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Council Commended on Looking After Heritage

The Local Branch of the National Trust to day presented  Mayor Ray Thompson with an award recognizing Council’s good work in the preservation of the historic bridge over Kerosene creek in  Hartley Vale.

Mayor Thompson and Jonathan Edgecombe Director of Infrastructure with members of  the local Branch of the National Trust and branch committee Chairman Danny Whitty with other committee members looking on.

As Danny Whitty, Chairman of the local branch committee, said  ”A year ago we introduced a program to offer a simple thank you to owners of heritage properties who go out of their way to protect properties that contribute to our heritage reputation. Sometimes its just a fence replacement that captures the heritage style of a fence that it replaced, other times it can be an adaptive reuse of a heritage building to give it a new future or a sensitive extension of a building that is part of our streetscape. These are initiatives that we need to acknowledge and encourage.”

The award in the form of a thank you certificate, acknowledges the multilayered history of the region and in this case Council’s sensitive refurbishment of the convict built Hartley Vale Bridge. As Jonathan Edgecombe Council’s Director of Infrastructure explained. “ In 2018 in doing routine bridge safety inspections we became aware of flood  damage to the abutments of the old bridge on Hartley Vale Road and for the safety of users  installed a temporary detour”

Alerted to the possible heritage significance of the bridge Council retained the late Professor Ian Jack an acknowledged expert on Lithgow’s early history, who conducted an in depth appraisal of the bridge and confirmed its history and its original link to Archibald Bell’s track down to Collit’s Inn surveyed in 1826. Edgecombe outlined “ how we specified the repairs to retain the convict built abutments over which we laid a modern cement deck  for longevity but built side railings in timber in a style appropriate for a bridge with such history”.

As Celia Ravesi said in presenting this award to Council “Hartley Vale is an intrinsic element of the enormously heritage significant Hartley Valley, it’s a valley loaded with history and Council have done outstanding work in their sympathetic repair of this bridge that predates the glory days of Hartley Vale as a shale mining town and even the valley itself as the corridor through which much of Western New South Wales was settled.

In acknowledging the receipt of the award on behalf of Council, Mayor Ray Thompson made the observation that, “Heritage is an important element of what we have to offer tourists. Eco and heritage tourism can play a significant part in the future economy of our region. I commend the trust in what they are doing to promote our built and natural heritage and I particularly commend them in their initiative to recognize and thank residents, in this case Council itself, who go out of their way to preserve and protect our heritage.  I particularly thank them, on behalf of Council for this recognition of Council having done good work to preserve this important reminder of our past but I also want to ensure that Jonathan gets acknowledged for the great work he does looking after our community infrastructure.”

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