The North Harbour Heritage Park is a new community attraction comprising a vast expanse of parkland, river access including a canoe launch/fishing platform and an interpretive centre focusing on the heritage aspect of the site.
The Heritage Park is a 3 year project which on completion at the end of 2019, will have invested over $3m, with $1,535,062 of funds coming from the Federal Government through a funding agreement with the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology. Funding is through the Community Development Grants programme, provided through the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development. The $1,535,062 Grant has been matched by North Harbour. The Abbey Museum and North Harbour are also working in partnership and providing significant in-kind support through project planning, project management, post-construction operation and maintenance.
The first stages of construction were completed in 2018, including roads and other infrastructure including picnic areas with shelters, BBQs, tables and benches and toilet facilities. As work progresses, the team is working to ensure the heritage remains are preserved and available for viewing and enjoyment by the general public.
Project Manager Bryan Finney said, “Construction is progressing well, we expect to start work on the interpretive building in the next few weeks. Work is also progressing on the Park infrastructure which includes a 1.5km walking track around the lake. As part of this work, the archaeologists monitoring construction have uncovered building foundations that were not previously known.
“We’re hoping to begin allowing public access by around the middle of the year with an official opening sometime in the second half of 2019.”
Retaining and preserving the historical remnants of the North Harbour site has been an important part of the North Harbour planning process. Following an application process initiated by the developers of North Harbour, the area has been listed and protected on the Queensland Heritage Register since 2011 as a place of Queensland State significance.
North Harbour’s Heritage Expert is Steve Chaddock from Timeline Heritage who is working with a team of archaeologists at the remains of the “Moray Fields” property that was built by George Raff at what is now the North Harbour site. Steve said: “We are looking to carefully record the exposed areas of the old house and its outbuildings and yards so that we can later interpret that to the public and in advance of a tree management program aiming to preserve the State Listed archaeological remains.”
The history of the site will be interpreted from a dedicated “interpretive centre” that delivers a ‘mind map’ of the site before it is experienced first-hand. The facility will present historic photographs, sketches and display objects which will allow visitors to appreciate the stories and significant developments from the past up to the present day.
Interpretation delivery will be provided in the landscape alongside a network of heritage trails and using static signage as well as digital content for mobile devices. The delivery of interpretation will be aimed at school-aged students as well as local, state and international visitors learning about local history and South Sea Islander heritage.
On a broader community level, the South Sea Islander history of the site has presented an opportunity to recognise the contribution made by past generations of South Sea Islanders and provide a tangible, visitable focus for the Island and Australian South Sea Islander community and their descendants. Space is made available for the South Sea Islander community to remember their ancestors at this place.
The Heritage Park area is currently able to be accessed on Saturday mornings at 7.00am for those participating in the free, weekly North Harbour River parkrun. Check out the Facebook page for more information, including directions.
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