A talk given to the Friends of the Lutheran Archives on Monday 22 February 2010

By Anni Luur Fox, Chairperson, Hahndorf Branch, National Trust of SA

Look What You Did ...... !

‘Someone invented the automobile, || And all good Americans took the wheel || To view America’s rivers and rills || And justly famous forests and hills – || But somebody equally enterprising || Had invented billboard advertising.’

This excerpt from Ogden Nash’s poem, ‘Look what you did Christopher’ has a parallel in the lofty aims of the Hahndorf National Trust Branch at its founding in 1976 and the rampant commercial arena the town became.  The tourism dollar was seen as a way of convincing government authorities to institute planning controls in Hahndorf.  They were not listening to our cultural arguments.  When I first wrote a paper on this subject while back at university in 1992, camel rides were competing with Harley Davidson motorbikes for custom in the narrow 19th C main street lined with cars.  Merchandise flapped under ancient verandahs as tourists wandered along footpaths avoiding pot holes and other tourists.  Acres of grey asphalt laid in the name of parking the motor-vehicle covered the beautiful gardens that were once a feature of the town.  But somehow, Hahndorf has retained an air of charm with trees still framing over ninety 19thC buildings in Main Street alone.  They are still standing due largely to persistent efforts by the Hahndorf National Trust Branch since 1976.

We were ahead of our time in wanting to conserve the streetscape not just isolated buildings erected by the great and the good.  In New South Wales the Paddington Society had been established in 1964 followed by several others.  Such organizations grew out of residents’ desires to retain buildings in their territory against powerful rivals, the developers, speculators and zealous public authorities who supported them.  This was a new phenomenon.  There had been earlier Australian groups interested in history but their major concern was research and documentation, not community activism which became Hahndorf’s future from 1960 when Walter Wotzke first took a brave stand against conventional wisdom of the day that relegated old buildings to the scrapheap in the name of ‘Progress’.

The entire convoluted tale of how a small group set out to change public attitudes towards historic sites will have to wait for another day.  This paper provides a mere overview of events that helped us achieve a Hahndorf Development Plan favouring conservation whose objectives and principles of development control, I am sad to admit, still need to be upheld by community action. Thank God for democracy!


The story of heroic deeds in the name of conservation of buildings began in 1960 when Otto Wotzke told his brother Walter they had to ‘do something’ to save the historic Hahndorf Academy from demolition to make way for a petrol station.  They were instrumental in forming the Hahndorf Academy Museum Trust Inc. to find a way of interesting government authorities to purchase and restore the site for use as a cultural centre.  Very few local names are on its list of members.  One local gentleman even offered to donate $80 towards the buildings demolition.


After six years of failing to convince any government body to save the derelict Academy, Walter’s wife Elva bought it from the Hahndorf Academy Museum Trust.  The Academy was amongst several buildings in Hahndorf Mt Barker Council had been very busy condemning as being substandard that year.  It was.


Over a year was spent by Walter and Elva Wotzke in substantial conservation works.  The Hahndorf Academy opened as a gallery and folk museum in 1967 with an exhibition of Sir Hans Heysen’s works on his 90th birthday.  This story has been told by Reg Butler in his remarkable history of the Academy, ‘A College in the Wattles’.

As an artist regularly exhibiting at the Hahndorf Gallery from 1963 onwards, I was privy to the development of the Academy and Walter’s arguments with Mt Barker Council over planning and development issues.  His campaigns were based on a deeply felt need to prevent planned desecration of a place he knew and loved, rather than on academic knowledge of architecture and planning orthodoxy.  He was an artist with an artist’s eye for proportion, colour and tone.  His appreciation of this place had been honed while driving Haebich’s cows to and from pasture as a small boy.  He was always in trouble for gazing at the beauty of the village that captured his attention while the cows were left to trample Mrs. Faehrmann’s garden.

Walter’s role as the district’s correspondent for ‘The Advertiser’ and the ABC proved to be very beneficial in trying to save Hahndorf’s built cultural heritage.  It is my view that had Walter stood by watching the Academy being demolished it would have set the standard for more demolitions and ultimately the oldest permanent Germanic settlement in Australia as defined by its existing tangible heritage of 19th C buildings, plants and a plan dating from medieval Europe, would have been lost.


John Gordon converted Wittwer’s old steam mill to become ‘The Old Mill Restaurant’ promoting entertainment full of thigh-slapping, lederhosen and bell-ringing that attracted busloads of happy visitors and media attention.

