You're viewing an archived AICOMOS Conference website AICOMOS Home
Australia ICOMOS > 2011 Watermarks

2011 Watermarks


The National Trusts of Australia and Australia ICOMOS are pleased to welcome their members and others to participate in what should be a provocative and fruitful conference. Complete your details (visit the Registration Page for further information) and send them to the Conference Organiser (details below). We encourage you to take advantage of the early bird discounts, and also (if you are not already a member) to consider joining Australia ICOMOS and your state National Trust to be eligible for the further discounts available to their members.

Download the Watermarks Conference flier.

Click here for the conference sponsors. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor of the conference, please consider the options in the Watermarks 2011 Conference Sponsorship Prospectus.


Before the European settlement of Australia, for many thousands of years, Aboriginal people lived in close harmony with the land and water, which provided both physical and spiritual nourishment. Today, the ownership, allocation, management and use of water have become some of the most important issues in contemporary Australia. The theme for the ICOMOS International Day of Monuments and Sites, 18 April 2011 is the heritage of water. Consequently, it was chosen as the theme for Watermarks, Water’s Heritage, the joint National Trusts of Australia and Australia ICOMOS conference to be held in Melbourne in late October 2011. Our venue, the ‘state-of-the-art’ Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, (MCEC) is situated on the south bank of the River Yarra, just 500 metres from the site of the city’s foundation and 6 kilometres from the iconic Westgate Bridge and the former MMBW Spotswood Pumping Station. It is 30 kilometres from the Yan Yean Reservoir, Melbourne’s first reticulated fresh water supply and 35 kilometres from the Western Treatment Plant (the Werribee Sewerage Farm). These sites will be visited on the full day Sunday excursion, ‘From the Dam to the Farm’.

Important as these places are ― and they will be celebrated during the conference ― there is much more to the heritage of water than outstanding engineering achievements. The importance and use of water and waterways to Aboriginal people, exploration, settlement, aquaculture, fresh water supply, flood control, irrigation, recreation, transport and communication, mining, hydro-electric power and environmental damage and conservation are some other sub-themes to be explored. Discussion is encouraged across the centuries including debates affecting the present day.

Call for contributions

The conference committee is calling for contributions in two categories: formal papers and snapshots. A detailed Call for Contributions, seeking a 150-200 word abstract, a nominated theme (or themes), and a brief speaker’s biography, is now available. Please complete the 2011 Conference Paper Abstract form and submit it via email it to Bradley Hayden, the conference manager before 15 April 2011.

Further information can be found at the Call for Contributions page of this website.

Format of conference

The program will consist of two days of presentations and a specially designed full-day Conference Excursion to highlight the themes of Melbourne’s water supply and waste removal. There will also be pre- and post- conference tours. Information about these tours will be outlined on the Pre & Post Tours page when available. Delegates can choose to attend the excursion and tours for an extra cost.

A special welcome reception will be held on Thursday 27 October aboard the recently re-launched historic barque Polly Woodside, moored in the Duke’s & Orr’s Dry Dock beside the MCEC. The registration cost includes participation in the reception.

On Friday 28 October the conference dinner will be held at the historic Old Melbourne Gaol. Delegates can choose to attend the dinner for an extra cost. A themed photography competition will be held in conjunction with the conference and the winners will be announced at the dinner.

Separate events for members of ICOMOS International Scientific Committees and others interested in their work, as well as an event for young professionals and a workshop for members of the Association of Preservation Technology, will be scheduled during the day on Thursday 27 October.

The conference will provide participants with a memorable experience, rare access to special heritage places and true Victorian hospitality. The conference will also showcase Melbourne’s urban and urbane success, growing from ‘a place for a village’ into one of the most livable cities in the world. It coincides with its best known event and most glamorous weekend, the racing of the Melbourne Cup.

Who should attend?

The conference will appeal to academics, officers of water authorities, local government planners and councillors, state and federal government officials, architects, engineers, historians, landscape architects, archaeologists and others with a general interest in understanding and managing Australia’s water heritage.

Keynote speakers

Three keynote speakers have confirmed their attendance. They are:

Joe Ross

Joe Ross is a member of the Bunuba people in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, Chairman of the Indigenous Water Policy Group for the Northern Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance – NAILSMA and the Chairman of the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Planning Group. As Chairman of NAILSMA’s Indigenous Water Policy Group, he has been facilitating the Group’s direction and objectives. The primary aims of the IWPG are to inform the Indigenous peoples of northern Australia about water reform under the National Water Initiative and to engage in research relating to Indigenous interests, rights, responsibilities and interest in water resources in the north of Australia.

