Heritage listing of the Uiver Memorial was recommended in a Heritage Assessment done by Mark Clayton in 2002. He assessed the heritage significance of the Uiver Memorial on a number of criteria and as a result, found the Uiver Memorial to be significant in a number of these areas, specifically a high significance for its social and cultural association to an important event. This particular DC-2 is also historically significant as the oldest surviving DC-2 airframe and rare because it is one of only eight left in the world, three of which can be found in Australia. The DC-2 has representative value as being a visible reminder of the DC-2 type and its importance in the development of the passenger airliners as a mode of public transport.
The DC-2 is also aesthetically significant as it represents the style and characteristics of the “Art Deco” period, a significant design influence over modern technology of the day and reflected in the change from technology as utilitarian, to technology as an expression of art forms and style. The Art Deco period influenced buildings, fashion, domestic appliances, vehicles, and aircraft. The features typified in this aircraft are the streamlined rounded forms, and the silver polished metal panels. The style reflected the opulence of the late 30’s and early ‘40’s that is associated with the “Golden Age” of the aviation industry.
Mark Clayton recommended that the Uiver memorial be registered on both the local Albury Heritage Register and the NSW State Heritage Register. These actions were not undertaken by Albury Council at the time, and are yet to be addressed by the current council.
Unfortunately, since the DC-2 was removed from its stands and relocated from such a prominent public display, it has tended to become forgotten and undervalued by the local community. It is easy to forget the reasons why this aircraft was obtained in the first place and why it was such an important icon to the Albury Community. Although the Uiver story is well represented in the Library Museum Uiver Collection and by the Uiver Cafe Mural at the Albury Airport Terminal, the real star of the collection has been overlooked and neglected.
This important piece of Albury’s social history deserves more respect and treatment. Those outside our community; aviation and museum organisations, professional historians, and aviation restorers are dismayed by Albury’s apparent apathy and lack of recognition for this items worth in aircraft terms and value as a heritage item.
Mark Clayton, in his 2002 report has stated that on the international market, the DC-2 as is, could fetch up to $100,000. That is a significant value as an aircraft alone.
When restored this DC-2 could be devalued as being worth $500,000 or more, and as numbers diminish, the rarity and value increase over time. An airworthy DC-2 would fetch a price tag in the millions. To view this aircraft as a piece of junk or old spare parts is similar to labelling Pharlap as “just a horse” or “Sydney Harbour Bridge” as just a “wire coathanger”. The value of these items is far greater than the value of their physical components. History and legend creates and aura and value around such items so they become “iconic” to a local community or nation.
The Uiver Memorial is itself a part of Albury’s history, and represents the efforts of those who raised the funds for its purchase, those who volunteered to restore it, to the council who helped place it on the stands outside of the Airport, to the community who for 30 years have contributed funds to maintaining it (of special note are the Blom family) and to those whose seek to preserve it for the future generations of Albury residents, and the wider national and international community.
We are actively seeking to have the item listed on the Local Heritage Register and on the State Heritage Register. The National Trust of Australia have taken this issue on board and contributed their support to retain this significant monument in Albury and seeking suitable ways to preserve it and reinstate it as a public memorial. The NSW Heritage Branch is also considering listing on the State Heritage Register, and if it does so, the Uiver memorial DC-2 will have the protection offered by the NSW Heritage Act 1977 and the Moveable Heritage Act 1986.
It is important to educate and to communicate to the community of Albury, just how culturally significant this icon is, and how close we are to losing it.