Heritage Engineering Resources

From Engineering Heritage Australia

Guidelines

In September 2023 EHA published An Engineers Guide to the Conservation of Australia's Engineering Heritage. This document replaces the Engineering Heritage & Conservation Guidelines 2009 document which was based on the Burra Charter. As the Burra Charter is focussed on immovable and tangible items (physical structures), the 2009 Guidelines document did not adequately recognise and provide guidance for intangible and movable engineering items.

The aim of this new Guide is to assist engineers, when working on either a built item or its intangible heritage, in assessing the significance of the item and its components; and in devising a course of action to achieve conservation of the significant elements of the item. It provides guidance to engineers working on all types of heritage, either individually or with other heritage professionals and custodians. While it respects the various principles and processes used by different heritage sectors (e.g., architects, museum curators and heritage regulators) it focuses on the special interest that engineers have in conserving our engineering and industrial knowledge.

The concept for this document was initiated by Peter Spratt and was further developed by a sub-committee of Engineering Heritage Australia (EHA) led by Bruce Cole. Other members were Neil Hogg, Dick Baird, Richard Muncey and Tony Moodie. The document is now an essential reference for the Engineering Heritage Recognition Program and for the Heritage Engineering courses jointly developed by Engineering Heritage Australia and the University of Canberra.

The document is available for download from the Engineers Australia website.

Practice Notes

Engineers Australia receives many requests from Engineers and others for advice and help on assessing items and works for their cultural heritage significance and for conserving those which are considered to be of heritage significance. Appropriate and successful assessment and subsequent conservation often require specific expertise which can only be adequately provided by engineers. Heritage Engineering applies engineering expertise to heritage works and the Practice Notes use a broad application of the principles of the Burra Charter.

As an example, buildings are regarded by the general public as primary heritage works due largely to Architects and the National Trust. However the conservation of those buildings requires knowledge of the basic science of materials and their performance is dependent on knowledge of their attributes, their weaknesses their strengths and how best to use and protect them. The process additionally requires, to name examples, knowledge of structures, of the environment, of geology, of chemistry, of hydraulics and of construction techniques. They include the disintegrating processes of weathering, corrosion, chemical and electrolytic reactions. Public safety is an important consideration.

The scope of relevant knowledge extends to where the technology used fits into the evolution of technique, design and construction, and to the people involved in each of these. The approach is applicable to all works involving technology. The works cover buildings, machines, both fixed and movable, constructions such as dams and reservoirs, electricity generation and applications, communications, treatment and manufacturing plants and equipment, bridges, railways etc. They may include ideas, concepts, processes or new technology but assessment of their heritage value must always include their basic science, their evolution, their social impact and the people involved.

The Practice Notes use these concepts. They are arranged in a progressive order of first establishing principles and philosophy then moving on to specific examples. The list has been prepared on the basis of a logical progression from stating what engineering heritage means to how to assess, on to how to conserve - what it is, what to do and how to do it. The individual Notes are built on this basis and more Notes will be progressively added for specific topics.

Note # Title
Practice Note 1 EVALUATION OF ENGINEERING HERITAGE
Practice Note 2 ASSESSMENT OF ENGINEERING HERITAGE ITEMS
Practice Note 3 CONSERVATION OF ENGINEERING HERITAGE ITEMS
Practice Note 4 ASSESSMENT OF AN INDUSTRIAL SITE
Practice Note 5 ASSESSMENT AND CONSERVATION OF AN INDUSTRIAL HERITAGE ITEM
Practice Note 6 ASSESSMENT AND CONSERVATION OF A TIMBER BUILDING
Practice Note 7 ASSESSMENT AND CONSERVATION OF MOVABLE HERITAGE
Practice Note 8 CONSERVING A WHEELED STEAM ENGINE
Practice Note 9 INTERPRETATION OF AN ENGINEERING HERITAGE ITEM

Other

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