Unexpected Willow Court New Norfolk heritage status snub

Willow Court Barrack New Norfolk

 Willow Court New Norfolk.

As reported by the ABC on July 18, 2018, a decision not to include the historic Willow Court New Norfolk site on the National Heritage List has been described as disappointing and distressing.

The Derwent Valley Council applied three years ago to have the Australian Heritage Council assess the Willow Court Barracks Precinct and Frescati House included on the register. Some of the buildings date back to the 1827 and went on to become part of a much larger hospital for the mentally ill which closed in 2000.

Mayor Martyn Evans said the application, which cost ratepayers $50,000, had been knocked back. Councillor Evans said some of the buildings were older than the world heritage-listed Port Arthur Historic Site and described the rejection as “very disappointing”.

“This was the longest-running heritage mental asylum in Australia, it started before others and finished after others as well … maybe we should knock it down and then we’d get some money for it and they’d all jump up and down,” he told ABC Radio. “It’s really quite distressing.

The dilapidated site has been targeted by vandals in recent years but has become home to local businesses. Councillor Evans also said the decision was a “slap in the face” for the volunteers who dedicated their time to the assessment. The council would consider an appeal and he had written to the State Government.

“It was a state facility, some 10 years ago before council became [partnered] with other business and then took on that site as council owned.”

Apparently, Willow Court is ‘not rare’.

In the published reasons for rejecting the nomination, Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg agreed with the Australian Heritage Council’s assessment that the demolition of some of the buildings had lessened the site’s significance.

The council found that Willow Court New Norfolk did not possess “uncommon, rare or endangered aspects of Australia’s cultural history” and was “not rare in a national context”.

Read the full story which includes old (but obviously not heritage quality) photos on the ABC News site.

We’d be interested in hearing from the community about the decision.

Local businesses in the Willow Court New Norfolk precinct include:

The Agrarian Kitchen and Eatery.

Willow Court Antiques.

Patchwork Cafe.

Willow Court Motel.

Willow Court Restaurant and Cafe.


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