26 September 2023

New History outlines the making of WA

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The Heritage Council of Western Australia has released a thematic history of the State offering an insight into some of the past influences and challenges that have shaped the WA of today.

The Council’s Thematic History of Western Australia has been designed to provide context to help readers understand the heritage value of places considered for inclusion on the State Register of Heritage Places.

In a statement, the Council said the work covered everything from devastating disasters, political turmoil and social injustices, to sporting triumphs, entertainment trends and even dietary preferences.

“With a focus on the last 200 years following British settlement, the document is the first work of its type to cover the whole of the State,” the Council said.

“It will be added to and revised over time as our understanding of the State’s heritage develops,” it said.

“It provides a concise overview of WA, framed across eight themes, and is expressed through key stories and chronological periods. The themes draw on the environmental, economic, social, political and cultural influences throughout the State’s development.”

Minister for Heritage, David Templeman said the Thematic History of Western Australia was a publication written for every Western Australian.

“Its author, Clare Menck had the rare professional challenge of bringing a place with the size and diversity of Western Australia into focus over centuries,” Mr Templeman said.

“The result is an honest — and often confronting — look at how the Western Australia we know today came to be.”

He said the thematic history acknowledged the arrival of Aboriginal people some 70,000 years ago, with their stories, culture and ongoing contribution to the State’s identity an important inclusion.

“This is a remarkable piece of work that has something for everyone and will guide the Heritage Council for many years in building a rich and meaningful State Register of Heritage Places,” the Minister said.

He said that sadly, Ms Menck died before her work could be published, but she had left a lasting legacy for the State.

The 170-page history can be accessed on the Government website at this PS News link.

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