Do History and Heritage Still Matter?
Penrith is fortunate to have the Nepean River. Captain Watkin Tench was the first European to find and name the river, in 1798. Today, the river is the centre of many social and leisure activities which will greatly increase once the Nepean River Pedestrian Bridge is completed in 2018, although its history and heritage are much neglected. Penrith City Council is promoting growth and development in Penrith which will soon be a sea of high rise apartments. While there has been considerable work at Tench Reserve by the river to greatly improve the facilities of locals and visitors to the area there is still no Penrith Visitors Centre, just a website. If you visit the river, there is not even a map to help you explore either the river or its heritage. Instead there are only signs for new developments, such as those above, which are near a popular cafe, and include a map which highlights the current lack of visibility of the river as well as ignoring both its physical and historical significance. It is also incredible to believe that the Panthers Rugby League Club has put a proposal to Penrith City Council to build sixteen buildings which include 850 apartments, not far away.
Now, it would be great to have an artistic and informative map of the area which features the Nepean River and the various points of interest (besides businesses) for both visitors and locals whether picnickers, walkers, cyclists, kayakers or history enthusiasts. In fact, such a map could be a mural on the side of a building or amenity and become a feature of Tench Reserve and the area in its own right. While travelling to Kakadu in the Northern Territory I came across a terrific map at the Bark Hut Inn which was designed and printed by Sign City in Darwin that highlights the immediate locality but also extends into neighbouring tourism areas and shows the main routes. Surely, Penrith could do this and at least link to the Blue Mountains, Windsor and Richmond to make the most of both their separate and combined histories and geography, especially as the Greater Blue Mountains Drive which briefly includes Penrith Valley and features some historic sites, canoeing, picnics, the connection to the Lapstone Zig Zag and also has an interactive map.
If you have any comments, maps or murals which may provide further inspiration, please let us know. You never know, it might just happen!