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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

5 November 2001

New Funds to Save Darwin's Ageing Fortifications

Vital restoration work will be undertaken to save the East Point Fortifications from crumbling into total disrepair, Federal Minister for Environment and Heritage Robert Hill announced today.

Senator Hill said a $149,500 Cultural Heritage grant from the Federal Government would support the Darwin City Council scheme to protect the heritage sites dating from 1932 to 1945.

"These East Point Fortification sites have played an important part in Australia's history - they were constructed by the military in an effort to reinforce Australia's defence capabilities in the north," Senator Hill said.

"Most of the sites date from the WWII period but there are some earlier fortifications that were constructed to protect naval installations and a number of sites were also constructed in the `build up' to WWII.

"Despite their proud history, age has now wearied these special sites and many are now suffering from erosion, corroding steelwork or the invasion of vegetation, rubbish, graffiti and insects."

The site is listed for its close associations with important historical events - it is the site of the first fixed defences of Darwin, built in 1932-34 as a result of the need to protect the naval oil depot. The site was further developed in the late 1930s as a result of the Japanese threat, and it was the site of the first international armed conflict on Australian soil when it was attacked in Japanese air raids on February 19, 1942.

A Conservation Plan for the East Point Fortifications has identified 40 sites in need of conservation work, ranging from large gun emplacements to the remnants of concrete footings form the many buildings once constructed in the East Point area.

"Without immediate intervention, many of these important historical sites will progressively deteriorate until they are irretrievably lost," Senator Hill said.

"The work planned by Darwin City Council means these important, heritage-listed can be protected for the future."

Monday, November 5, 2001

Media Contact:
Belinda Huppatz 0419 258364

Commonwealth of Australia