The Mackay Strategic Logo

WaiakooThe unique logo for Mackay Strategic presents an image from this painting: ‘Lake Mackay or Waiakoo’ by Indigenous artist Zakius Tjakamarra Jack from the Haaststs Bluff community in the Western Desert. Lake Mackay is also known as ‘Wilkinkarra’. The painting depicts the time when a bushfire came from the east and turned the land into ‘Mackay’!

Zakius began painting in mid-2008. He is the youngest son of renowned Ikuntji artists, the late Gideon Tjururrula Jack and Eunice Napanangka Jack. As an emerging young male Ikuntji artist, Zakius began painting his Father’s country of Wilkinkarra in mid-2008. In this work he simply and elegantly depicts the lake as his late Father (Gideon Jack) did during his years painting at Hassts Bluff and Kintore. Zakius has already featured in a number of exhibitions and is represented in galleries in Australia and France.

Designers Erica Powell and Sally Woellner from Agency have extracted an evocative and meaningful part of the image to depict an iconic representation of the painting, while preserving  the original, hand-made artistic character in a recognisable brand mark with a bold personality. The logo retains the dot painting technique in the edges of the design, offering authentic character and personality.

I am very grateful to Zakius Tjakamarra Jack and to Dr Chrischona Schmidt, Manager, Ikuntji Artists for permission to use this wonderful work.

You can see more of the work of this artist and the Haasts Bluff community at:

The Image embodies traditional knowledge of the Ikuntji/Haasts Bluff community. It was created with the consent of the custodians of the community. Dealing with any part of it for any purpose that has not been authorised by the custodians would be a serious breach of the customary laws of the Ikuntji/Haasts Bluff community, and may also breach the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth).

For enquiries about this and other permitted reproduction and use of the Image, please contact Ikuntji Artists Aboriginal Corporation:

Engaging with World Heritage Cities

rm-at-owhcThe second regional conference of the Organisation of World Heritage Cities – Asia Pacific was hosted by the City of Gyeongju, Korea, between 5 and 7 October, under the theme of ‘Heritage and Community’.

The Gyeongju Historic Areas property was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2000. Delegates to the regional conference were able to experience outstanding 7th to 10th Century Korean Buddhist art, including sculptures, reliefs, pagodas, and the remains of temples and palaces from the of Silla dynasty.

Richard Mackay presented a scene-setting keynote address to a workshop of experts, highlighting why community engagement is a requirement for World Heritage Cities under international statutes and guidelines and observing that local people are more than mere stakeholders – they have rights to use and enjoy their place and to share in the benefits that arise from the tourism that is based on their culture.owhc-opening

Despite some disruption from an unexpected and uninvited guest – Typhoon Chaba – around 20  mayors and officials participated in the meeting discussions, considered informative case studies and enjoyed cultural performances. Richard Mackay moderated expert panel discussions and facilitated the final reflective outcomes session.

This regional meeting devised draft principles for community engagement in a World Heritage City context and is an important precursor to the World Congress of World Heritage Cities which will also occur in Gyeongju in late 2017.

Mission to Sambor Prei Kuk, Cambodia


Sambor Prei Kuk, the Ancient City of Ishanapura is currently undergoing assessment and evaluation and will be considered for possible inscription on the World Heritage List at the 41st Session of the World Heritage Committee in Krakow, Poland, in 2017.

Built and occupied in the 6th and 7th Centuries, Sambor Prei Kuk was the capital of the Chela Empire. As an archaeological site, the property demonstrates town planning, architecture and religous worship on a monumental scale through numerous surviving temples, hydraulic features and archaeological sites. The remnant buildings, built mostly in brick, display distinctive style and designs and include ornate and unusual design features.

The assessment process includes expert technical evaluation by ICOMOS as one of the official Advisory Bodies to the World Heritage Committee. The evaluation process is very thorough and includes a Mission to the Property, desktop technical review by international experts, plus consideration by a separate panel of ICOMOS experts.tower-n1

Richard Mackay undertook the field mission to the property on behalf of ICOMOS in September 2016, visiting many of the ancient prasats, canals and causeways, as well as contemporary villages and new visitor facilities. The inspection will inform an evaluation of the integrity and authenticity of the property – a key aspect of potential Outstanding Universal Value. Another important element of the mission involved consideration of the statutory protection and management arrangements, through review of documents, inspection of facilities and interviews with the new staff of the Sambor Prei Kuk National Authority.

Richard’s report will be submitted to ICOMOS as part of the eighteen-month-long evaluation which will ultimately help the World Heritage Committee to determine whether this place has Outstanding Universal Value and warrants inscription as Cambodia’s third World Heritage property, following Angkor and Preah Vihear.

