Ravensworth Homestead fight not over yet

The fight over a historic homestead in the Hunter Valley isn’t over yet.

In October last year, the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) rejected mining giant Glencore’s proposal for the expansion of their Glendell mine near Singleton to extend its life for another two decades and extract an additional 135 million tonnes of coal.

The project has been a contentious issue for years between the company Glencore and the local Wonnarua people who say the expansion would destroy the historic Ravensworth Homestead located on the mining land which they say was the site of a massacre of Indigenous people in the 1800s.

Glencore offered to shift the homestead away from the mine and renovate it, however, in making its determination, the IPC panel said the significant, irreversible and unjustified impacts on the site and local Indigenous outweigh any public benefit associated with the mine expansion.

A Heritage NSW spokesperson has told NewFM that after the IPC’s decision, they commenced the process to apply to have the site listed on the State Heritage Register.

Submissions closed earlier this week on March 14 for the community to have their say on the Ravensworth Homestead being listed on the register protecting it from any future intervention.

The Heritage Council will make a recommendation to the Minister for Heritage, then the Minister for Heritage makes the ultimate determination.

Glencore has coming out swinging, opposing the listing. The company said:

“Over the 26 years that Glencore has owned the Homestead there has been little interest from anyone within the community in visiting it.

“Glencore believes that the best way to preserve the Homestead is to relocate and renovate it, which would maintain part of its character and heritage value but give it a new lease of life as a repurposed venue.

“We oppose the heritage listing of the Homestead as it would likely prevent its relocation and any future mining on the surrounding land.  The listing proposal extends over an unusually large area of approximately 500 hectares, rather than just the areas encompassing the buildings, and will significantly constrain the future use of that entire area.

“The Heritage Council of NSW’s listing proposal does not present a balanced or factual assessment of the significance of the Homestead and its surrounding landscape, nor does it consider the advantages and disadvantages of a State listing and whether such a listing would result in the long-term preservation and use of the Homestead.

“Without significant additional investment in the Homestead it will continue to degrade in a manner similar to the nearby State heritage listed Wambo Homestead.”

Singleton Council has sided with Glencore agreeing that it would be better for the homestead if it were moved and preserved for future generations.