Dear Supporter and Concerned Community Member,

The Government seems intent on alienating the community from its connection and access to our history and our precious heritage icons.   In recent weeks we have seen serious threats to the fate and future of State Heritage listed Martindale Hall and Ayers House.

Martindale Hall

Environment Minister David Speirs has introduced a Bill into Parliament seeking to divert Martindale Hall, and its surrounding Conservation Park, from the protection it currently enjoys under its establishment Trust, the Heritage Places Act, and the watchful eye of the National Trust of SA.

Instead, under the proposed legislation, the Trust and the Conservation Park would be abolished, and the ‘care, control, and management’ of the Hall would be ‘vested in the Minister’.  Although the Bill provides that the uses of the Hall are determined under the Heritage Conservation Policy, it also states that ‘The State Planning Commission will be taken to be the relevant authority…..in relation to any proposed development at Martindale Hall’.   In other words the fate of the Hall will be in the hands of an unelected body; an Agency of a Government which has shown that it cannot be trusted to safeguard our heritage.

There is widespread public concern about the implications of this Bill.  I believe that the Minister is unaware of the widespread opinion in favour of the retention of safeguards for Martindale Hall, and of the public support for an enhanced role for the National Trust in conserving and enhancing the property as a major tourist attraction.

Last week, the Government’s bill narrowly passed the Lower House and may be considered in the Legislative Council as early as next week. Now, only a vote of the Legislative Council against the bill can stop it from removing key protections for Martindale Hall as a community asset.  I encourage you to contact the non-government members of the Legislative Council to prevent the passage of this Bill.

Ayers House

The recent announcement of the Government’s proposed takeover of Ayers House raises many concerns about its future as a heritage asset for all South Australians.  We are faced with the alarming prospect of 50 years of National Trust stewardship of the House being abrogated and replaced by a tenancy ceded to a bureaucratic Government Agency, the History Trust, as its headquarters and administrative centre.

The manner in which the Government effected its appropriation of the future of Ayres House was as offensive as it was cruel.  The National Trust Executive received a hand-delivered eviction notice from Minister Speirs via his Departmental Head. This required the House to be vacated within 31 days.

I am concerned that this extraordinary action by the Minister is a vindictive response to the campaign by the National trust to safeguard Martindale Hall in the face of his proposed legislation.

It is vital that the ongoing lease of Ayers House should reside with the National Trust of SA which is the pre-eminent guardian of our history and heritage.

We are seeing increasing evidence that the Government and its administrative arms cannot be trusted in this role.

A Call to Action

I urge you to act now to help protect these two heritage icons and to safeguard their place in the public domain as tourism hubs within our community and for the many interstate and overseas visitors they will continue to attract.

You can help protect our precious heritage icons by contacting your State Member of Parliament, by downloading and sharing the petition to Parliament in respect of Martindale Hall or by signing and sharing the Ayers House online petition.

The National Trust is inviting everyone to special open days at the Ayers House Museum this weekend 10am-4pm.  Admission is free by you are required to pre-register for Covid-rule compliance.  Register here and come and see what is at risk of being lost.

Thank you for your interest and support.

Yours sincerely

Warren Jones AO

Ask the Legislative Council to say no to privatising Martindale Hall  

Please write to members of the Legislative Council  and ask them to oppose the Government’s bill to allow the privatisation of Martindale Hall.Download a list of State MP contacts

Professor Warren Jones AO is the Convenor of the Protect our Heritage Alliance, a coalition of concerned organisations and individuals, working to protect our built and natural environment.   GPO Box 2021 Adelaide, SA 5001

Phone: 0419 852 622 

Email: convenor@protectourheritage.org.au

Web: www.protectourheritage.org.au     

 Facebook: protectourheritageSA

As part of the Significant Tree List review, there is an opportunity for residents to nominate potential NEW trees for the Significant Tree List. 

As you are aware, any tree meeting the Regulated or Significant Trees criteria are automatically protected under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016. To supplement this, the City of Unley Significant Tree List allows for highlighting particular special trees, irrespective of truck circumference, in addition to those generally protected (ie circumference greater than 3.0 metres). Historically the list was contained in Table Un/9 of the Development Plan and has now transitioned into Part 10 – Significant Trees (Unley) of the Planning and Design Code.

