icomos intangible heritage symposium october 2014. david mcginniss lake wendouree
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DESCRIPTIONAn overview of intangible cultural heritage at Lake Wendouree in Ballarat, adapting the 'Causal Layered Analysis' approach. This was a presentation at the Australia ICOMOS Intangible Heritage Symposium, 18 October 2014
Places of unrest: social value, historic value, and urban change in BallaratDavid McGinnissFederation University AustraliaAustralia ICOMOS, Melbourne18 October 2014
Social valueHistoric valueoflandscapesContemporary Cultural mapping& Historical researchThree place studies in Ballarat
using methodologies of Better understanding of Lake Wendouree
Central Ballarat?My project Im working with concepts of social value and historic value, arguing that they need to be regarded in combination with each other. The basic premise of my approach to history in this project is that history is about constant change. Not progress, necessarily, but change. It links closely with the work that the City of Ballarat is doing on the implementation of the Historic Urban Landscape, working with Susan Fayad and fitting into the global network of pilot cities being assembled by the World Heritage Institute of Training and Ressearch Asia Pacific, with Ron van Oers in Shanghai. Ballarat is the first (and currently only) Australian city piloting this approach, which calls for a broadening of our understanding of intangible heritage. So while Ill be looking at the elements of intangible heritage as defined by UNESCO practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills Ill be experimenting with some different theoretical approaches to uncover new perspectives on intangible heritage landscape theory, phenomenology, and as Ill show briefly here, the foresight and futures theory of Causal Layered Analysis.This project will provide a better understanding of how to identify social value in places, and where appropriate and possible, to protect and manage urban environments in order to maintain social value. To do this Im doing three place studies of different places within Ballarat Lake Wendouree, Central Ballarat and Ballarat East. In each place I will carry out contemporary cultural mapping exercises to build an understanding of contemporary social value, and then historical research to build an understanding of how those values have changed over time.So today in the short time available, Im going to talk about how I plan to apply this approach to history, by showing you the frameworks by which Im approaching one of these places, Lake Wendouree.2
Lake Wendouree, BallaratMany of you will have been to Lake Wendouree and the neighbouring Botanic Gardens. A beautiful spot, its the place where generations of Ballaratians and visitors have gone to relax, exercise and all sorts of things. Its is something of an urban idyll for most people who use it. Theres a popular story in Ballarat that when the first European settlers arrived at what is now the lake, they were told to Wendouree, which is said to be a Wadda Wurrung word for go away. Im not sure how true that story is, but it is one that has stuck, and forms a key element of the lakes local mythology.
3MonumentalMonuments and statuesResidentialPrestigeLake Wendouree, BallaratLeisureLake and gardensValuable?
Vanished?Colonialismhome recreated / recalledThis is how Im proposing to organise my approach to the place studies. Its an indicative framework, this version is not comprehensive, but rather gives a brief overview of some of the historical themes. Im calling it a horizon view, not a timeline. These elements exist simultaneously, even though their origins are from different times. We stand at one point but we can see and experience the various horizons. We intuitively experience the traces of historical events, occurrences, structures and landscapes, without necessarily knowing what occurred, or what really happened historically. This is the idea that fascinates me.4
MonumentalMonuments and statuesResidentialPrestigeColonialismWendouree / go awayLake Wendouree, BallaratLeisureLake and gardensVisible / audibleInvisible / inaudible
This will of course be very brief overviewprobably the dominant mode or identity of Lake Wendouree right now is around leisure, so this goes at the centre. These are the kind of assumptions Im going to test through contemporary cultural mapping. When youre in this place, the visible and audible elements of this theme are apparent there are cafes, children on playgrounds, the replica tourist trams, runners, bikes, farmers markets. These are the physical elements of the landscape that we experience with our senses. But there are other stories and identities and metaphors about place that drive our other senses of connection and value. 5Colonialismhome recreated / recalledLake Wendouree, BallaratVisible / audibleInvisible / inaudible
ResidentialPrestigeMonumentalMonuments and statuesLeisureLake and gardensAnother role that this area fulfils is what Im calling monumental. This is the idea that a place has broader significance beyond the boundaries of that place, and it is marked by symbols, emblems and markers that demonstrate this. So for instance, at Lake Wendouree we have an incredible statue of William Wallace with his sword, connecting the colonial Scottish population with grandiose versions of their history Also, the Olympic Rings serve as reminder that the worlds biggest sporting event was held here in 1956 (rowing). The Ex-Prisoner of War Memorial was opened in 2004. And the PMs walk features the bronze head of every past Australian PM. This idea then is that Ballarat is of national / international importance carries through in artifacts such as this. We are not meant to just see these objects, but to understand the broader geographical and conceptual significance of this place.
