On Tuesday May 3 2016 Richmond lawyer Dr Leonie Kelleher was awarded the National Trust and City of Ballarat, Heritage Award for her outstanding pro bono contribution to “Heritage Innovation”.
‘Of international significance’ the judges said, she uncovered the role of early surveyors in working with Aboriginal People to ascertain local place names, key locations and track and local features. Also, under instructions from the Crown, via colonial land sales and Crown grants, these surveys ultimately led to the formal dispossession of Aboriginal People under English law.
Dr Kelleher, Accredited Specialist in Environmental, Planning and Local Government Law at Kellehers Australia, created a booklet on “Ballarat’s First Gold Commissioner’s Camp”.
The innovation exposed the value of legal evidence in heritage significance. Evidence arose from the work of surveyor, Rodney Aujard and the Museum collection at Sovereign Hill.
Securing instructions from her client, Sovereign Hill, she ensured that important documentation was not merely archived, but brought together into a community education booklet highlighted the significance of the Sovereign Hill Museum’s collection, particularly its rare original Urquhart survey map. She also wrote a two-part series for professional surveyors describing the key role played by early surveyors in Australian history.