The City of Launceston council has reiterated they have no plans to further investigate a Kings Meadows convict site after the state’s statutory heritage body confirmed a nomination was being considered for its listing on the Tasmanian Heritage Register.
This comes after calls from the Launceston Historical Society, the Australasian Society of Historical Archaeology and Woolmers Foundation chair Peter Rae for the public release of a report prepared on the findings of an exploratory council-supported dig at the site.
A DPIPWE spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday a nomination had been received by the Tasmanian Heritage Council and was “currently being considered”.
The City of Launceston council announced the discovery of the previously unknown site earlier this month after providing $10,000 to support an exploratory dig on the land approved for a residential subdivision in December of 2016.
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City of Launceston general manager Michael Stretton would not comment on the state heritage nomination as it was “a matter for Heritage Tasmania”, but reiterated previous comments around the heritage advice they had received.
"The professional advice provided to the Council indicates that the heritage value of the site has been suitably captured and no further investigation is warranted or planned.”
Mr Stretton added: "The Council has no legislative ability to modify the planning permits which were issued before the location of the site was identified”.
The Tasmanian Heritage Council is responsible for administering the Historic Cultural Heritage Act 1995, along with the the establishment and maintenance of the Tasmanian Heritage Register.
Development occurring on places listed with the register require the approval of the Heritage Council.
Southern Archaeology’s Darren Watton – who oversaw the recent dig – said the group was “passionate about archaeology in Tasmania” and were “closely working with the [City of Launceston] council at the moment on this project”.
The Australasian Society of Historical Archaeology last week said the site was “highly significant” on a state and “most likely national” level.
Based on their understanding of the site, ASHA president Anita Yousif said it would “satisfy most of the heritage/archaeological significance assessment criteria” and noted sites of this type were “rare”.
Ms Yousif pointed to similar stations in NSW included as part of the 11 UNESCO-listed Australian convict sites – five of which are located in Tasmania.
“It has the potential to provide tangible evidence of the [state’s] convict history,” she said.
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