Letter to the Queensland Government and Heritage Council

June 27, 2023
Hi Birdie, and representatives in the Queensland Government and the Heritage Council,   I am gobsmacked too. I am here in this reply to formally put a public complaint and accusation to the Queensland Government of ‘playing’ cognitive games in its bureaucracy.   I can make this point as an expert in constructivist epistemology, critical heritage, […]

Hi Birdie, and representatives in the Queensland Government and the Heritage Council,

 

I am gobsmacked too. I am here in this reply to formally put a public complaint and accusation to the Queensland Government of ‘playing’ cognitive games in its bureaucracy.

 

I can make this point as an expert in constructivist epistemology, critical heritage, urban sociology, and political philosophy in community education and marketing ‘public relations’.

 

I am a very active member of the following ‘scholarly’ (I do not play ‘academic’ games) organisations:

 

  • Australia and Aotearoa NZ Public History Network
  • Australian Association for the Study of Religion
  • Australian Historical Association
  • Australian and New Zealand History of Education Society
  • Australian Policy and History Network
  • Brisbane History Group Inc.
  • Brisbane Southside History Network (BSHN, Director)
  • International Society of Intellectual History
  • International Standing Conference for the History of Education
  • Professional Historians Association (Queensland)
  • Southern Brisbane Suburban Forum (Southern Forum, President)

 

So, to the point:

 

Review of 650279_Notice of decision_Chamberlin

 

There is no clear argument on sufficiency epistemologically, as to decision making criteria for what is critical heritage sufficient.

 

Decisions on insufficiency:

 

Criterion (g) – The place has a strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group for social, cultural or spiritual reasons.
There is insufficient evidence that the place has a demonstrated length or degree of a strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group – former or present – for social, cultural or spiritual reasons.

 

I am an active member of the Australian Association for the Study of Religion (AARS) and The Australian Sociological Association (TASA). The thinking here can only be said to be nonsense. The landscape of Cairncross Graving Dock does have social, cultural or spiritual factors. If I had time and the priority, I and other colleagues would be able to write a book on the subject.

 

Criterion (h) – The place has a special association with the life or work of a particular person, group or organisation of importance in Queensland’s history.
As different aspects of the project were designed by various members of the board of engineers, or in consultation with other members, the Royal Australian Navy, and Kemp, there is insufficient evidence the place has a special association with individual members of the board.
There is insufficient evidence the place has a special association with the work of MRC, DH&M, or the AWC

 

I find the criterion and its argument, as an expert and the leading Queensland historian in these fields of knowledge, particularly critical heritage, incredibly hyper-subjective. According to epistemological theory, it cannot be credible (and trusted) by the government in the public square.

 

The Heritage Council was not satisfied that Cairncross Graving Dock satisfies criterion (g) for the following reasons:
(ii) Although it was a major Allied Works Council project and was designed and constructed by Queensland’s Main Roads Commission and Department of Harbours and Marine, there is insufficient evidence that the place has a special association with those organisations.
(iii) While the project was designed by a board of eminent Queensland engineers, there is insufficient evidence the place has a special association with these individuals.

 

The argument is set up in the irrational critique which has been critique by David Lowenthal, who shows that governments and its heritage agencies deliberately deflect the interest of the public square by creating the thinking on heritage, which in governmental policy decisions, is false and beneficial only to the narrow interests of the government of the day.

 

Similarly, this week I am attending the International Sociology Association’s world congress in Melbourne. Many, many, academic papers are demonstrating how the government is attempting to skew public debate on policy through populist movements (of both hype-left and hype-right, and the hype-ignorant centre). And this includes sessions on urban sociology.

 

I formally request from the Office of Premier, and the Heritage Council a response at the highest level of the scholarship (knowledge) and not the public relations rhetoric.

 

This is our Australian constitutional right to have intelligent replies timely delivered to Australian citizens, and state governments to stop playing political games. Public relations rhetoric is not sufficient.

 

Kind regards,

Neville.

Historian, MPHA (Qld), Ph.D. (History) UQ., Grad. Dip. Arts (Philosophy) Melb., Grad. Dip. (Education) UQ.

Featured Image: An image from the Mapping Brisbane History Project showing logical and historical regions of the Brisbane Southside.

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Neville Buch (Pronounced Book) Ph.D. is a certified member of the Professional Historians Association (Queensland). Since 2010 he has operated a sole trade business in history consultancy. He was a Q ANZAC 100 Fellow 2014-2015 at the State Library of Queensland. Dr Buch was the PHA (Qld) e-Bulletin, the monthly state association’s electronic publication, and was a member of its Management Committee. He is the Managing Director of the Brisbane Southside History Network.
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11 months ago

Thanks for pointing out the the failures of bureaucracy to the Government . The report seem to be based on If’s and buts in places. Certainly failed to realize the importance that the Dock had played during one of the biggest parts of our nations history.Brisbane was the centre of the Pacific war.