6MonumentalMonuments and statuesLake Wendouree, BallaratVisible / audibleInvisible / inaudible
ResidentialPrestigeLeisureLake and gardens
Colonialismhome recreated / recalledI wont go into this one in great detail except to say that the multi million dollar homes that now line the lake form a key part of its current identity, and have done since at least the 1870s when successful industrialists and mining magnates started moving to this slightly out of town, picturesque location. Where some parts of Ballarat though retain the physical traces of their mining past around the lake these traces have been thoroughly obliterated. Almost no physical sign of the deep leads that dotted the area remains.7MonumentalMonuments and statuesLake Wendouree, BallaratVisible / audibleInvisible / inaudible
LeisureLake and gardens
ResidentialPrestigeColonialismhome recreated / recalled
The last theme that Im going to explore goes right back to 1838 when those first colonists arrived, and its such an important one. The lake was a marshy swamp when Europeans first arrived, but eventually that landscape was transformed into an abundant lake. Before that though, the swamp served for a time as one of the growing citys water sources, particularly for the thirsty deep lead mines that surrounded the area.The lake and botanic gardens were built in the image of an absent colonial homeland. The classical Roman statues, enormous trees that you see today towering over the gardens. The boatsheds, rowing clubs, manicured lawns, and so on. These speak to a British and European heritage, and the transplanted nostalgia of suddenly rich nineteenth century goldminers. But it is not just lost European homelands that are recreated here. In 2009 what is known as the Indigenous Playground was built, a favourite of local kids who know their playgrounds. Anyway, here now are sculptures of Bunjil and Wargal, and creation stories, now a growing part of local connection to this place. Contemporary historiography now enables these meanings to be highlighted again. While they are great, they still entrenched in a paradigm of recreation and representation. Of markers on a landscape.8Causal Layered Analysisof placeOfficial unquestioned view of realitySystemic causes and explanations (social, technological, historical, environmental, political economic)Deeper social and cultural processes. Language used to depict perspective.Unconscious emotive dimensions.Stories and symbols.Adapted from Sohail Inayatullah, 2004, Causal Layered Analysis Reader Its a lakeWater source (then) /water destination (now)Economic value: mining / tourism-leisureGo away / Colonial dispossession / environmental vulnerabilityLitanySocial StructuralWorldviewMyth / MetaphorIm often informed in what I do by foresight theories. That is, theories of the future. This theory of Causal Layered Analysis aims to uncover the deeper drivers of why things are the way they are, aimed at a more sophisticated ability to prepare for and shape the future. Im attempting to adapt it to apply also to the past. What Ive briefly tried to show so far are some of the historical sources of our ambivalent relationship to place, in this case, the lake. These historical themes provide traces often invisible and non-sensory that we nonetheless experience today. Causal Layered Analysis helps us to understand the structures, worldviews, myth and metaphors that drive the surface view of place the litany.So, in this case The official, unambiguous view of this landscape, the litany, is fairly straightforward. This place is a lake.Previously, as mentioned the lake was a swamp. Then it was a source of water. Then it was a colonial landscape. Now it is a place where water is actually redirected, to avoid it drying up, so powerful is its identity as a lake. So now the idea lake must have water in it is fuelled by the ideathat the lake is a powerful economic magnet for the city. Thats the worldview of landscape as economic asset. Today water flows from around the city into the lake. Sometimes now, after heavy rainfall, it overflows. But the Myth / Metaphor that has long driven the ambiguous and changing relationship we have to this place perhaps lies in the original misinterpre