Hahndorf’s early roots lay in Prussian villages where bell ringing was confined to the more serious events of life, weddings, funerals and church services.  This history was recognized by another newcomer of 1970, John Storey, who opened Storison Arts and Crafts with his wife Cath and sister-in-law Clare Ferguson in Haebich’s Smithy.  John’s ancestor was Captain John Finnis, one of three speculators who sold the Hahndorf site to the early Lutheran settlers.  When John bought Haebich’s property with its original blacksmith shop, beautiful craftsman-built fachwerk house and other buildings, Mt Barker Council suggested he run a bulldozer through the property and put up a modern shopping centre.  He didn’t.


The South Eastern Freeway reached Hahndorf.  In the tradition of road-building programs of 18th C Europe which spawned the social phenomenon of ‘Tourism’, Hahndorf became a magnet for visitors and commerce eager to serve them.  The town whose essentially rural character had evolved slowly since 1839, was suddenly subjected to immense pressure by the real estate industry.  The fields painted by Sir Hans Heysen as places where Clydesdales and farmers toiled together began sprouting houses instead of mangelwurzels and potatoes.  The cottages and barns that had housed the toilers were becoming retail outlets and plastic Pink Panthers were appearing in trees.  Its German origin was immediately dubbed Bavarian by business people emulating John Gordon at the Old Mill.  Brian Fox and I started a small graphic design and publishing company in Hahndorf.  Brian’s ancestors were amongst the fifty-four founding families of Hahndorf.  I was a refugee from Estonia.


Walter Wotzke decided to write to Queen Elizabeth II, inviting her to visit Hahndorf and the Academy on her forthcoming tour.  The local postmaster nearly fainted when an official letter from Buckingham Palace arrived addressed to Walter Wotzke Esquire.  The Queen accepted his invitation.


Because the Queen had to return hastily to Britain for a snap election, the Duke of Edinburgh visited the Academy alone.  It gave us an opportunity to have a good conversation regarding Hahndorf.  The media covered the story.

Soon after this fortuitous visit an ABC researcher arrived to assess if there was a good tale to tell in a half hour documentary for the Peach’s Australia series to be distributed world wide.  I drove him around the district and loaded him up with stories and research data.


The Peach’s Australia ABC-TV documentary was completed, focusing on Hahndorf’s history and our conservation troubles.  It was seen nationally.  This was a catalyst for government attention aided by more media articles.  It also brought in more visitors to what became a war zone.

The SA Department of Recreation, Sport and Racing commissioned a report which identified and quantified Hahndorf’s growing economic importance.  The Courier reported, ‘The number of people visiting Hahndorf and the range of craft shops, art galleries and other retail enterprises that service them has increased dramatically in recent years’ (5 Sept 1975).


The effect of grossly elevated property valuations on government taxes resulted in a lively protest meeting and a deputation to the Premier, Mr Don Dunstan.  Led by David Wotton MP, the group included five people who were instrumental in the formation of the Hahndorf Branch, National Trust of SA – Walter Wotzke, John Storey, Grant Paech, Brian Fox, Anni Luur Fox.

Our major concern was that high valuations could force descendents of the town’s early settlers to sell up and move elsewhere, leaving the town to developers unknowledgeable and disinterested in retaining its history and traditions.  Hugh Stretton had earlier pointed out the effects of cultural paucity in places where communities had been dislocated.  In Hahndorf many old cottages had been renovated as retail outlets, wiping out physical evidence of a long history of mixed farming on distinctive hufendorf allotments.  Ironically, none of us gave much thought to the Peramangk Aboriginal people displaced in the 19th C.

Hahndorf Branch, National Trust of S.A.


A small group of members of the Hahndorf Association found this organization to be dominated by commercial interests antagonistic to the concept of conserving Hahndorf’s historic streetscape.  They decided to seek membership of the National Trust as an umbrella organization with aims compatible with conservation principles.

The first committee elected on 23 June 1976 at the Hahndorf Academy was largely responsible for the major thrust for planning controls favouring conservation.

