Troubled water for Pompei’s heritage push

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POMPEI’s Landing in Mordialloc has recently been in consideration for heritage status. Picture: Brodie Cowburn

THE Victorian Heritage Council’s registrations and reviews committee has rejected a proposal to include Pompei’s Marine Boat Works and Landing in Mordialloc on the state’s heritage register.

The decision was handed down on 15 May after a hearing on 27 February. The final determination of the Heritage Council was that the site be considered “not for inclusion in the Victorian Heritage Register but [referred] for consideration for local planning protection.”

“After considering the executive director’s recommendation, all submissions and conducting a hearing into the submissions, the Heritage Council has determined (…) Pompei’s Marine Boat Works and Landing at 557-561 Main Road, Mordialloc and nearby lands adjoining Mordialloc Creek is not to be included in the Victorian Heritage Register and refers the recommendation and submissions to Kingston City Council for consideration for an amendment to the Kingston Planning Scheme,” the determination read.

Submissions in objection to the recommendation of Heritage Victoria’s executive director were made by a number of representatives, including Kingston Council, the Mordialloc District Historical Society, and Leon Pompei. Mr Pompei is the son of ‘Mr Mordialloc’ Jack Pompei. 

The boatyard is on crown land which was sold in December 2017 for $2.85 million (“Heritage push for Pompei”, The News, 12/9/18). The owner of the land made a submission in support of the executive director’s recommendation.

A notice of motion was included on the agenda for Kingston Council’s 27 May meeting which read that council “engage a heritage consultant to undertake a peer review and update of Kingston’s heritage overlay with a view to considering whether there are places or features in Kingston that warrant heritage listing that were not previously identified.” 

The notice of motion asked that “the industrial heritage consultant who provided council’s submission on the Pompei Boatworks to the February Heritage Council hearing be asked to provide a recommendation to council in response to the Heritage Council’s recommendation that council consider a local heritage listing” and that “council not approve demolition of the Pompei boatworks until council has made a decision on the Heritage Council recommendation or has approved a development application for the site.”

The Heritage Council registrations and reviews committee found that “Pompei’s Marine Boat Works and Landing at 557-561 Main Street and nearby lands adjoining Mordialloc Creek, Mordialloc does not reach the threshold for state level significance in relation to any of the Heritage Council’s criteria for inclusion in the register.”

Both the nominator Mr Craig Cowie, and Kingston Council argued that the site satisfied a number of the set criterias. One of those is that the site has “strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group for social, cultural or spiritual reasons”.

The Heritage Council noted in their final determination that “the executive director acknowledged that [Pompei’s Landing] has a direct and strong association with Mordialloc and Victorian boating communities and is regarded by the Mordialloc community as a landmark. However, found that while the place has strong associations with boat building and bayside recreation, the ability to interpret these experiences has diminished due to the changed conditions of the place. Further, the social significance of the place does not resonate beyond these communities.”

The final determination read that “Kingston Council submitted that Pompei’s Landing  is of social significance because of its association with the cultural history of Mordialloc and wider boating community, and its association with Mr Jack Pompei. Kingston referred to the Save Pompei’s Landing Facebook internet site and the naming of the nearby Pompei Bridge and Pompei’s Boat sculpture as evidence of this.”

First published in the Chelsea Mordialloc Mentone New – 29 May 2019

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