Changing Heritage, Changing Values, Memories of Two World Wars in the Barossa Valley
Leader-Elliott, Lynette Frances
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The concept of cultural heritage has changed significantly since the 1970s, when the first formal systems for registering and protecting heritage places were set up at national and state level in Australia. It has expanded to include the less powerful groups in society as well as dominant groups and the vernacular, commonplace and recent as well as the grand and ‘old’. Social value has emerged as a criterion in heritage identification, opening possibilities for more inclusive assessment and listings. Social value is particularly relevant at local level and has influenced new recommendations for local heritage listings for twentieth century war memorials (monuments, halls and sculpture) in the Barossa Valley in South Australia. During World War I, Barossa German communities were suspected of disloyalty and persecuted. Discrimination against this community in World War II was present but less severe. Barossa men from German backgrounds fought with the Australian armed forces in both wars. Some were killed. World War I memorials, including three town halls, were built in the 1920s when the memories of persecution and ostracism were fresh. Claiming full rights as Australian citizens was important for the self-respect and Australian identity of the Barossa German community. Additional plaques and some extensions were added to the memorials following World War II. Applying predominantly architectural criteria has excluded from State and National heritage registers these memorials to events which profoundly affected the community. A recent local heritage survey recommends that several Barossa war memorials be included in a local heritage register for their social and historical value. Their formal local heritage listing will acknowledge their cultural significance to the community and provide a mechanism for conservation and management through the Development Plan.