Chairperson John Storey;  Vice Chair Walter Wotzke;  Hon. Secretary Anni Luur Fox;  Treasurer Elaine Potts;  Committee Pam Chipperfield;  Lyndell Davidge;  Ralph Dettman;  Siegfried Pellenat;  Mignon Siemer;  Marjorie Tillyer

We recognized that buildings had more chance of escaping demolition if they were perceived as being commercially viable by government and the business community.  The national hobby of land speculation was threatening to erase the ‘lived culture’ that gave Hahndorf its historic character.  Residents sold their old homes to tourist operators and moved elsewhere.  Tourism became an expedient argument for government legislation favouring conservation of historical sites.  Tourism was at odds with suburban-type developments in the back blocks.  The few ancient gums still standing after more than a century of land clearance for agriculture were now threatened due to their habit of dropping limbs.  It had not mattered much until the village became a suburb.  And the new residents hated the congestion in Main Street.

As the newly elected greenhorn secretary of the Branch I was naïve enough to believe that through research proving Hahndorf’s claim to national significance, its tangible heritage would be legally protected by government authorities keen to foster an Australian cultural asset.  It was not that simple.  We set out to prove our claim but were always ‘on the back foot’ when yet another developer arrived and our research was not completed.  The constant endeavour took over much of my life because I was the scribe.

Branch records reveal the political nature of our activities and informal links with academic institutions.

In our first year from June 1976-June 1977, we undertook the following-

  1. Hosted ‘HAHNDORF: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE’, a seminar organized by Dr Derek Whitelock form the Adelaide University Department of Adult Education.  In his opening speech Colin Thiele spoke of his fear of tourism for what it could do to the spirit of place.  Distinguished speakers were Ian Harmstorf, Architects John Chapple and Robert Dickson, planning consultant Neill Wallman and the assistant director of the State Planning Office, John Harris.

  2. Conducted a survey of residents’ views on desired future development with assistance from the Sociology Department, Adelaide College of Advanced Education.

  3. Produced a photographic record of 70 historic buildings for future Land Title search and the Trust’s classification program.

  4. Organised our first public meeting which became an argument with the Monarto Commission over local government control of planning in Hahndorf.  The team told us we should ‘Hope like hell they become more responsible in their attitude to areas of beauty and historic significance.’ Legislation and a suitable economic use were more likely to assist in retention, we decided.

  5. Provided data concerning protection of historic sites via Branch member Patrick McGrath for a Private Member’s Bill introduced to SA Parliament by David Wotton MP.  Patrick was the past Chairman the Historic Buildings Committee in Victoria and a member of the Government Buildings Committee.  Patrick would later have input into formulating the SA Heritage Act.

  6. John Story had contacted the Leader for the Opposition, Mr Tonkin, who asked us to make a submission concerning control of development so that Hahndorf would remain a living historic town, not just a replica such as Sovereign Hill or Swan Hill.

  7. Met with the National Heritage Commission to discuss conservation with a view to having Hahndorf listed by the National Estate set up by the Whitlam government in 1974-75 to preserve Australia’s heritage.

  8. Set up an exhibition of the Barossa Survey led by Gordon Young and Ian Harmstorf.

  9. Conducted walking tours of Hahndorf.


By September 1977 the Branch became embroiled in trying to prevent demolition of a group of buildings at 21, 23, 25, 27 Main Street due to be replaced by a shopping complex, ‘The Market Place’.  It was the fore-runner of many other confrontations with developers and government.  Consistent pressure was applied via letters and telegrams to federal, state and local government heads and departments.  Every MP was asked for support against demolition.  Questions were asked and a grievance debate about the future of Hahndorf took place in SA Parliament on 26 October.

An independent evaluation of Hahndorf Main Street was undertaken by Victorian lecturer in architecture and member of the Victorian Early Buildings Committee, Peter Staughton who reported to Mt Barker Council.  John Storey presented the Branch case based on searches of Land Titles by Ralph Dettman assisted by Elaine Potts, Lyndell Davidge and myself corroborated by data from historian Reg Butler.  Copies of our research and submission were made and sent to the National Heritage Commission, David Wotton MP, Peter Staughton and Jim Warburton, Chairman of the Civic Trust.

While local residents were reluctant to sign our petition against demolition, tourists were very eager to do so.  As in the Academy saga, the issue was clearly important to people beyond Hahndorf’s borders.  The media produced provocative articles in the Advertiser, Courier, ABC-TV, Channel 9 and radio.  In November we held a public meeting.  The developer had left material supporting their plans under Mt Barker councilors’ doors.


On Australia Day Walter Wotzke received an Order of Australia Medal for his services to the Arts and conservation.  Our Branch had had a hand in this well deserved award.