Prof Gray Brechin

Prof. Gray Brechin, PhD is a historical geographer, a frequent radio and television guest, and a popular public speaker. He is currently a visiting scholar in the U.C. Berkeley Department of Geography and founder and project scholar of California’s Living New Deal Project. In one of his more recent books, Imperial San Francisco: Urban Power, Earthly Ruin, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1999 he compares and contrasts the supply of fresh water to the cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles, both influential on the development of eastern Australia cities.


Dr Helen Doyle is a professional historian with a strong interest in local history and heritage. After completing a Master of Arts in Public History at Monash University, she has been involved in many government heritage studies and conservation projects, including a state-wide study of Victoria’s water supply heritage. Her doctoral thesis, completed in 2005, examined some conceptual themes in settlers’ perceptions of landscape and conceptions of history-making in Victoria. She was also an assistant editor for the Oxford Companion to Australian History (Davison, Macintyre, Hirst, eds., 1998) and has co-authored a history of the Yan Yean water supply system (with Tony Dingle, 2003).


Visit the Registration Page for further information. Registration will include two days of presentations, morning and afternoon teas and lunches, and the welcome reception. The Australia ICOMOS AGM will be held in the late afternoon on Friday 28 October and the drinks afterwards are also included in the registration price. Tickets for the conference dinner, to be held at the historic Old Melbourne Gaol on Friday 28 October, and for the special excursion on Sunday 30 October, will be available for separate purchase. Tickets for the APT workshop on Thursday 27 October are not included in the conference registration but will also be available for separate purchase. The ICOMOS ISC events and young professionals’ event are free.

Travel and accommodation

Delegates are cautioned that this is the Melbourne Cup weekend so travel and accommodation will be limited. Also, accommodation at university colleges is unlikely to be available because exams will be underway. Delegates are encouraged to book their travel and accommodation as soon as possible. The Spring Racing Carnival runs for several weeks and there will be similar pressure on the previous and subsequent weekends.

Nonetheless, Melbourne has a wide range of accommodation including within walking distance of the MCEC. The MCEC is well served by public transport with three tramlines passing it and Southern Cross Station (metropolitan, regional and interstate lines) within ten minutes’ easy walk.


The following major airlines operate out of Melbourne Airport at Tullamarine:

Qantas (international and interstate)

Jetstar (international and interstate)

Virgin Australia (interstate)

Airport Transfers

Easy access is available from the airport to the city centre via bus and taxi. Please refer to the Melbourne Airport website for further information.

SkyBus offers a shuttle bus service from the airport to Melbourne CBD and city hotels. This service operates 24 hours, 7 days. Buses run every 10 minutes throughout the day. Tickets cost $16 Adult, one way and $26, return. For more information Skybus can be contacted on (61 3) 9335 2811 or visit the Skybus wesbite.

Taxis are available from the ground floor level of Melbourne Airport. Expect to pay around A$45 to A$50 for the 30 minute trip into the centre of Melbourne.

Car Rental

A number of car Rental Services are available at Melbourne Airport. A full list is available on the Melbourne Airport website .

Pre and Post Conference Tours

It is proposed that a three-day, two-night tour of the Murray River Valley will be held from Monday 1 November. The sites to be visited will cover the sub-themes of exploration, settlement, aquaculture, flood control, irrigation, recreation, transport and communication, and environmental conservation.

If there is sufficient interest, a pre-conference tour may be arranged through the western half of Victoria. This would include heritage places on lakes and rivers and associated with regional urban water authorities, Barwon Water and Wannon Water, Warrnambool City Council, the famous Bessiebelle Sheepwash and Lake Condah fish traps.

More Information about tours will be made available at the Post Conference Tour page as soon as possible.

Organising Committee

Mr Paul Roser, National Trust of Australia (Vic) Co-convener
Dr Timothy Hubbard, Australia ICOMOS, Co-convener

Ms Megan McDougall, Australia ICOMOS
Dr Ursula de Jong, National Trust of Australia (Vic)
Ms Natica Schmeder, Australia ICOMOS
Mr Paul Balassone, Melbourne Water

Professional Conference Organiser

For registration enquiries please contact:

Bradley Hayden
Countrywide Conference & Event Management
PO Box 5013

P + 61 2 6023 6300
F + 61 2 6023 6355
M 0412 461 392

Bradley Hayden