Brisbane and Gold Coast urban heritage in the early 1970s (and today)

In late January, a hundred or so urbanists descended on the Gold Coast for the 13th Australian Urban History Planning History (UHPH) Conference. Attendees included academics, historians, planners and practitioners, who delivered a range of papers on the Australian city, from pre-colonial times to the present-day. Hosted every two years—the next in 2018 is in Melbourne—this is the largest Australasian conference of its kind.

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Torch the House! Gough Whitlam’s Ngara.

No Australian Federal Government did more for urban heritage than Gough Whitlam’s. Yet his childhood home, called Ngara, faces demolition any day now, at the tail end of an urban heritage conflict. A few weeks ago the Heritage Council of Victoria decided that Ngara was not of state heritage significance. Located in the inner eastern suburb of Kew, the house was built by Whitlam’s grandfather. Whitlam was born there and lived there for 18 months. For the heritage council, this was an insufficient basis to require preservation. The saga over Ngara is not entirely over. The local Boroondara Council might

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Australian urban history at AHA 2015

Urban history is one of the oldest forms of history practiced in Australia. Early local historians like A.W. Greig were interested in cities and its spaces. Similarly, since World War II, the Australian city has been subject to much local and academic historical analysis, and remains a perennially popular topic. After all, as Graeme Davison argues, Australia was effectively ‘born urban’. Since colonisation, much Australian history has played out in its cities even when this is not made explicit. After all, history must happen somewhere. Most often in Australia – where urbanisation rates hover around 80-90% – this is in cities. 

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