Thursday, April 18, 2024

Broken Hill Trades Hall backed for world heritage list

The Broken Hill Trades Hall has been endorsed for inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List, following the backing of its preliminary nomination by both the NSW and Australian Governments.

NSW Minister for Heritage Penny Sharpe says the action recognises the building’s rich historical, cultural, and architectural heritage values.

“The NSW Government is thrilled to support the World Heritage Tentative List nomination of Broken Hill Trades Hall.”

“Securing a place on the World Heritage List would honour the rich history of labour activism in Australia and demonstrate our country’s commitment to preserving our cultural heritage for generations to come,” said Minister Sharpe.

Along with the Victorian Trades Hall, Broken Hill Trades Hall will be Australia’s contribution to a transnational World Heritage List nomination of Workers’ Assembly Halls. The nomination, led the Danish Government, is made up of sites across Argentina, Denmark, Belgium, Finland, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

Built between 1898 and 1905, the Trades Hall is an excellent example of a Victorian-era building and stands as an enduring symbol of the labour movement and is unique in that it stands in a remote and isolated setting.

It was the first building in Australia to be owned by unions and saw unionists battle to improve working conditions in the mines, including their first major success in 1920 when they won an Australian-first – a 35-hour week for underground workers.

More than a century on, the trades hall is largely unaltered and continues to serve its original purpose, with local union offices still headquartered there. It was listed on the State Heritage Register in 1999. It holds collections of the outback town’s history, including union banners and picket maps from the 1909 lockout.

“This is another important step in the campaign for world heritage listing for the building, to which I have long given my support,” said NSW Member for Barwon, Roy Butler.

“The Trades Hall has great significance in Broken Hill’s history but is also significant nationally.”

The NSW Government says it looks forward to continuing to work with the Australian Government to progress the formal nomination. Both governments endorsed the building’s preliminary nomination, in recognition of its historic, aesthetic and social heritage past.

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