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Tuesday, 13 March 2018

SUPPORT SOUGHT FOR HERITAGE LISTED SITE OF HISTORIC SILK FARM

Today, Member for Bendigo West, Maree Edwards visited Mount Alexander to inspect one of the region's most valuable Heritage Listed sites, the Silk Farm ruins.

Maree was accompanied by George Milford from the Harcourt Valley Heritage Centre and amateur historians Marilyn Bennet and Ian Braybrook.

 Marilyn and Ian were instrumental in having the site placed on the Victorian Heritage Register in the early 1990's .They also recently published a book , "Sarah's Search - A Silk Odyssey", which details the history of the farm and tells the story of Sarah Bladen Neill, who established it in 1874.

The Mount Alexander site was a part of her determined effort to establish a silk industry in Australia. Regrettably, principally through a lack of government support, the venture failed. According to the authors the fact that it was the project originated by women was a significant negative influence on some government members.

Where some 30,000 mulberry trees once grew no trace of a single tree remains on the ten acre site which forms a part of the Mt Alexander Regional Park. It is managed by Parks Victoria.

Last winter local groups, Little Habitat Heroes, Harcourt/ Barkers Creek Landcare and Connecting Country, planted 900 indigenous trees and shrubs in the surrounding grounds; surprisingly, most of them have survived and are doing well.

“Heritage Listing means that the site is well protected but it is in need of some remedial work and sources of revenue are being investigated”.

“This site is both historical and picturesque. The site is one that is already on the heritage listing and I will be organising a meeting with DELWP and other stakeholders to discuss the future of the site to ensure its preservation and protection”, Ms Edwards said.

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