Heritage experts launch ICOMOS GA2020 - 25 February 2019

Australia’s key heritage industry representatives have gathered to launch the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) 2020 General Assembly and Scientific Symposium.

Representatives from government and heritage organisations met at Sydney Living Museums’ historic Sydney Mint on Monday 25 February evening to mark the forthcoming major event.

ICOMOS GA2020 will take place 1-11 October 2020 at the International Convention Centre Sydney and is expected to attract more than 1,200 industry professionals from around the world. They will participate in four days of sessions and presentations, as well as visits to significant cultural heritage sites such as Sydney Opera House and Greater Blue Mountains, along with other social events and workshops.
Australia ICOMOS President Ian Travers kicked off the ICOMOS GA2020 launch with Acknowledgement of the Gadigal People of the Eora Nation as the Traditional Owners of the land on which GA2020 will be held.

ICOMOS GA2020 Convenor Richard Mackay said: “This Conference will provide a valuable opportunity for Australia to learn from the world’s best cultural heritage practitioners and to share and showcase our shared culture, amazing cultural places and outstanding heritage conservation achievements. We are grateful for the support of the government and other strategic partners as well as our corporate patrons.”

Prof Mackay also thanked the government and strategic partners for ICOMOS GA2020 including Luna Park, as the venue for the Assembly’s large social function, the Sydney Federation Trust, which will welcome the GA2020 ‘Youth Forum’ on Cockatoo Island, and Qantas, which is offering special incentives for both domestic and international attendees.

Naseema Sparks, Chair Sydney Living Museums, pointed out the host venue Sydney Mint was a living example of the positive outcomes of heritage conservation, based on the principles of Australia ICOMOS’ Burra Charter.

David Williams, Assistant Secretary, Commonwealth Department of Environment and Energy, also addressed the gathering, recognising Australia’s global reputation for outstanding cultural heritage conservation and management.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is supporting ICOMOS GA 2020, as is the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. The ICOMOS General Assembly also formally acknowledges the valued support of founding Opal Patrons’ Extent Heritage, GML Heritage and Lovell Chen and founding South Sea Pearl Patrons; NBRS Architecture and International Conservation Services.


Logo Narrative


The GA2020 logo shows a stylised Xanthorrhoea (‘black boy’) plant, in the shape of Sydney Opera House. The design was conceived by Blak Douglas (aka Adam Hill), a Sydney-based Aboriginal artist, and developed collaboratively with Greg Hosking from Monotron Creative. It is fitting that the design concept arises from collaboration with an Indigenous artist, given the GA2020 theme of ‘shared culture–shared heritage–shared responsibility’, as the design process itself has been a ‘shared’ task; both practically and culturally. The iconography picks up the ‘nature–culture journey’, which is a major GA2020 program element, reflecting the importance of recognising that even natural heritage places have Traditional Owners and cultural values. The recognisable shape of the Sydney Opera House, attests to more-recent cultural values, but is at the same time distinctively different from more usual Sydney Opera House iconography. The local name for the Xanthorrhoea is ‘Gadi’; reflected in the name of the ‘Gadigal’ people of the Eora Nation, the Traditional Owners of the land on which GA2020 will be held. The image of the Sydney Opera House is used under licence from the Sydney Opera House Trust.