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Convict Guardhouse on Cockatoo Island.

Emerging heritage professionals contribute to the future of Cockatoo Island

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3 min read
Last week, the Harbour Trust had the privilege of hosting a special gathering of young and emerging heritage conservation and management professionals at Cockatoo Island / Wareamah.

Held in partnership with the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), the General Assembly and Scientific Symposium (GA2023) Youth Forum saw young and emerging professionals from around the world gather at the historic island between 1 and 3 September. Across 3 days, delegates connected with their peers, heard from thought leaders, debated contemporary issues and workshopped ideas.

Day 1 recap

The Youth Form opened with a guided orientation tour by the Harbour Trust, which allowed delegates to experience first-hand the island’s iconic landmarks, including the historic dockyard (1857–1991) and the UNESCO World Heritage listed Convict Site (1839–1869). ‘

Upon settling in, delegates attended knowledge sessions across different streams. Plus, the Harbour Trust shared some early thinking on the upcoming draft master plan for Cockatoo Island / Wareamah, which served as a catalyst for group discussions aimed at shaping the island's future.

That evening, as the sun set, delegates convened on Biloela Lawn on the upper island for a Welcome to Country ceremony and a celebratory BBQ. Later on, they tapped into their inner adventurers and embarked on our popular Ghost Tour. Before retiring to our award-winning waterfront campground for the night, delegates had an opportunity to relax and debrief on the day around the island’s campfire.

Day 2 recap

The sense of enthusiasm and the spirit of openness continued into day two as participants broke off into their dedicated groups, gathered in yarning circles and shared stories of their connection to Country.

These sessions paved the way for further in-depth conversations about the draft master plan. Discussions involved an exploration of the concepts of layers at Cockatoo Island / Wareamah, and delegates began to finalise group presentations to be shared with their peers on the 3rd and final day. At the end of day 2, delegates had an opportunity to fortify their comradery thanks to networking drinks.

Day 3 recap

At the start of day 3, each group presented their ideas, sharing invaluable insights and thoughtful strategies for consideration by the Harbour Trust during planning for Cockatoo Island’s future.

As the forum drew to a close, warm farewells were exchanged and delegates left with new connections, fresh ideas and a sense of excitement about their careers in the heritage space.

Thank you to everyone participated in the ICOMOS GA2023 Youth Forum at Cockatoo Island. We look forward to welcoming you back to the island in the future!

Learn more about our partnership with ICOMOS GA2023 here.


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