Can heritage be moved - and keep its place?

GOOD planning should prevent the need to judge whether to save 'in situ' a significant heritage complex with the need to protect jobs.

But, as we have seen and lived through in the Singleton Local Government Area state planning laws and regulations have caused so much angst and heartache when it comes to mining expansions that we can only dream of what good planning looks like.

Even the mining companies would no doubt agree that they spend hundreds of millions of dollars on preparing their Environment Impact Statements without knowing for certain the outcome of the proposal. Although it must be said no proposal in the Singleton LGA has ever been rejected perhaps in the Rix's Creek continuation case delayed somewhat.

We only have to think of the fight to protect Saddle Ridge and the historic Wallaby Scrub Road from being mined. A battle lost despite wins in the highest court in the state.

Now we are faced with Glencore's desire to relocate the significant heritage site that is Ravensworth Homestead complex.

Based on our acceptance of the Burra Charter, the complex should not be relocated even within the property let alone moved down the road to Broke and turned into some tourist attraction - far removed from its original purpose as a colonial home and working property for one of our colonial surgeons and pastoralists.

Under the Burra Charter whose principles and procedures are to be followed in the conservation of Australian heritage places - place is everything.

Why is the Sydney Opera House known around the world? Well one for its architecture but probably just as importantly its place, its location.

The essence of Ravensworth complex is to find where it is found - the property and the garden its links to the history of colonial Australia its famous pastoralists.

Also its links with the Wonnaura people. Sadly some of the first encounters ended in tragedy but it took place on that property.

It's such an important heritage site - no it cannot be relocated and maintain its significance.

Option three was not listed in the EIS but may we suggest one - leave the complex in situ and either use technology to extract the coal reserve by underground methods, as was being done by Glencore under houses in the Broke district. Or simply leave the coal in the ground and start the transition.