The Cornish Hill Residents’ Group petitioned Council in March to undertake a heritage assessment of the Cornish Hill mining precinct and the adjacent residential area known as Precinct 14 with a view to replacing the current Neighbourhood Character Overlay with a Heritage Overlay.
Residents are concerned that the heritage values associated with the area are under threat. The resident’s group claim that estate agents encourage sales in the area by telling prospective buyers that they can demolish older buildings under Section 29AS of the planning scheme.
The lack of protection under a Heritage overlay leaves the nineteenth and early-mid twentieth-century houses vulnerable to inappropriate redevelopment,
including demolition of heritage buildings, subdivision into small allotments, and the erection of buildings unsympathetic to what is there.
Cornish Hill and the adjacent Precinct 14 are important components of the Central Victorian Goldfields World Heritage application being prepared by a consortium of local councils.
The Precinct retains many visual reminders of Daylesford and the former Wombat Flats gold mining history including many miners’ huts and Italian mine
managers houses. Remnant mining structures include stone footings, battery and crushing plants foundations, deep and shallow shafts, mullock heaps and underground tunnels including the longest alluvial tunnel known in Victoria to date. Cornish Hill and its associated Italian Hill to the south, possess sites and landscapes which reflect the earliest period of quartz gold mining in Australia and represent one of the richest quartz gold mining areas in Victoria.
According to studies of the historical and scientific significance of the area, the Cornish Hill Mining Precinct is one of the most intact authentic quartz gold mining sites in Victoria that displays the impact of environmental degradation resulting from early 1850s gold mining extraction techniques to those of the 1930s.
At its meeting earlier this week, Council supported a review of existing Daylesford Neighbourhood Character area and the need for application of the Heritage Overlay as part of the preparation of the Daylesford and Hepburn Springs Structure Plan.
Council is currently reviewing Town Structure Plans for towns in the Shire. A community survey on the Structure Plans remains open until 11:00 pm on Sunday, July 2.