40 sheds and 40 kilometres: a heritage tourism project

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Derrett, R & St Vincent Welch, J 2001, '40 sheds and 40 kilometres: a heritage tourism project', Making tracks: Australia International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), Australia ICOMOS, Burwood, Vic.


A project recording an image based interpretive educational program informing regional communities of the potential for preservation of important historical farm buildings has stimulated a great deal of interest. This paper reflects on the project which identified a distinctive series of iconic farm buildings along the New South Wales Pacific Highway for their heritage value and developed a tourist route to promote them to visitors and residents. The 40 km section of the Pacific Highway from Maclean to Grafton is quite rare. There are well over 40 farm sheds visible from the Highway, most just metres away from passing traffic. While few sheds are individually of high heritage value, as a collection of sheds and in the particular landscape they are located, they provide an opportunity to recognise, interpret and manage a significant cultural resource. In this densely settled and diverse cultural setting visitors as well as residents are engaged by the humble 'rude' shed. The materials are diverse. While rough sawn hardwood and corrugated iron predominates there is evidence of brick, block, fibro, sawn timber, wire mesh and more The sheds are the link to a formal regional identity through rural pursuits and diverse collaborative endeavours The project documents over 40 farm buildings through photography, drawing, story telling and design dimensions underpinned by research on the history of the buildings, through interviews with property owners and extensive recording of oral history of district settlers describing their experience of primary production; develops interpretive material for touring exhibitions; and prepares print collateral through partnerships with numerous individuals and groups. The project offers preliminary material for further research and community action.