The ACT Government has a great opportunity this week to move to restore and open heritage-cited schools at Flynn, Tharwa and Hall in response to new information and community support, according to the Flynn Primary School Parents and Citizens Association.
The ACT Government is expected to make its initial response to the findings of the School Closure Inquiry later this week and Flynn P&C President Roger Nicoll said that the community is hopeful that the Government will respond favourably to new information.
“A wealth of information on the heritage value of the Flynn school and environs has come to light since the school was closed in 2006 and that includes expert advice on how to best protect heritage value,” Mr Nicoll said.
“New advice from the National Heritage Trust stresses the importance of protecting the heritage integrity and indicates that operation as a school is the best way to do that.”
Flynn Primary School is significant because of its design by award-winning architect Enrico Taglietti, its links to the Reverend John Flynn and the Royal Flying Doctor Service, and its importance as the first open plan school in the ACT. The ACT Heritage Unit has advised that a draft citation for heritage listing has been prepared for the school, preschool and grounds; and the ACT Heritage Council is understood to be processing the nomination.
The Flynn community enthusiastically welcomed the heritage commitments made by the Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope on radio on 16 October 2009. In that discussion, Mr Stanhope said that, without pre-empting the decisions of the Heritage Council, he “would be stunned if [the school] doesn’t receive heritage listing, and even if it didn’t receive heritage listing—formal recognition by the Heritage Council of its heritage value—the government recognises its heritage significance; and we will protect it.”
“The heritage value of Flynn school was not adequately considered in 2006,” Mr Nicoll said. “As more information has come to light, it is clear that the heritage of schools like Flynn includes historical and architectural aspects as well as other cultural aspects connected with the past and its ongoing function,” said Roger Nicoll.
“New information on population changes and community attitudes is also adding further support to the need for a school at Flynn according to Mr Nicoll.
“The 2006 Census wasn’t available when the schools were closed and the baby boom and influx of young families has increased markedly since then as has support for enrolment and participation in a neighbourhood school hub.”
‘Irrespective of any findings of the School Closure Inquiry, there is a weight of new information and community support upon which the Government can responsibly open heritage community schools at Flynn, Tharwa and Hall,” Mr Nicoll said.