The National Trust of Australia (NSW) is celebrating its 75th Anniversary today. Australia’s oldest conservation charity committed to the preservation, education and interpretation, and protection of our built, natural and cultural heritage. The National Trust was officially founded in New South Wales on 6 April 1945.
The concept of a National Trust in Australia – inspired by the National Trust in England – was first promoted by Annie Forsyth Wyatt in 1944 at the Australian Forest League’s ‘Save our Trees’ Conference in Sydney. The concept was supported by 29 foundation members, representing various conservation organisations, and the National Trust was established the following April on this day.
Over the course of its 75 years, the National Trust of Australia has expanded across the country to form state branches that operate as separate charity entities and collaborate on national initiatives. The organisation has:
- Protected iconic heritage sites in New South Wales from demolition or unsympathetic development, including the Macquarie Street Precinct, the QVB and The Rocks in Sydney.
- Established the National Trust Register – a reference of heritage significance called on continuously by Government authorities, agencies and private developers to consider placemaking decisions.
- Developed policies and positions that provide guidance for the heritage profession, the public and private sector, and govern the organisation’s conservation campaigning direction.
- Created a national festival to celebrate our heritage, history, diversity of culture and natural environment: the Australian Heritage Festival.
- Established an Award that has been running for 26 years, celebrating best practice in conservation, design, advocacy, education and interpretation of heritage.
- Cared for, interpreted the history of and created a wonderful program of events that bring heritage to life at over 20 heritage properties across New South Wales.
- Had the support of more than 20,000 members, 2,000 volunteers and generous donors, sponsors and partners.
- Welcomed the Australian community and international visitors to explore our rich and diverse heritage.
“It is a proud day for the National Trust of Australia in New South Wales as we celebrate our 75th Anniversary,” said Debbie Mills, Chief Executive Officer, National Trust (NSW). “We were founded at an incredibly challenging time in world history – in 1945 – and we have reached this extraordinary milestone as we face yet another challenging time with the COVID-19 health emergency.
“The COVID-19 health emergency means that we have paused our celebrations for 2020 – and we had over 20 special events planned for the National Trust’s 75th Anniversary,” Debbie Mills said. “But it is important to note that the National Trust has always played a vital role in connecting the community to a sense of place and belonging, bringing people together to appreciate and enjoy the historical, cultural and natural essence and beauty of significant sites and stories. This will be our role again as we emerge from this chapter in our history and look to a brighter future.
The National Trust (NSW) is inviting the community to plan ahead to a happier time and join us as we plan to celebrate our 75th Anniversary in late 2020. Find out more here.