Angkor’s Away in Old Yangon

Richard Mackay recently presented a public lecture in Yangon for the Association of Myanmar Architects. The well-attended talk outlined arrangements for managing and conserving cultural heritage at Angkor, Cambodia, under the Heritage Management Framework prepared by GML Heritage between 2010 and 2014, under the auspices of the Australian and Cambodian Governments and UNESCO.yht-1

The presentation focused particularly on the Angor Tourism Management Plan, highlighting how it is possible to improve visitor experiences, while reducing site impacts and providing benefits for local people. Richard also demonstrated the interactive Risk Map that records and provides easy access to key data about the Angkor World Heritage site, to facilitate well-informed decision making.

The presentation was very timely and relevant, in view of the current circumstances of the ancient city of Bagan, which suffered a severe earthquake earlier this year Bagan is also likely to be the subject of a future nomination to the World Heritage List, which may result in significant increase in tourist numbers.bagan

While in Myanmar, Richard visited Bagan and discussed heritage management and tourism with UNESCO colleagues, and  inspected some of the major colonial buildings in Yangon, courtesy of the Yangon Heritage Trust, which a has recently launched its Heritage Strategy for the conservation and development of Old Yangon.

Sydney Alumni Magazine

The Semester 1 2016 issue  of the Sydney Alumni Magazine, which is published by the University of Sydney for its graduate community, recently featured a brief article on Richard Mackay.

Noting Richard’s role as a cultural heritage adviser to the World Heritage Committee, the article also recorded his long term contribution as co-founder of GML Heritage and more-recent role at Mackay Strategic. The full article is available online here.

World Heritage Committee Meeting in Istanbul!

The World Heritage Committee suspended its 40th session, commenced in Istanbul in July 2016, following disruptions and concerns arising from an attempted military coup. The Session will now resume in Paris in October 2016.

Prior to the suspension the Committee had completed assessment of new nominations to the World Heritage List and consideration of ‘state of conservation’ reports for more than 50 properties, including every property that is currently included on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

21 new properties were inscribed on the World Heritage List, including the Archaeological Site of Philippi (Greece), Antequera Dolmens (Spain) and Ari (Turkey). A serial listing for the Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, spread across seven countries and Nan Madol – a ceremonial centre within the Federated States of Micronesia – were among the other inscriptions.

RM on podiumRichard Mackay provided advice to the Committee during the state of conservation considerations, including briefings and response to questions on the Historic Centre of Vienna, the Historic City of Quito, St Sophia’s Cathedral in Kiev, and threats to the Mercantile City of Liverpool.  World Heritage sites in Syria and Yemen continue to face major challenges, but until hostilities subside the focus must be on urgent first aid and repair of shattered residences and preparation for reconstruction. The Committee endorsed important advice from a Joint Reactive Monitoring Mission on the reconstruction and conservation of Kathmandu, but decided not to include Kathmandu on the List of World Heritage in Danger at this time. Commenting on the Committee Session, Richard observed that there is a strong commitment from State Parties to the Convention to ensure that there are appropriate measures for conserving and managing World Heritage places in a way which retains their Outstanding Universal Value:

the Committee sessions are like an iceberg – what occurs on the podium and in the public forum is only the small tip of months of advisory work and liaison, plus behind-the-scenes bilateral meetings. At this Committee session, it was inspirational to be part of a process that is so important in caring for the jewels of humanity’s common heritage” he said.

Making the Greater Blue Mountains Greater

At the end of 2015 Richard Mackay stepped down a Chair of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area Advisory Committee.

The Advisory Committee is jointly appointed by the NSW Minister for Environment and Heritage, in conjunction with the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment to provide advice on the protection, management, presentation and celebration of this iconic World Heritage property which covers more than a million hectares.

Richard was originally appointed to the Committee in 2006 and became Chair in 2011. During this time involvement of Traditional Owners from the six Aboriginal language groups has been strongly supported, and major projects such as the Three Sisters walking Track have been completed.Richard Mackay at Govetts Leap - Nov 2015

Values for a New Generation: a publication of essays about the Greater Blue Mountains, prepared by the Advisory Committee to inform and support re-consideration of the property for inclusion on Australia’s National Heritage List for additional cultural and natural values was launched at Govetts Leap in November 2015.

Speaking at the launch, the Hon Mark Speakman, Minister for the Environment acknowledged Richard’s contribution:

In particular, I wish to acknowledge the contribution of Prof Richard Mackay, who having served since the original appointment of the Committee; the last 5 years as its Chair, will step down at the end of this year. Richard enjoys an international reputation in heritage management, and is currently a cultural heritage adviser to the World Heritage Committee. The World Heritage Area is fortunate to have reaped the benefits of his energy, clear thinking and persuasive, values-based approach.

Papua New Guinea and World Heritage

Mackay Strategic has been providing advice to the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority in PNG about possible future nominations to the World Heritage List.

