New appointments to the Heritage Council of Victoria

Planning Minister Matthew Guy has announced the appointment of a new chair, one new member and the appointment of two formerly alternate members as full members to the Heritage Council of Victoria.

The ten member Heritage Council of Victoria is appointed by the Governor in Council upon the recommendation of the Planning Minister.

Legal member Mary Urquhart has been appointed the new Chair of the Heritage Council, replacing architect Daryl Jackson AO who retired in June after six years as Chair.

A Ministerial media release provided the following biographies on the appointees:

Ms Urquhart has recognised skills in law and governance that will be well utilised in her role as Chair of the Heritage Council. A barrister and solicitor, she is currently a part time member of the Refugee Review Tribunal, and a member of the Migration Review Tribunal. Ms Urquhart was previously Deputy President of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and Deputy Commissioner, Victorian Liquor Licensing Commission.

Callum Fraser is director of the prominent Melbourne firm Elenberg Fraser. He is a registered architect and previous Chapter Councillor of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA).

Mr Tony Darvall has more than 35 years’ experience as a partner of law firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth. He is currently the chairman of the Audit Committee of VicRoads and deputy chairman of Linking Melbourne Authority and has previously served as chairman of VicUrban and the Werribee Park Advisory Board.

General member Trish Vejby has a demonstrated understanding of and interest in Victoria’s heritage. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Western Health and has substantial governance experience on many community committees and boards of management including the Board of Commissioners of Legal Aid.

“These new appointments bring specialist skills and great passion to the task of protecting and conserving places and objects of cultural heritage significance to the state," Planning Minister Matthew Guy said.



Bilby's picture

The irony of appointing someone associated with the demolition of so many of Melbourne's important heritage buildings is breathtaking. In recent years we have lost the following important CBD heritage buildings and streetscapes - all were either demolished and then replaced by buildings designed by Ellenberg Fraser, or were assisted in obtaining permits to demolish and then later onsold to other owners for development, or are soon to be demolished. At no time can I recall the architects publicly advocating for the retention of these heritage buildings:

19-39 A'Beckett Street:

These were rare C-graded gable fronted Victorian warehouses with additional frontage to Literature Lane to the rear.

19-37 A'Beckett Street: Melbourne's 2nd last Forge and Stables building (also with frontage to Literature Lane0

We are about to lose 54-56 A'Beckett - a rare Edwardian multi-storey warehouse:

We are about to lose 58-64 A'Beckett Street - Melbourne's last early Edwardian Automobile Showroom:

36-40 La Trobe - The Burton Livery & Stables building - Melbourne's last large Victorian stables building.

The 1860 Bank of NSW and terrace shops at 556-560 Flinders Street:

Is there a conflict of interest in appointing to the Heritage Council a director of an architecture firm that could potentially be contracted for yet more projects requiring the demolition of heritage buildings?

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Vinny's picture

This article’s a joke, right? In addition to Ellenberg Fraser, we have Ms Urquhart on the board who was once Deputy President of VACT. Yes, the ‘appeals tribunal’ which is effectively a wing of the construction industry and has given legal consent for the destruction of countless heritage buildings in Melbourne. These new members have also been recommended by Matthew Guy. You couldn't make this stuff up!

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Nicholas Harrison's picture

To insinuate that a legal member of VCAT was beholden to the construction industry without a shred of evidence is a very disrespectful.

If you think that too many heritage buildings are approved for demolition at VCAT then seek to change the planning rules they work with, don't attack the umpire.

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Nicholas Harrison's picture

In regards to Elenberg Fraser how many of those building you listed were heritage listed by the City of Melbourne and how many of them did the City of Melbourne try and save?

Why is the architect responsible for the destruction of these buildings? I have not seen Callum Fraser out there actively campaigning for the destruction of heritage buildings like Harry Seidler used to.

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Bilby's picture

I could answer that with a question - why is the architect not responsible for their support of projects that involve the demolition of heritage buildings? Sure, it may be the developer who pushed for the demolition of these historic streetscapes, but it is the architect who makes the choice to work on the project or not. To my mind, getting actively involved with project after project that involved piecemeal demolition of the CBD's heritage is evidence enough of a company's support for the destruction of the city's heritage built fabric, and its attitude towards historic places and streetscapes. And as a director, Callum Fraser can be presumed to support the company's stance on heritage, as demonstrated by the choices made about which projects to support. Hence, I think it is reasonable to argue that the architect bears some responsibility in the destruction of Melbourne's heritage. An analogy I would draw is as follows: it's a bit like appointing a logging contractor to be a board member of Environment Victoria. They may not be the ones making the legislation or even placing the orders for the timber, but by agreeing to undertake the work, who wouldn't argue that they are complicit in some way in the loss of old growth forest?

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