Heritage registration to uncover history of North West Stock Route
Historical treasures could soon be discovered along the North West Stock Route, a key pathway to the earliest stock routes in WA.
The North West Stock Route was in use from the 1850s, following parts of the original Old North Road to Geraldton, extending from Star Swamp in Perth’s North Beach to the Allanooka Swamp in the Shire of Irwin.
The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage is now working to add the route to the State Heritage Register.
The route includes a series of wells, homesteads, natural water bodies, bridges and crossing points.
It represents the beginning of Colonial development of the land, taking away water sources that had been used for up to 40,000 years by the Yamatji and Noongar people.
According to the Heritage Council, the route also provides a physical reminder of the “incredible difficulties” of droving stock through uncleared land in the 19th century.
The Heritage Council believes the route has the archaeological potential to “shed light on the lives and activities of early drovers, travellers and those who settled along the route”.
If the route is entered into the heritage registry, it would mean major changes to it would have to be approved by the Department.
The registration will also open funding opportunities for conservation works.
The Shire of Mingenew this week voted to tell the Department it remained opposed to its section of the route being added to the register.
Staff had advised councillors that putting the route on the register would require works on it to be referred to the Department for assessment and advice.
Sites along the route in Mingenew include Yandanooka West Road, Mingenew South Road and the Victoria Road reserves.
“Significant works within the road reserve, such as sealing, installation of culverts, realignment, intersection widening/improvements, earthworks and erection of bulky structures, would require referral to (the Department),” the staff report said.
Shire staff were particularly concerned about the impact the new rules would have on the local airstrip.
The entire airstrip was going to be a part of the reserve but after negotiations this was limited to the Mingenew South Road reserve.
But staff have warned that this would still mean that any works between the airstrip and the carriageway would require referral to the Department.
The registration would not affect privately-owned land within the Shire.
A Department spokesman said inclusion on the register did not prevent change.
“But it is important that change is carried out in a way that does not have a negative impact on cultural significance,” he said.
“Local governments can contact the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage to discuss any referrals they receive that might impact the Stock Route to confirm if they may be exempt.”
If the route is added to the heritage list, it would be the second listed site in the Shire after the Mingenew Police Group.
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