Moonta A’gas Dynnergh? The implications of Cornish language signage in the Moonta Mines State Heritage Area

Ella Stewart-Peters

Discipline of History, School of International Studies, Flinders University

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Dig It: The Journal of the Flinders Archaeological Society
Volume 2, Issue 2, December 2014

Print: ISSN 1440-2475
Online: ISSN 2203-1898


In 2010, the first steps were taken towards inscribing the Australian Cornish Mining Heritage Site (ACMHS) as part of a Transnational World Heritage Listing that incorporates sites with a history of Cornish mining influence from around the world with the Cornish World Heritage Site that was inscribed in 2006. The ACMHS is a combination of two South Australian State Heritage sites, Burra and Moonta Mines. With this process ongoing, a discussion of the measures taken to ensure the success of this application is essential. This article will focus on the implications of making small alterations to a heritage site in order to successfully meet the criteria for a Transnational World Heritage Listing. A key concern with this process is the issue of erecting signage in the Cornish language within the Moonta Mines State Heritage Area, a seemingly innocuous act that, nevertheless, fundamentally alters the nature of the site. This is an issue as the population that inhabited this district, whilst overwhelmingly of Cornish extraction, did not utilise the Cornish language as it had almost entirely died out in the eighteenth century. As this is an issue of South Australian heritage, the Burra Charter will be consulted to indicate the best practice framework that should be in place at this site. This article, therefore, questions whether such changes to the nature of a heritage site can be accepted as occurring in the best interests of preserving said site.


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