The Significant Tree List was last updated in the Development Plan in 2002.  The current review is part of a 2 stage project to initially review and update the list to support a future Planning and Design Code Amendment (Part 10 – Significant Trees (Unley)).

The nomination of new trees, as well as assessment of the existing list of trees, is part of the Stage 1 scope of works. As you may be aware, we have consultants already auditing the existing tree listings and updating details including photos, location (including GPS coordinates) and assessment against PDI Act criteria. 

The call out for nominations has been posted on the web-site, provided to Your-Say-Unley community and communicated to other pertinent local community organisations.

The link below provides further information on the assessment and code amendment process:


A simple online form is available for residents to nominate a tree.

All nominations will need assessment against the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act criteria regarding the merit for listing. Subject to the number of nominations received, it may take some time to resolve the final proposed list. Once a final list is compiled, the next steps for progressing a Code Amendment can be considered.

Dear Supporter and Concerned Community Member

new BILL providing greater protection for State Heritage has been introduced into state parliament.  It will require any alteration, partial destruction or demolition of State Heritage buildings or items to be approved by parliament, with transgressions attracting a penalty of $120,000.

We welcome this Bill as an expression of the increasing community concern about the threats to our precious heritage.  The recent extensive public backlash against the Government’s plan to demolish the State Heritage listed Waite Gatehouse Lodge was a hallmark in both the recognition and valuing of heritage by the community, and a warning that vigilance and strong legislation have become necessary to protect these important components of our history and lived amenity.

There are a number of State- listed items currently under threat, and the weakening of heritage protection under the new Planning and Design Code highlights the imperative to establish a codified structure to send a clear message to the community and to developers that our State Heritage is untouchable.

I urge you to support this proposed legislation by contacting and lobbying your MPs to vote for this Bill in both chambers of parliament. 

You can download a list of MP contacts here.Parliamentarians should be aware that heritage protection now has a high profile in the community and will undoubtedly be an Election issue in March 2022.Thank you for your interest and support.

Yours sincerely
Warren Jones AO 

Ask your State MP to stand up for our heritage Please write to your State MP  and ask them to support the bill to properly protect our State Heritage places.  Download a list of State MP contacts 

Professor Warren Jones AO is the Convenor of the Protect our Heritage Alliance, a coalition of concerned organisations and individuals, working to protect our built and natural environment.   

GPO Box 2021 Adelaide, SA 5001
Phone: 0419 852 622 
Email: convenor@protectourheritage.org.auwww.protectourheritage.org.au       
Facebook: protectourheritageSA 

The Committee of Management urges you to attend the History Week presentation entitled “If Mr. Whistler Could See Unley Now- Architecture-in Unley” on Thursday 27th May in the Town Hall from 7pm-8pm.  https://www.unley.sa.gov.au/Eventbrite/LIB-21-05-Architecture-in-Unley138552709885

The session will focus on the variety of architectural styles in Unley. Thomas Whistler received a land grant in 1834 which he used to establish the various villages of Hyde Park, Unley, and Unley Park. A person with enlightened beliefs about healthy communities he made grants of land to establish a school, now Unley school, a church now St. Augustine’s, a green space for the enjoyment of all the people now Unley Oval as well as land for council offices. Bookings via Eventbrite.

Focus works to protect the history and amenity of Unley and this presentation will add to our knowledge about Unley. Please find details with booking instructions in the enclosed flyer.

The Committee will not hold a May public meeting . The next public meeting will be our AGM on September the 14th.

Philip Henschke President

Dear Supporters and Concerned Community Members

We have just seen a week of significant events for urban planning, the environment and heritage in South Australia.

First, Minister Corey Wingard made a long-overdue announcement on the fate of the Waite Gatehouse Lodge.   Given that, fourteen months ago, the Government, and indeed the University, were prepared to see this State Heritage building consigned to landfill, the decision, now, to save it from demolition must be seen as a win for a seriously concerned community.

Remember that, in a relatively short intensive campaign, 18,000 signatures were gathered on an on-line petition, 8,000 on a paper petition, and more than 1,000 people attended the second of two effective community rallies.  To all of you who supported the campaign, I say a heartfelt thanks for your interest and efforts.

