community, heritage and tourism uses of the KAVHA site are integrated and managed as a living cultural landscape. The Advisory Committee is very grateful to community members for their willingness to share their knowledge and insights about KAVHA, and would like to sincerely thank everyone for their important contributions to shaping KAVHA's future.

The youth of Norfolk Island are privileged to have such a wonderful cultural and educational resource such as KAVHA on their doorstep. The Advisory Committee is committed to building on the strong foundations established by the school and the Norfolk Island Museum to help embed KAVHA's history and environs in the school's curriculum for students of all ages. The Advisory Committee met with the Norfolk Island Central School Principal Mr Brett Carr and history teacher Ms Suzie Hale to explore partnership opportunities. Using KAVHA as a place to teach Norf'k language and Pitcairn cultural traditions and skills were just two ideas discussed. Other suggestions from the school and broader community would be welcomed. I encourage anyone with ideas to please contact my office.

To develop KAVHA as a world class heritage tourism destination with diverse market appeal, the Committee is enthusiastic about realising the site's potential as a place for visiting school and youth groups to study Polynesian, convict, Pitcairn and Norfolk Island history. Advisory Committee members previously experienced firsthand how skillfully the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority services this market, and the committee will seek to draw on Port Arthur's expertise to help develop a unique educational program for KAVHA in the future.

The Advisory Committee has enjoyed a productive and collaborative working relationship with the Norfolk Island Museum under the capable and expert guidance of Ms Janelle Blucher. Ms Blucher, along with Mr Peter Horrocks, Chair of the Norfolk Island Museum Trust, shared their extensive knowledge of KAVHA and its museum collections, along with their short and long-term aspirations for presenting and preserving KAVHA's heritage. Following the transfer of archival records from the Settlement Guard House, the Commonwealth will work with the Norfolk Island Museum to establish the building as an audio visual interpretive space. The Advisory Committee would like to sincerely thank Ms Blucher for her dedication, knowledge, openness and commitment to KAVHA and wish her every success in the next chapter of her life.

Preparing for the future is important, and with this in mind, the Advisory Committee workshopped preliminary ideas on longer-term facilities, staffing, and governance requirements for the site. In this context, the Advisory Committee also considered ways to encourage and support local commercial activities at KAVHA in a consistent and transparent way, while recognising the importance of traditional community events.

A more concerted effort will be made to improve information sharing and community involvement in preserving KAVHA's unique character, promoting Norfolk Island's history and realising its economic potential. This will include more regular engagement with the Norfolk Island Regional Council and its Advisory Committees, and more regular updates for the wider community via radio and newspaper.

The Advisory Committee will meet again on Norfolk Island in August 2018.

Mr Eric Hutchinson
Chair, KAVHA Advisory Committee