In February we held a public meeting at the Hahndorf Academy where the Guest speaker was Gordon Young, Senior Lecturer in Architecture at the SA Institute of Technology.  He talked about how surveys of historic townships are conducted.  He had suggested to Ian Harmstorf, Senior Lecturer in History at the Adelaide College of Advanced Education that architectural and historical surveys would be very useful.  From the Australian Heritage Commission they had received $18,000 for the Barossa Survey and this year, $24,000 to conduct the Hahndorf Survey.  Students were already at work but it would take two years before results were published.  The Branch was delighted.  We hoped it would provide a substantial research basis for our claims for Hahndorf’s significance to Australia and thus influence government legislation regarding conservation.

I met with the Head of the Adelaide College of Advanced Education and Ian Harmstorf in May to discuss what would be the most useful surveys students should undertake in Hahndorf.  The list included land use, Title searches, building techniques and spatial organization of allottments, historical data regarding immigration and settlement, superstitions, stories told, industries, foods.

A casual remark by an ETSA worker to Lyndell Davidge motivated the Branch to pursue under-grounding electricity wires in Main Street to allow the avenue of trees to return to their pre 1912 glory when severe lopping began.  Although the project was deferred until Gordon Young’s Survey was completed, we were successful with assistance from David Wotton MP.

Various stalling tactics ensured the Market Place saga continued throughout 1978.  The decision was deferred until Gordon Young returned from Europe.  He was an expert witness against the development.  The legal obstacle of Mt Barker Council’s approval in principle had to be overcome.  The developer was claiming that the four buildings were erected in the 1950’s.  Through our Branch member Alma Paech who was friends with Edna Martin whose family had owned the site for over a century, we found a photograph of Martin’s Wheelwright Shop before the Main Street trees were planted in 1885.

From 16-18 October, the Planning appeals Tribunal deliberated over conflicting evidence.  The case was lost on a point of law but a compromise was reached.  Three buildings out of four would be restored with an SA Government grant of $30,000, the shopping complex would be built at the rear.  These events led to the SA Government commissioning formulation of Hahndorf’s Supplementary Development Plan by Neill Wallman.  Our Branch had substantial input.


Neill Wallman’s Draft Supplementary Development Plan was put on display in March for public comment.  A special Hahndorf Working Party was formed to examine principles of development control to establish -

1. Ratio of residential to commercial properties to retain the historic pattern of development.

  1. Lower rates for sympathetic restorations.

  2. Annual restoration award.

We wrote a submission objecting to Wallman’s zoning of the whole main Street as commercial which did not take into account the findings of the Hahndorf Survey.  Copies were sent to the Australian Heritage Commission, Council and the SA government as usual.

The Hahndorf Survey is Exhibited by the Art Gallery of SA in October.

In November our Branch received a directive from National Trust Head Office that Branches were not to communicate directly with Government House, State or Federal government, outside organizations or the media.  Too bloody late!!!!!  We had already ‘been there done that’ and had no intention of complying, even at the risk of excommunication.

Beaumont House Committee invited us to take part in a walk along the Hahndorf Pioneer Women’s Trail to mark the 25th Anniversary of the SA National Trust in 1980.  The catch was that they expected us to sort out the route using a photo copy of Nixon’s Survey of 1841 from Hahndorf to Eagle on the Hill while they did the section to Beaumont House.  John Storey requested assistance from his nephew Major Ferguson at the Woodside Army Barracks to plot the route onto a modern map.  Reg Butler provided a list of Hahndorf’s walkers and invited their descendents to join us.  Elizabeth Simpson wrote a book about ‘The Hahndorf Walkers’.


John Storey, Clare Ferguson, Anni Luur Fox, Lyndell Davidge and Rodney Allen followed the Army’s map to Beaumont House where Lady Downer, Elisabeth Simpson and Warren Bonython greeted us in the grand dining room with Queen Mother’s cake and cucumber sandwiches.

Our first public walk along the Hahndorf Pioneer Women’s Trail took place on 20 April with over a hundred people willing to pay $5 to walk to Adelaide!  Amazing!

We received a $13,000 grant to conduct conservation work on the Windmill.


The SA Minister for Planning announced the newly authorized Supplementary Plan for Hahndorf.

Our Branch considered it weak in the hands of an uncaring Council.  We made another submission to strengthen provisions for heritage items.

Mt Barker Council resumed planning control over Hahndorf.

The Hahndorf Survey was published.