It seems clear that the Government was forced to make an ill-formed but welcome decision through fear of the hard-copy petition reaching beyond its required target of 10,000 within a couple of weeks, mandating its formal consideration by the Legislative Review Committee, the Minister and the parliament.

This process would have revealed the ineptitude, misinformation and confusion imposed on this important public issue by the Minister and his Department.   As it is, the decision to deconstruct and reconstruct the Gatehouse on another site in the campus will likely cost no less than relocation of the intact building which, undoubtedly, was the preferred and safer option.

The Government will now wish to expedite the Gatehouse deconstruction /decommission to allow the road intersection project to meet deadlines.  Once this is done, there will be no clear imperative or urgency to efficiently and safely relocate and reconstruct the building.

For this reason, the Gatehouse Campaign team will closely monitor developments.  We will insist that the Gatehouse reconstruction is accurate, creating like for like, using the original materials and retaining its State Heritage status.  Anything less than this will be met with a new and vigorous public campaign.

The other major milestone was the implementation of the Phase 3 (metropolitan) of the new Planning and Design Code.   This marked the culmination of six years of political and bureaucratic bumbling, and a massive budget blowout.   The process was marked by endless revisions and delays and a manifesto that grew from 3,000 to 9,000 hard copy pages with the overall documentation totalling 75,000 paper and electronic pages. This is to be compared with the average of 700 pages which previously encompassed the planning process in local Councils.

The construction of the Code was developer- driven, lacked transparency and failed to adhere to the Community Engagement Charter mandated under the new legislation.  Eighteen community organisations have expressed their concern about the lack of genuine consultation in an open letter to the Planning Minister.

The Government has ignored or failed to address issues of community participation, rights of appeal, poor quality infill, suburban high rise, loss of heritage, trees and green space and the impacts of climate change.

Once again, this Alliance and the community at large will monitor the impacts of the Code on our heritage and lived environment as it is rolled out and will call the Government to account if and when our negative predictions are realised.

On the day the Code ‘went live’, the Chair of the State Planning Commission, Michael Lennon resigned.  The reasons for his resignation are unclear, but it is possible that he doesn’t want to live with the practical consequences of the new Code.   He disappears having presided over an inefficient, lengthy, convoluted and confusing saga which will leave its disturbing legacy on the South Australian community for decades to come.

On the same day that the Code was implemented, the Premier launched his Election campaign with the announcement of a massive, insensitive and unnecessary $700 million development on the riverbank.   And the forum for this announcement was a Property Council luncheon.   This says it all about the Government’s priorities and the pivotal role of the building and development industries in determining the formulation and intent of the Code.

Yours sincerely

Warren Jones AO

Professor Warren Jones AO is the Convenor of the Protect our Heritage Alliance, a coalition of concerned organisations and individuals, working to protect our built and natural environment.   GPO Box 2021 Adelaide, SA 5001

Phone: 0419 852 622  Email: convenor@protectourheritage.org.au

www.protectourheritage.org.au       Facebook: protectourheritageSA

Dear Supporters and Concerned Community Members

The latest public letter from Minister Corey Wingard on the Waite Gatehouse is an alarming mix of misinformation and threats. The time has come to call-out the Minister and his Government for promulgating this distasteful and dishonest material to a public that is now well informed of the true situation.

The massive enlargement of the Cross/Fullarton intersection can be exposed as an unnecessary and contrived infrastructure folly initiated by pork barrel funding from the Federal government at the 2019 election. The result of this $61 million venture will be an insignificant influence on traffic flow, but increased congestion further north and south on Fullarton Rd.

The Government has made much of the ‘improved safety’ of the new intersection based on its apparent concern about 35 reported crashes in the five years to 2019. This equates to an incidence of one crash per 2.92 million vehicle movements through the intersection; hardly cause for alarm, or indeed for over-reaction.

The Government maintains that 70 trees will be sacrificed if the Gatehouse is to be re-located. This is irrelevant and misleading. Certainly, trees will be lost in the process of creating the east-west left- hand turn slip lanes on Cross Road, but no mature trees will be destroyed if the Gatehouse is moved by the route and to the site preferred by the University.

