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Minister for the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts 2001-2004

The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP

 

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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

1 July 2004

Melbourne's Royal Exhibition Building Succeeds on the World Stage


The international importance of Melbourne's Royal Exhibition Building (and Carlton Gardens), is now undisputed with its World Heritage listing today by the World Heritage Committee, Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, announced today.

"Inscription on the World's premier heritage list has made it the first building in Australia to be listed for its World Heritage values and gives Victoria it's first World Heritage place," Dr Kemp said.

"This remarkable building, listed for its importance as the last great survivor of the international exhibition movement of the late nineteenth century, joins fifteen other Australian places that are so important they must be preserved for the benefit of all the people of the world.

"While Australia's World Heritage sites are universally recognized for their natural heritage values, the Royal Exhibition Building will, hopefully, be the first in a series of significant Australian buildings to be recognized by the world for their built heritage value.

"The Royal Exhibition Building was constructed for an International Exhibition in 1880 and hosted another, the Centennial International Exhibition, in 1888.

"The exhibitions displayed to the world the coming-of-age of the prosperous and growing colonies of Australia.

"The international exhibitions brought people and ideas together on such a grand scale they helped to develop the global economy and enterprise culture that underpins modern democratic society.

"World Heritage listing of this extraordinary place recognises post-European settlement for the first time as part of Australia's rich and internationally important heritage."

The Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens, Melbourne, have been inscribed on the World Heritage List under the following Cultural Heritage Criterion that the building and gardens:

(ii) exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design.

"I'd particularly like to pay tribute to the Australian negotiating team, who fought hard despite an early setback to convince the meeting of the international significance of the exhibition movement generally, and the Royal Exhibition Building specifically," Dr Kemp said.

High-resolution photographs of the building (and gardens) and a pdf file of the Nomination of Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens, Melbourne for Inscription on the World Heritage List are available at: www.deh.gov.au/heritage/whatsnew

Commonwealth of Australia