Any Victorian who knows the lay of the land will tell you the Victorian goldfields are a special place. Encompassing hundreds of kilometres from Ballarat to Bendigo and surrounds, there are gold mines, awe-inspiring old buildings and a rich history of multiculturalism. And now, there’s a bid to get these incredible pieces of history officially recognised by UNESCO.
Headed up by a team of heritage and regional Victorian specialists along with 13 councils across the Goldfields region, the campaign seeks to inscribe these gold-rush era sites onto the World Heritage list.
The process is a long and winding one, likely to occur over several years, but if approved would draw significant international attention and boost tourism across the region and wider state. That means more jobs, potential new infrastructure and a lot of new business.
Experts around the world have weighed in on the bid, all agreeing that the Victorian goldfields do indeed deserve the UNESCO badge of honour. Author of the UK’s successful Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage inscription Barry Gamble threw his weight behind the bid in a recent statement.
“The Victorian goldfields are the most extensive, coherent and best-surviving landscape anywhere, that illustrates the global gold rush phenomenon,” he said.
“My conclusion from the comparative work … is that you have in Victoria a range of values in your gold mining landscape that nobody else has.”
The state government is lending a hand as well, earlier this year allocating $50,000 in funding to the Central Goldfields Shire Council and 11 other councils to support a future World Heritage Listing bid.
Now in its two-year tentative listing state, the bid needs to be approved by the State of Victoria and Australian governments before it becomes official. We’re just a little bit proud of our unique mining towns.
WHAT: Central Victorian goldfields World Heritage bid
WHERE: Victorian goldfields
WHEN: Over the next 5 years
MORE INFO: Goldfields World Heritage