The Centre for Heritage at Oatlands is an initiative of the Southern Midlands Council that focuses on:
- The restoration and conservation of heritage buildings and assets for viable use and re-use within sound conservation principles and frameworks;
- The education and training of traditional skills and crafts both accredited and non accredited; and
- Integration of trades, professional and academic knowledge and skills to ensure heritage buildings are used, valued and interpreted to enable their ongoing contribution and sustainability.
The Centre for Heritage has two branches:
- Heritage Building Solutions focusing on providing building services that result in the viable use and adaption/re-use of heritage buildings and as appropriate coordinating integrated professional services; and
- The Heritage Education and Skills Centre focusing on the provision of heritage education and training, together with associated research.
The Southern Midlands Municipality includes many examples of 19th Century architecture from grand old homesteads to convict built cottages. The town of Oatlands has Australia’s largest intact colonial townscape and collection of military, administrative, industrial and residential buildings. The surrounding farming landscape of the Southern Midlands is characterised by remnants of the convict probation system and large pastoral holdings, some with intact examples of colonial homesteads and outbuildings and others with many buildings in varying states of disrepair.
Recognising its unique heritage attributes and the challenges in maintaining such public and private assets, the Southern Midlands Council has for over a decade, been consistently working towards a more integrated strategic approach to heritage management. The council was motivated to develop this business because of its strategic objective of building on its heritage base to generate employment and business growth and because of its large stock of heritage assets requiring conservation and restoration work.