The Bennelong Putney Project

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 The Bennelong Putney Project draws extensively on the work of the Australian historian Dr Keith Vincent Smith, and Dr Peter Mitchell OAM who pinpointed the location of Bennelong’s grave in 2011 as a member of the Ryde City Council Heritage Advisory Committee. More 



Bennelong Putney Project Committee Members


Uncle Allen Madden (Gadigal elder and member of Sydney Metro Land Council)

Uncle Charles “Chicka” Madden (Gadigal elder)

Uncle Raymond Davison (Gadigal elder and member of Sydney Metro Land Council)

Mr Des Madden, representative of Gadigal elders

Ms Jody Orcher (Ualarai/Barkandji woman, community rep, and cultural heritage expert)

Prof. Shane Houston (Gangulu man, and Indigenous education expert)

Ms Rhoda Roberts (Bundjalung woman and former Sydney Festival Director)

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Mr Peter King, Inaugural Chairman, Director of Bennelong Putney Project (Ltd)

Dr Peter Mitchell OAM (Environmental scientist)

Hon Anthony Roberts MP, NSW (Liberal) Member for Lane Cove,

Mr John Alexander OAM MP, Federal (Liberal) Member for Bennelong,

Clr Jerome Laxale (Labor) Mayor of Ryde,

Clr Christopher Gordon (Greens, Ryde City Council Heritage Advisory Committee)

Mr Robbie Waterhouse, Descendant of an aide to Governor Phillip Henry Waterhouse.


Adam Joseph (Convenor, Committee Secretary, non-voting member, )


External Advisory Board and Project Ambassadors


Hon Bruce Baird AM (former NSW deputy Liberal Party leader, and champion of Aboriginal cultural heritage)

Mr John Morse AM (former Australian Tourist Commission chief, former board member National Museum)

Mr Warren Mundine AO (Chairman, Prime Minister’s Aboriginal Advisory Council)

Ms Karen Mundine (CEO, Reconciliation Australia)

Greg Daniel AM (KPMG Partner, and former head of Marketing Sydney Olympic Bid Committee)

Mr Rodger Powell (CEO, Tourism and Hospitality Services Australia)

Mr Graham “Buzz” Bidstrup (CEO, Uncle Jimmy Thumbs Up Ltd, an Aboriginal nutrition education charity)

Mr Dwayne Mallard (WA Native Title Claim Chairman, CEO Arjaway Consulting)

His Excellency Abel Guterres, Dean of the Canberra Diplomatic Corps and Ambassador for East Timor

Mr Adrian Chek, Partner of Allens-Linklaters law firm.

Ms Alex Hunter, Manager Quadrant Australia (agritourism specialists)

His Excellency the Hon George Brandis QC, Australian High Commissioner to London


Patron


Hon Dr Brendan Nelson AO 



[WHAT’S NEXT?]

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Bennelong’s grave is a profoundly important site for all Australians.  We will not rush into any action that may diminish the location’s potential as a key ‘Reconciliation activation site’.

While the property is already zoned for use as a community centre, we understand that those who decided to buy or lease residential property nearby would have been attracted by ample street parking, tranquility, and other amenity.   To ensure we minimize disturbance to their lifestyles, we will limit public access to individual busses of school excursion groups, and a handful of ‘open days’ each year.  Beyond this, the public’s main interaction with 25 Watson Street will be remotely (through the use of digital and other means):

A documentary film is currently under production to trace the journey of the Bennelong Putney Project Committee, and the Bennelong Putney Project (Ltd)

Our committee is considering replanting the same heirloom variety of oranges that James Squire planted on that site over 2 centuries ago.  We may enhance this with the addition of an AR/VR (augmented reality/virtual reality) experience, which would 

allow visitors to 

see how the entire Squire farm once looked (its orange grove, its pear plantation and its apple trees, its hops and its market garden including maize, cabbages, and other vegetables).

Listen to the ‘soundscape’ recording of Kissing Point Tribe members speaking their traditional language as they would have over 2 Centuries ago

From 3rd January 2020 (the 207th anniversary of Bennelong’s death) a public lecture – the inaugural “Bennelong Oration” -- will be delivered (either at Bennelong Park or Cleves Park in Putney, or at the Sydney Opera House).  Each year a notable Australian will reflect on Bennelong’s legacy.  

We will avail ourselves of “moveable cultural heritage” provisions in legislation.  It allows us to take video presentations and priceless artefacts ‘on the road’ (visiting schools, regional town halls and museums Australia wide).  25 Watson Street will largely be used as a secure ‘base’ for our bus, and to store artefacts (the Waterhouse collection).


With “stage one” complete, the Bennelong Putney Project Committee now faces our next set of challenges:


Raise an estimated $1,200,000.00 from voluntary public donations to undertake renovations on the dwelling and landscaping of the grounds;

Hold a facilitated workshop for committee to decide how the front yard, back yard, and dwelling, should most sensibly transformed;

Present our shared vision to the government’s steering committee (which is established to assist us in avoiding unintended consequences, and in complying with raft of legislative requirements)

Put the results out for public comment (prior to 29th April 2020) and seeking input from the Australian community

Draft a plan of management for the property (drawing also on existing plans for similar historic sites such as Elizabeth Farm)

Open the site for (limited) public use prior to 3rd January 2021


Bennelong’s grave is a profoundly important site for all Australians.  We will not rush into any action that may diminish the location’s potential as a key ‘Reconciliation activation site’.


While the property is already zoned for use as a community centre, we have a moral  obligations to those who own neighbouring properties, and those who live in the surrounding suburb.  Their parking availability, tranquility, and other amenity, must also be respected.   To that end, we are actively considering limited public use (by one bus load only of school children, under supervision, per day, and an ‘open day’ for the general public periodically).  The public’s main interaction with 25 Watson Street will be remotely (through the use of digital and other means):


A documentary film is currently under production to trace the journey of the Bennelong Putney Project Committee, and the Bennelong Putney Project (Ltd)

Thanks to Google and New Horizons/Parallel Parks, we may also provide an AR/VR (augmented reality/virtual reality) experience.  A typical school excursion group would look at the same heirloom variety oranges that James Squire planted on that site over 2 centuries ago and then:

see how the entire Squire farm once looked (its orange grove, its pear plantation and its apple trees, its hops and its market garden including maize, cabbages, and other vegetables).

Listen to the ‘soundscape’ recording of Kissing Point Tribe members speaking their traditional language as they would have over 2 Centuries ago

From 3rd January 2021 (the 207th anniversary of Bennelong’s death) a public lecture “The Bennelong Oration” will be delivered (either at Putney, or the Sydney Opera House) by a notable Australian

We are also actively planning to take advantage of “moveable cultural heritage” provisions in legislation.  This means taking video presentations and priceless artefacts ‘on the road’, visiting schools, regional town halls and museums.  25 Watson Street will largely be used as a secure ‘base’ for our bus, and for our foundation collection of artefacts (the Waterhouse collection)


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