Hahndorf was listed by the National Estate


By my tenth year as secretary, even though legal means of enforcement through the SA Heritage Act (1978) and the Hahndorf Development Plan (1981) had been in force for some years, the Branch was still adding to its record of conflict with developers, government and even National Trust Head Office embarrassed by our tactics.  At least we had pushed the State towards addressing the issue of conservation through legal means.  When our polite requests backed by copious research were ignored we resorted to the media.  The action had to be immediate.  Other Branches appalled at our tactics, began experiencing similar pressures of development a decade later.

On relinquishing his ten year post as Chairman in 1986, John Storey reported at our AGM that the administrators of the Supplementary Plan were not adhering to its principles of development control or seeking to achieve its objectives without continual Branch coercion.  Their values differed markedly from those expressed in the SDP prepared by Neill Wallman and the Department of Housing, Urban and Regional Affairs.  We knew that when the Civic Amenities Act was passed in 1967 in Britain, a program of re-educating Council Officers had been mounted.  In Hahndorf we had to mount a media campaign to save Hahndorf from the authorities.

Since our first major foray to Planning Appeal in 1978, the danger to Hahndorf’s built heritage moved from demolition to enthusiastic infill development which threatened to overwhelm the elements essential to Hahndorf’s historic ‘sense of place’.  Having conducted an analysis of the Hahndorf Survey’s findings I identified the following elements as vital –

  1. All buildings listed as A,B,C in the report.

  2. Gardens and old flora.

  3. Spaces between buildings.

  4. A mix of residential and commercial use in Main Street.

These became part of the Branch submission to Mt Barker Council and the SA Planning Commission, requesting that the SCALE, SIZE and DENSITY of development should reflect the FORMS OF EXISTING STRUCTURES and that any residential buildings changed to commercial use should retain their residential ambience.

THE TSANAKAS DEVELOPMENT was approved by Mt Barker District Council despite its failure to comply with the Hahndorf Development Plan and despite the Minister for Planning having recommended it be refused.  David Wotton agreed to air this matter in SA Parliament and seek a State Heritage Area declaration of the site.  We asked that pollution controls be exercised.  There was to be an aviary with 600 birds built next to the Hahndorf Creek which flows into the Onkaparinga River and Mt Bold Reservoir.

John Storey informed the Branch on 18 September 1986 the he and a group of residents would oppose the Tsanakas development at the Planning Appeals Tribunal.  We agreed to help.


Hahndorf is declared a State Heritage Area.


From 16 January 1987 – 16 November 1989 John Storey and I conducted the Branch case against the Tsanakas Development.  A 100 year-old street tree and a wooden barn were to be removed.  A second storey was to be added to Thiele’s cottage built in 1845 to which were to be added 15 shops and a giant aviary next to the creek.  All signs of old flora and out-buildings had already been removed from this old Germanic farm.  The grand old bay tree believed to have been planted to deter witches, had been blown up with gelignite which had cracked the walls of the cottage.

Other players against this development were the SA Planning Commission, Mt Barker District Council and a group of residents led by Larry Oien of the Zebra Gallery.  Total Branch cost was $550 for calling Gordon Young as our expert witness.  After forays to the Supreme Court and the High Court over the validity of the SA Waterworks Act 1932-1978, the Tribunal finally concluded in 1989 that the development ‘did not pay sufficient regard to the objectives, proposals and principles of the SDP’.  Despite this judgement the issue resurfaced in 1992, requiring further representations by the Branch to Council.  This time, the aviary was even bigger.  Council voted against it.


Many years passed with various conservation adventures before the Branch became involved in another foray to the courts, this time to the Environment, Resources and Development Court in 2003.  The issue concerned a petrol station on the banks of the Onkaparinga River at South Verdun (formerly Grunthal) wishing to expand near the Freeway ramp.  A group of local residents asked for Branch assistance.  After a number of directional hearings I joined the residents in a deputation to the Minister for Planning.  In February 2005 he announced a $1.5 million buy back of the property and later had to spend another $300,000 having it decontaminated.  Our five days of argument before the full Bench in May was happily cancelled.

Some Notes to Finish …….

Understandably, planning and development issues occupy the most space in Branch minute books.  Lest the major problems described above brand us as an isolated group of territorial old chooks desperately defending the hen-yard from newcomers, the following list of activities provides a broader view of our attempts to look after Hahndorf’s Germanic heritage and pay attention to the culture of the Peramangk Aboriginal people.

