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Wills, Ian
Losing Australia's industrial heritage
17th Engineering Heritage Conference: Canberra 100 - Building the Capital, Building the Nation
Engineers Australia, Barton, Australian Capital Territory, 2013, pp. 161-170

Manufacturing was the heart of the Industrial Revolution, an event that has been described as "the most significant engine for change in human history". It has had global impact including in Australia but, despite its economic and social impact on Australia, manufacturing industry is notably underrepresented in Australian heritage lists. This paper draws on the history of Sydney's Cockatoo Island Dockyard to argue that this underrepresentation, and the treatment of manufacturing sites, is a consequence of a combination of factors including the origins of the heritage industry itself, a bias against the kind of knowledge manufacturing industry represents and a distorted view of its role in Australia. These reasons are then developed into arguments for why our manufacturing heritage should be more highly valued and conserved, because its loss impoverishes our understanding of the recent past, perpetuates a millennium-old bias and distorts the history of Australia and our understanding of what it is to be Australian. We may not recognise it, but manufacturing industry is an important part of what has made us what we are as a nation and is significant as engineering heritage.

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