THE Federal Government has today announced that the Willow Court Barracks Precinct and Frescati House at New Norfolk, will be assessed by the Australian Heritage Council for possible inclusion on the National Heritage List.
“I am delighted the Willow Court Barracks Precinct and Frescati House will be included on the Australian Heritage Council’s work plan,” Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt said. “The inclusion of the Precinct and Frescati House on the Australian Heritage Council’s work plan was the first step towards possible national heritage recognition of this important site of our early colonial history.
“I was fortunate enough to visit Willow Court last year at the invitation of Eric Hutchinson. It’s a very impressive place and an important part of our history. Eric Hutchinson is a great local member and a very strong advocate for the ongoing protection and recognition of theWillow Court Barracks Precinct and Frescati House.”
Mr Hutchinson said Willow Court Barracks Precinct and Frescati House were components of the first mental health institution in Australia. “Regardless of what findings come from the assessment, this will provide a comprehensive reference document for the first time about the historic and social significance of this precinct,” he said.
“There are many people at New Norfolk who will welcome this decision because of their close, emotional ties to Willow Court which has been a significant part of the town’s history for more than 170 years.”
Mr Hutchinson said the Willow Court Barracks Precinct reflected the evolution of philosophies for treating the mentally ill over 170 years from the 19th century asylum model to the more supportive and integrative health care approaches developed in the 20th century. The Australian Heritage Council’s assessment is expected to be completed by June 2017.