Echunga Mines: we were offered custodianship but declined due to insurance issues.

Hahndorf Pioneer Women’s Trail: we found it, publicized it and spent 28 years lobbying to have it officially marked by the Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing to honour the women of Hahndorf who were the first to supply Adelaide with fresh food from the Mt Barker district .

Cemetery Crawls: a pleasant means of informal education organized by Reg Butler.

The Windmill Conservation: we applied for a grant and organized this work but could not find the money to replace the wooden machinery and sails.

Powerlines: we helped to steer the Tungkillo-Cherry Garden powerlines away from Hahndorf and the windmill in 1985.

The Hahndorf Academy: some members were voted onto the Hahndorf Academy Foundation Inc Board in 1987 to purchase the building when Walter Wotzke decided to retire.  Today it is owned by Mt Barker Council.  Our Treasurer Lyndell Davidge is on the Board to keep an eye on it.

Peramangk Aboriginal People: to mark our 30th anniversary we set up an exhibition of photographs of Peramangk cave art sites taken by Robin Coles and Peramangk Elder Richard Hunter.

Malcolm Wicks Reserve: we became caretakers of 40 ha.of virgin bushland at Forest Range in 1978.

Anniversaries: we took part in the Hahndorf Primary School Centenary 1979, St Paul’s Anglican Centenary 1985, Hahndorf Lutheran 150 Exhibition 1989, Hahndorf’s 170 Exhibition 2009.

Trees: long history of trying to prevent Mt Barker Council from removing our avenue of trees.  Member Lyndell Davidge coordinated the Centenary in 1985.  More recently we have nominated a number of trees for the National Trust Significant Tree Register and have tried to convince St Paul’s to retain the palm trees planted in the late 19th Century.

Education: we lobbied the SA Education Department to set up Reg Butler as Education Officer with Hahndorf as his classroom from 1991-1993.  Schools had free access to his expertise.  Reg Butler developed a Hahndorf Land Titles database for this purpose.  We also run tours on occasion.

The Cedars: our current secretary Annette Oien is currently volunteering at this important cultural site and others are members of the Nora Heysen Foundation Inc.

Research: Reg Butler continues work on his remarkable database and assists some people with their family histories.  I am researching native foods of the area as well as evidence of cultural transfer of symbols of belief, myths and building styles from Europe.

St Michael’s Lutheran Cemetery: we were instrumental in preventing the congregation from covering the remnants of the oldest Christian cemetery east of Mt Lofty from being covered by a carpark in 2008-9.  Managed to get a $5000 grant to underpin the tombstones and conduct conservation works.

Conservation: I am still soldiering on trying to keep the oldest intact Germanic farm complex in Australia upright.  Why? To put my money where my mouth is.  Last year was the first time I had had to fight to protect my own property.  A neighbour’s storm-water was continuing to damage the two stone cottages.

Website: Tony Finnis set up our HahnWiki site, manages this facility but would like more help.  [Please Note:  The previous HahnWiki and BarkerWiki websites are no longer operational and have been superseded by the Adelaide Hills LocalWiki website - Tony Finnis.]

So, Why Bother?

Having access to an actual historic object or place is different from depending on photographs or written data.  Professionals tend to devalue really early buildings as being uncraftsmanlike.  In my view it is their very best attribute if we are to gain understanding of what it was like to be an early settler, impoverished, trying to build a shelter from stones cleared from the fields, stuck together with mud and bones.  Buildings are repositories of human values of a particular period, markers against which we can judge those of our current era.  When I returned to my State Heritage Site last Thursday and saw that the bulldozer had indeed cut a swathe through the old fruit trees on the boundary with St Paul’s Lutheran development, the site manager assured me I would soon have a nice Colourbond fence to look at.

I leave you with an excerpt from Ben MacIntyre’s article in ‘The Times’ which also appeared in the Weekend Australian Inquirer of January 16-17, 2010 –

Buildings can summon memory and evoke history in a way even books, paintings and poetry cannot.  Nature constantly gnaws at them.  Like us, buildings are in a state of constant decay; unlike us, human action can preserve them indefinitely.  They are a form of immortality…. Rather than tear down and build again, as governments love to do, there is a need to adopt the concept of embodied energy which holds that the huge amount of energy, materials, and waste that went into constructing old buildings in the first place should be adapted to new uses rather than turned into rubble for landfill.  Every church converted into a pub may look like sacrilege in some eyes, but represents ecological virtue of the highest order …….’