#City & Town Planning
ACT Government

Cuppacumbalong Homestead Precinct, in Tharwa, is a significant place, listed in the ACT Heritage Register due to its historical, aesthetic, and social values. The farm was resumed by the Commonwealth of Australia in the 1970’s. In 1975 the homestead precinct was leased with the purpose to promote Australian arts and crafts.

Cuppacumbalong was a destination, with public access to the homestead, heritage gardens and picnic area, with a restaurant, an arts gallery, craft shop and artists’ studios. Part of the Tourist Drive 5, Cuppacumbalong had a national and international reputation of being one of Australia’s best arts and craft destinations.

Visitors once flocked to enjoy café fare and regional crafts in the main rooms of the majestic principal homestead. Later, shunted to outbuildings to make way for the failed reception centre, visitors’ numbers dwindled. Closing the gates indefinitely, the owner meanwhile lodged unsuccessful applications to change the homestead to domestic residential use.

Today the place is permanently closed, electric fenced, without public access, no restaurant open, no arts and craft shop or exhibitions, signs of Cuppacumbalong removed. Local, national and international visitors following the promotion still available in various tourist information sites are greatly disappointed when they find the place shut.

A new Development Application has been lodged demanding changes to the lease purpose clauses, from promoting Australian arts and crafts to operating one (or more, no guarantees) of various uses including agriculture (in previous applications the agriculture activity proposed was chicken farming), tourism, or residential accommodation linked to the other uses.

The new development application also strips the ACT government from determining public access times and to charge entry fees. (You can see the application at http://apps.actpla.act.gov.au/pubnote/pubnoteDetail_new.asp?DA_no=200915227

Public comments about the DA were invited by the ACT Land and Planning Authority until the 4th of September. We have submitted the signatures and comments as objections to the change of the lease on behalf of 150 who signed the petition by the 4th of September.

We will keep the petition going until we have an answer from ACT Planning and Land Authority.

Sign this letter and forward to people who believe this unique heritage place should continue to be publicly accessible and used for the purpose of promoting Australian arts and crafts.

We, the undersigned, wish to submit our objections to the proposed changes to the purpose of the lease of Blocks 177 and 188 Paddys River, known as Cuppacumbalong and urge the ACT government to ensure the lessee complies with the existing conditions of the lease.

The reasons for our objection are:

1. Cuppacumbalong has been close to the public for many years and does not promote Australian arts and crafts as required in its lease.

2. Cuppacumbalong Homestead is the centre of the Tharwa Craft Precinct. The changes to the purpose of the lease allow for other uses INDEPENDENTLY of the promotion of Australian arts and crafts.

3. The destruction of a heritage listed place and the potential loss of public access to a unique heritage site and charging entry fees;

4. The site is located in a non-urban zone and specifically River Corridors Zone. The changes to the lease have the potential to be detrimental to the local environment both against the rural landscape and the natural character of the landscape.

5. The potential use of agriculture only, which could see the precinct transformed into a chook farm, for example.

I urge you therefore to reject the proposed changes to the lease of Cuppacumbalong and require that the present lessee comply with the conditions of the lease.

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The Save Cuppacumbalong petition to ACT Government was written by Marily Cintra and is in the category City & Town Planning at GoPetition.