Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (Honours)




Associate Professor Nicholas Gill


Heritage management has made a shift toward recognising the ‘intangible’. However recent research argues that this shift is still fragmented by enduring philosophies of heritage as artefactual. Maintenance of heritage buildings, in particular, illustrates the debates around material (‘tangible’) or vernacular processes (‘intangible’) of management. This thesis explores the heritage management of three heritage listed coastal cabin (shack) communities within Sydney’s Royal National Park. Here cabin owners are faced with challenges of the extreme maritime environment and no road access, meaning that all maintenance materials are carried on foot. Yet official management of shacks is still largely based on the appearance of shack materials via an audit. The project aimed to understand how vernacular shack maintenance practices could be a form of heritage. Employing a mixed method approach, the study included semi-structure and walking interview with 12 shack owners. The results offer insights into heritage significance arising from practices and embodied actions. Through a non-representational framework attention is giving to the multiple meanings of shack maintenance practices. The findings highlight the significance of vernacular maintenance practices, and suggest, with future research, a new management approach incorporating both the tangible and intangible is possible.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.