In attempting to abrogate its responsibility for the fate of the Gatehouse, the Government has proposed financial arrangements with the University which are cynical and unworkable. The offer of $2 million from a heritage fund, thereby depriving other worthy projects of support, is a blatant attempt to wedge the University if it, quite reasonably, refuses the offer.

In addition, the suggestion that $2 million in land acquisition compensation be used for the Gatehouse re-location is a hoax, since the Government is well aware that the University, by Statute, is prevented from using this money for anything other than teaching and research.

And, finally, the intention of the Minister and his Department to apply to the State Commission Assessment Panel for permission to demolish the Gatehouse is a provocative threat aimed at pressuring the University and the community at large to capitulate in their democratic and responsible process and campaign to save the Gatehouse.

This whole issue is a no-brainer. The Government must not and cannot demolish the historic State Heritage listed Waite Gatehouse Lodge. If it intends to persist with the politically-motivated imperative to unnecessarily and massively widen the Cross Rd/Fullarton Rd intersection, then it must, immediately, commit to funding and managing the re-location of the Gatehouse, to a site determined by the University.

The relevant Ministers and Cabinet must, by now, be well aware of the breadth and depth of community support for this South Australian icon. They can no longer ignore the rapidly increasing numbers of signatories to the Online Petition (18,000) and hard copy petition to Parliament (7000) which will escalate to a threatening groundswell of public backlash in the looming pre-Election year.

The Premier and his Government should be in no doubt about the Electoral sensitivity of this issue. It will not go away. Further delay of a public commitment to the preservation and re-location of the Gatehouse is unacceptable.

Yours Sincerely
Warren Jones AO

Tell your State MP to stop the destruction

Please write to your State MP and ask them to stop the destruction of the Waite Gatehouse. The Transport Minister Corey Wingard needs to find a better solution.

Download a list of State MP contacts

Professor Warren Jones AO is the Convenor of the Protect our Heritage Alliance, a coalition of concerned organisations and individuals, working to protect our built and natural environment. GPO Box 2021 Adelaide, SA 5001

Phone: 0419 852 622

Email: convenor@protectourheritage.org.au


Facebook: protectourheritageSA

In attempting to save us from ‘NIMBYism’ and ‘fruitless sentimentality’ with the forthcoming implementation of the new planning system, David Penberthy offers mixed messages (The Advertiser 12/2/21). On the one hand, he approves of high rise suburban residential development in Adelaide, but on the other, decries the tenement towers now common in Sydney suburbs. He rejects the ‘excessive and unsightly growth’ in Sydney and Melbourne, and wants ‘better designed smaller homes’.

In 2019, members of a long established community group were labelled ‘NIMBYists’ by your columnist for opposing a high rise development on Unley Rd. This was a State (SCAP) approved seven storey development in a Council-designated five storey zone, which required the destruction of five mature trees.

We are now confronted by an ugly monolith abutting the footpath of a main road and a small side street, with no open space or greening, with a major shortfall of on-site car parks and with disruptive impacts on traffic, rubbish collection and other services.
This sort of excessive development, which circumvents Council controls and community wishes, will be more common with the State-sanctioned, Planning and Design Code to be implemented on March 19.

Surely the Government can create a balance between essential housing needs and restricted urban sprawl, and the temptation to despoil our unique and beautiful city with unrestrained crowded infill and suburban high rise development.

Warren Jones
Convenor. Protect our Heritage Alliance

Thanks for the opportunity to speak with you this evening. Whilst you all look like friendly sorts, and I’m not generally a nervy type, I have to confess to feeling less than optimal facing a room full of people with your track record. There must be a cumulative total of hundreds of years of protecting heritage directly in front of me – I hope you’ll forgive me any nerves!

To start, let me run you over the route of a Hills Freeway proposal:

Proposed to be part of a new route between the South Eastern Freeway and the CBD, the route begins ” in the city, curves out through College Park and St Peters, then cuts a swathe through Norwood, Rose Park, Myrtle Bank and Urrbrae, slicing through Peter Waite’s paddock before following the Belair Road on a new route through the Adelaide Hills.”

This was one of several freeway proposals from the MATS plan. I don’t know whether to be relieved that this was shelved or horrified that this is obviously how “they” in DPTI, DIT or its equivalent have always worked. This new route through the hills would have roughly paralleled Sheoak and Charlicks Roads to join the Princes Highway at Crafers.