PNG is a signatory to the World Heritage Convention and the Government of Australia has been providing support to PNG in fulfilment of its obligations, particularly through the Kokoda Initiative.

Richard Mackay at Kokoda December 2014During meetings and workshops and in both Cairns and Port Moresby, Richard Mackay (Mackay Strategic) and Peter Hitchcock provided advice about a possible approach to future World Heritage nominations. Richard’s contribution was focused on the Kokoda Track and Owen Stanley Ranges, following a ‘roadmap’ report prepared by GML Heritage in 2015. Peter provided a briefing on places which have been identified, assessed and are considered to meet the relevant criteria for Outstanding Universal Value.

Participants included representatives from the Australian and PNG Government, representing different agencies and the PNG World Heritage Committee.

Discussions were focused on requirements for World Heritage nomination, the selection of potential sites, the need to establish a coordinated program and the importance of protection and management, as well as integrity and authenticity to establishing and maintaining Outstanding Universal Value.

Photo: courtesy GML Heritage Pty Ltd

Blue Mountains – Values for a New Generation

NSW Minister for the Environment, the Hon Mark Speakman, recently launched a new publication about the amazing natural and cultural values of the Greater Blue Mountains.

The Greater Blue Mountains was originally nominated to the World Heritage List for both natural and cultural values, but was only inscribed for natural values related to Eucalyptus plant communities and rare species. The area is included on Australia’s National Heritage List for the same reasons.

Over the last 15 years understanding of the many values of the Greater Blue Mountains has grown, ranging between extraordinary geology to amazing galleries of rock art and contemporary Indigenous culture. It is fitting that these and other values are now formally recognised, both nationally and internationally.

The Australian Heritage Council is re-assessing the Greater Blue Mountains for these additional values. The Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area Advisory Committee has shared the expertise and experience of its members across a range of disciplines to assist with this re-assessment. More than a year ago, current and former members of the Advisory Committee prepared a series of expert papers about this extraordinary place.

The Advisory Committee has now published this information so that it can be readily accessible to students, managers, researchers, and anyone else who is interested in the Greater Blue Mountains.

Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area: Values for a New Generation is available in both printed form and online here.

The book presents engaging and informative papers on geodiversity, contemporary Aboriginal culture, epic history, the interaction between nature and culture and, of course sublime panoramas and  scenic grandeur.

Richard Mackay introducing Minister Speakman

Richard Mackay introducing Minister Speakman

Richard Mackay introduced the Minister at the launch at Govetts Leap on 28 November.  As well as launching the book, the Minister also paid tribute to Richard’s achievements as Chair of the Advisory Committee:

I wish to acknowledge the contribution of Prof Richard Mackay, who having served since the original appointment of the Committee; the last 5 years as its Chair, will step down at the end of this year. Richard enjoys an international reputation in heritage management, and is currently a cultural heritage adviser to the World Heritage Committee. The World Heritage Area is fortunate to have reaped the benefits of his energy, clear thinking and persuasive, values-based approach.

The Blue Mountains Gazette published two stories about the celebration and the Values book.

The Greater Blue Mountains extends across the traditional lands of the Darug, Darkinjung, Gundungurra, Tharawal, Wonarua and Waradjeri peoples.

A well-known business card

Mackay Strategic enjoyed some recent press coverage, courtesy of Richard Mackay’s business card and the Sydney Morning Herald’s Column 8.

While Richard himself denies ever sending his card to the paper, he does confess to being an inveterate issuer of business cards!

On Monday 23 November, the lead Colum 8 Story noted:

Column 8 came across a business card in our wallet this morning, with no clue as to how it got there, (we all have cards like that, found days, weeks, or even months after the event), of a certain “Prof Richard Mackay, AM”. All well and good but the job description under Richard’s name intrigued us: “Director of Possibilities”. We considered calling the number, but hesitated. Who knows what might have happened had we done so.

Director of Possibilities

Director of Possibilities

Calls, smart remarks, text messages and emails alerted Richard to the unexpected coverage of the Mackay Strategic venture. While Richard himself was unable to make contact, two days later the lead story provided a further update:

“Richard Mackay is an archaeologist and possibilities have taken him far from the student days we shred in the 1980s” reports geoarchaeologist Tessa Corkhill, of Glenorie (“Director of Possibilities on a business card”, Column 8 Monday). “According to LinkedIn his current work ‘identifies possibilities and provides solutions for cultural heritage places’. Ah!”

But things did not end there. By Thursday, the Mackay Strategic business card had been usurped:

Richard Mackay’s business card (“Director of Possibilities”, Column 8 since Monday), has been outdone . . .

The story went on to describe another job title as including: “revolutions started, orgies organised, demonstrations led, saloons emptied, computers rectified, governments run, uprisings quelled, wars fought, bridges destroyed and tigers tamed.”

Indeed, the possibilities seem endless . . .