>To most people (myself included till recently), the notion of Chinese market gardens are more of an abstraction than a reality. I’ve seen conference papers given about them, with all present-day images showing bare, isolated fields or hillocky grasses. That was it. Nothing else there would indicate that the sites were of any significance or had a past that nurtured a nation.
The present project I’ve been working on has meant that I’ve imbibed a broad range of perspectives about heritage, history, who and what it’s for, why the present needs the past, etc. It is sometimes a confounding situation, working to accommodate the contemporary desires of local communities/governments while also considering the ‘integrity’ of the historical material and its significance.
This post at Kate Bagnall’s the tiger’s mouth – La Perouse market gardens under threat – is a compelling example of why heritage really does still matter, and the active threats under which sites operate even in our supposedly heritage-embracing present.
The issue in summary:
“Chinese community and heritage groups are opposing the planned resumption of heritage-listed market gardens at La Perouse in southern Sydney for use as a cemetery. The land on which the market gardens sit has been used for food production for more than 150 years, and managed by Chinese gardeners for more than a century. They are one of the very few remaining examples of the productive gardens which used to be found all around the Sydney suburbs.”
The Sydney Morning Herald reported on it HERE. More links are provided at Kate’s post above.