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Byron Shire
May 13, 2021

Heritage palette

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June Grant, Mullumbimby

Hitherto I have always taken a fairly laissez-faire attitude towards the colour aspect of heritage, however, on the issue of the lilac house in Mullumbimby I support the Council bureaucracy’s actions.

On such an emotive issue and its attendant horrors of debate over aesthetics, conflation with individual freedom, and the infinite permutations thereof, I would like to emphasise that it is necessary to actually save the actual older buildings from demolition first, and that guardians of the heritage value of conservation areas and heritage items, usually caring community-minded town and environs dwellers in my experience, are a necessity also to help retain the character of relatively small areas of growing towns.

Colour has its role to play but it is not as vital as the bulk, scale, height and design of future buildings in the Byron Shire in general and in heritage areas and affected heritage items in particular.

As a bystander I understand that by no means has the owner been shown any disrespect toward herself by any community member or by Council staff. As stated by a Council spokesperson (Echo, 7 April) she was originally approached by Council with offers of help in applying for a heritage grant.

Her subsequent attempt to employ aggression via a threatening lawyer did not go down well it would seem. I believe there remains a reservoir of goodwill towards herself, even by those who welcome the Council’s decision, to use the powers they have under the Heritage permissions of the planning instruments the LEP (Local Environment Plan) and DCP (Development Control Plan).

In regards to Simon Richardson’s remarks on the subject ([ITAL]Echo, 14 April) their liverish hue is of another complexion altogether.

I agree with him that there are a handful of pretty crook colours that are considered suitable for traditional buildings but there are also many beautiful earth and natural tones for walls and many colourful trim and feature treatments as well.

However, if one accepts that ‘heritage colours’ are generally considered to be pre-1950s, without the finest distinctions of trim and features and time periods, the heritage pallete contains a wider range of colour than he must think. It does include the lighter shades of pink.

I can only guess he admires one of the historic buildings in the Mullumbimby town centre. My best guess is that it is the Old Bakery (1903) or possibly the Book Barn (Old E.S.T.A bank 1909).

The Old Bakery is indeed an example of a beautifully restored historic building. Its walls, at times do show a pink tint: probably a light reflection from the pale pink window trim, possibly from the plum contrast features. Perfect. Thank you Carlos (one of the owners back then) and to everyone involved in the restoration. Collective thanks are also owed to the owners (occupiers?) of the Book Barn.

Regardless of the former; with the cheap pejorative pot-shots that Simon Richardson has fired, he has exhibited barrels of disrespect towards mystery targets. Scattergunning I think is the term, or perhaps it is aimed at pigments of his own imagination.

They are certainly a sad reminder of his now Urban Consolidation Plus Program and his growing intolerance of pesky heritage protection of almost any kind.

Right in time with the heavyweight developers and champions of self-interested speculators of sundry origins.

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  1. “ I would like to emphasise that it is necessary to actually save the actual older buildings from demolition first …”

    June, has it not occurred to you that if people own the land it’s no one’s business what they demolish and put in its place. Anything else is is an outrageous imposition on personal freedom. And who knows, the mayor may even prefer the new construction and find it concurs with his clearly infallible capacity for aesthetic arbitration.

    The beauty of an MO that adopts a sneering and superior tone to deliver lazy, dismissive terms like “heritage police” is that it can provide an opportunity to make a noise without needing to engage substantively with the underlining issues. It has elements of what in AFL obsessed Victoria is called “playing the man/woman rather than the ball”.

    To use another cliché – one that’s also popular in sporting circles – there are pitfalls in going too often to the well.


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