DRAFT Submission to the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust

The following are elements of the PNGAA Draft Submission to the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust with regard to the former ASOPA site.

Many members will be concerned about recognition of ASOPA and those who passed through it and the possible extension of the work done there in the modern Pacific region.  Some may be interested in the latest developments by the Harbour Trust regarding the old ASOPA site.

On 14th March, the Trust released the Middle Head/ Gubbuh Gubbuh Draft Master Plan.  It allows for public consultation and feedback until 9th May, 2023.

The Master Plan and the portal for lodging submissions can be found at:  https://consult.dcceew.gov.au/middle-head-gubbuh-gubbuh-draft-master-plan

A relatively comprehensive submission is being prepared on behalf of the PNGAA. In the meantime, those who might be interested in making an individual submission to the Harbour Trust, through the above link, might find some of the following points of use:

  • PNGAA is dismayed that the Master Plan’s failure to build upon past recognition of the singular heritage values associated with interpreting aspects of the ASOPA story;
  • Since July 2021, the Harbour Trust has dropped PNGAA as stakeholders for purposes of consultative planning about the interpretive themes integral to ASOPA and successor institutions’ presence at Middle Head for 52 years;
  • Those who visited Middle Head recently are disappointed to find how poorly the signage covers the ASOPA story;
  • PNGAA will ask the Harbour Trust to retract the Master Plan’s identification and prioritisation of only three cultural heritage values for Middle Head: First Nations, Military and Natural Environment. Wrongly, that proposal excludes two other Interpretative themes adopted in 2018, the ASOPA Story and Public Pleas for Protection.
  • Cultural heritage values and visions of place, the interpretive themes, must be soundly based in the histories and ethos of the precinct. Those histories correspond with the Interpretation Strategy They are:
  • Aboriginal First Nations history and stories;
  • Defence of Sydney in the 19th century;
  • Defence of Australia in the 20th century;
  • The ASOPA Story: development training schools, research and alumni extensions;
  • Public campaigns to secure the Headland as public domain, and to prevent its privatisation.
  • PNGAA will ask to be restored as a stakeholder for purposes of consultation about planning for Middle head in accordance with legislation binding the Trust;
  • PNGAA will ask the Trust to establish a stakeholder connection sufficiently resourced to ensure that the digital outreach about the ASOPA related interpretative theme is sufficiently well-informed.
  • The Trust should abandon the elements of the Masterplan that over-emphasise the “military village” functional attributes. That vision is to be centred upon a yet to be unearthed former parade ground, (in fact built between 1955 and 1961 and long buried under a car park) and the 19th century defensive ditch across part of the NPWS sector;
  • ‘The ASOPA Story’: covers development training schools, research and alumni extensions; aspects elaborated upon in numerous earlier PNGAA representations.
  • PNGAA will resubmit principles and supporting rationale of past representations.


Worked for Burns Philp in Popondetta and Port Moresby from 1980 through 1987

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