Monthly Meeting October 4th 2013

Speaker: John Grinpukel, Heritage Planner, Parks Victoria

Topic: ‘Heritage & Planning at Point Nepean National Park’

Pt Nepean

Over 40 people attended this talk by heritage planner John Grinpukel. John is a Conservation Architect who has worked at the National Trust, MMBW Parks and Waterways and Parks Victoria in the heritage conservation field. Since mid – 2009 he has been seconded to Point Nepean National Park as heritage planner following the transfer of the Quarantine Station to the State.

In a most interesting media presentation, John outlined the history of Point Nepean from the early 1840’s settlement, to Quarantine Station expansion from the 1880’s, 1954 Officer Cadet School, 1986-96 School of Army Health and in 1998 a camp for Kosovo Refugees. We were shown fascinating photos of the buildings and people over that period.

In 2009 the Federal Government transferred the Quarantine Station to the State and Parks Victoria took over management from the Community Trust. Parks Vic’s aim was to provide 24 hour public access to the area. The Master Plan of 2010 was being drawn up as Parks Vic began upgrading the infrastructure – sewerage, water, underground power lines, carparks. Parks spent $13 million on this predominantly underground work. A new Visitors’ Centre was opened.

Archeologists were on standby to provide professional advice on any possible finds of Aboriginal significance. Extensive pre-work had been done to identify and avoid potentially important sites. Indigenous research work is continuing now.

The change of government in November 2010 led to a revision of the timing of the release of the Master Plan. D.S.E. became the DEPI (Dept. of Environment and Primary Industry) now separate from Parks Vic. A new National Parks Tourism Policy was released in November 2012 and in April 2013 a Sustainable Use and Tourism Framework was proposed. Expressions of Interest from private groups were called for and closed in August.

We all now await the next stage of this process due for release in 2014.

John described some of the many activities being conducted at the Quarantine Station – digitisation of photos and documents, sharing with other Australian Quarantine Stations, many children’s activities, weed and pest animal eradication -but no action on conservation and heritage can continue until the outcome of the EOI’s is known.

Members were very pleased when John presented the NHS with a hard drive of the digitised documents including the wonderful log books and photos of Dr.Browning, medical superintendent at the Quarantine Station from 1885 to 1896.

The recent Tall Ships’ visit drew hundreds of visitors to the Park.

What will happen next to this fascinating and precious place of indigenous, natural and cultural heritage?

Joy Kitch