A unique proposal to retain the significance of Middle Head
By Nicola Butler
Desperate attempts are being made to protect and preserve the significance of Middle Head. With the deadline for submissions on the DA due within seven days, community tension and anger is rising against this proposal which would effectively alienate the public from accessing their land.
Josephine Cashman, a young Aboriginal Entrepreneur has developed a concept to bring the community together and work with the Federal Government to ignite growth within the Indigenous economy. Her plan is to revitalise the Ten Terminal Site at Middle Head which has recently been the subject of a DA for a 93 room private residential aged care facility.
Her plans include a public Keeping Place and Healing Centre for Aboriginal people. The Keeping Place would house an important collection of Aboriginal Art, which has been collected by an Aboriginal man, Gordon Syron and described by experts as the most important and unique collection of urban and contemporary art. There are also four decades of associated images. Patrons of the collection include Dr Jeff McMullen, Former High Court Judge Michael Kirby and the Hon Philip Ruddock AO. Daryl Maguire Whip of the NSW Government has been spearheading the campaign for the past four years.
Ms Cashman says “this site is incredible, not only is it one of the sites of first contact, but there are Aboriginal Carvings, middens and other evidence of occupation within metres of the proposed development – it would be an amazing way to bring non-indigenous and indigenous people together.
It is also the site of Bungaree’s Farm – the first land grant to Aboriginal People, granted by Governor Macquarie, to help acculturate Aboriginal People”.
January 2015 marks the 200 year anniversary of this land grant and the first phase of the project will be opened to celebrate this momentous occasion, which has recently been the subject of a very successful touring art exhibition organised by Mosman Council.
Ms Cashman says “this proposal would provide jobs, training and opportunities for Aboriginal people in a setting where they are not marginalised, but celebrated as the first peoples of the land. It is also very much in keeping with the aims and objects of the SHFT Act which are to maximise public access to its sites and to retain the cultural significance of the buildings. As only minimal changes to the interiors would be required and the facades left intact the proposal satisfies the aims of why the Trust was established in the first place. We also propose to work with neighbouring land managers to help protect and conserve the natural and European cultural heritage of the Headland.”