So, to the gatehouse!

You’re no doubt aware that it was built as the gatehouse to Urrbrae estate in 1890 and state heritage listed – not only is it a significant building in terms of the role it played in the Urrbrae estate, but it is one of only a few Gothic revival buildings in Adelaide. The Arboretum too, is state heritage listed, quite literally an invaluable scientific resource. All of the trees there survive solely on rainfall and are great examples of what grows well in our tough Adelaide climate. I would encourage you, if you haven’t already done so, to download the Waite arboretum app and take yourself on one of the guided tours it proposes, or join one of the guided tours they run on the first Sunday of every month, COVID permitting. Not only are the trees awe-inspiring – many of them are more than one hundred years old – but from deep inside the arboretum you have absolutely no idea that you are in fact on land surrounded by busy main roads. Maybe that’s why DIT always wants to take out big old trees, as they can go a long way towards helping us forget that THEY exist! Read more …

Help save the Waite Gatehouse. Download and send the letter to members of State parliament. Contact Joanna Wells

George Morgan. Great great grandson of Peter Waite

(Based on a public address given on the Waite Campus on 31st January 2021)

My name is George Morgan, and I speak on behalf of the 53 living relatives of pastoralist and State benefactor, Peter Waite. I wish to pose a question on behalf of these descendants.

Who are these people who wish to annex this land and raze the State heritage listed Gatehouse Lodge, an integral part of my great great grandfather Peter Waite’s legacy to South Australia?

Throughout my life I have driven past the Waite Institute. As children we were reminded that our ancestor’s bequest had created this agricultural Research Station. We have all visited the Urrbrae House museum many times, and are proud of the achievements and legacy of Peter and Matilda Waite.

Who are these people that would ransack this legacy? Did they, too, not wonder what is this place, as they were driven past the tilled fields and swaying crops, here deep in suburbia? In addition to the bequest of land and money for the Research Institute, there was the establishment of the Arboretum, a marvellous library of trees, aimed at assessing their viability in South Australian conditions, and as an ongoing botanical resource.

Who are these people who fail to recognise the intrinsic value of public gardens, parks and trees? For us, a plant is a source of constant satisfaction and a public park a site where imagination can take flight and soar.

Who are these people and how did they learn to see a park as nothing at all, if not something to be sold, privatised and covered in bitumen and cement?

Peter Waite believed in future prosperity being driven by science, and the technologies that spun out of research. He recognised that feeding the world was a worthy ambition, and he wanted to be instrumental in an improved and abundant food production utilising the experimental crop facility in the Research Institute.

He loved new adaptive technologies. In the early 1900s he installed the first refrigeration unit in the State, and his daughters drove an electric car powered by batteries made of iron.

Who are these people whose vision for the future goes only so far as to lay down bitumen so that traffic may wait ten seconds less? Are there not more imaginative solutions at hand in this modern world?

The Waite Research Institute clearly had an educational role, just as has the Urrbrae High School which was created on land and with funding from the Waite bequest.

For Peter Waite, the education of women was important, and, with others, he was instrumental in creating Seymour College, so that girls from city and country could enjoy and value opportunities for a good education.

Peter Waite had a vision spawned by post-reformation European enlightenment and contributing to the future of the State, its people and the nation. A vision of education as a priority, of scientific endeavor for the betterment of humanity, and of parks and open space for public amenity, curiosity and pleasure.

This is a vision, not based on last week’s election speech, not on yesterday’s press release spun by media dissemblers, but on action, generosity and a gift to the State over 100 years ago.

This vision is what created the South Australia where people aspire to live and thrive. A hopeful and creative vision that created the economic, political and cultural world we enjoy today. The citizens of South Australia are all the descendants of Peter Waite’s legacy.

But, again, who are these people who would despoil this legacy? They are our elected representatives and their bureaucratic machines. Have they forgotten, or did not realise, that they too are the custodians and beneficiaries of Peter Waite’s vision?

To demolish the Waite Gatehouse, to annex land from the park and the school, is an act of vandalism that defiles the very best and most admirable of South Australia’s history.

Who are these people who seek to do this?


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