Maitland Heritage Guardians have launched a new crusade, this time to save a slab cottage in Morpeth from destruction.
Heritage conservationist and group founder Chris Richards said a residential development planned for the property on Duckenfield Road, is on public exhibition and will soon go before Maitland City Council.
Mr Richards said the early settlers slab cottage is one of the very few surviving slab cottages in the Maitland district.
"The cottage could be as early as 1820s, but further investigation would need to be undertaken to establish this," he said.
"This type of cottage was once common in the Hunter region but has now become almost extinct. Slab cottages provide a rare insight into how our early pioneers used local materials and primitive designs to live and protect their families from the harsh Australian environments."
Mr Richards said the cottage is located within the Morpeth Heritage Conservation Zone.
"Many years ago I was involved in a protest to council to save a slab Cottage in Green Street, Morpeth. After much debate council agreed that slab cottages were rare and important to keep and voted in favour of it's retention. It is now operating as a commercial premises.
"This cottage is an excellent example of how old buildings can be recycled and become an important contribution to the Morpeth heritage streetscape and a tribute to our early pioneers," he said.
He said the cottage is restorable and could easily be renovated and have sympathetic additions to the rear resulting in a 'comfortable and desirable outcome.'
"In front of the cottage are remnants of an old orchard. Research should also be undertaken on this before any approval is given. Due to the cottage's age an archaeological survey should also be undertaken before any work starts," Mr Richards said.
"Myself and the community are against the demolition of this rare surviving piece of heritage. With careful reconsideration and a clever architect a showpiece could be created for Morpeth and the region. I urge council to reconsider this unnecessary demolition and preserve this significant part of our pioneering history."
Mr Richards wanted to remind council of an iconic slab house that was moved many years ago to East Maitland Park and once operated as the city's visitor centre. "This is now deemed as being of high significance," he said.
"Where buildings are heritage listed or in a conservation zone a heritage impact statement has to be submitted and that's usually written by someone the applicant has commissioned - people who are not qualified. These statements should be written by independent assessors."