ESSAY - PART 1
COLLECTORS AND HERITAGE
In the old coal
mining days, a canary was placed in a cage and put into mine shafts in
order to detect any traces of methane gases that would naturally seep up
from deep below the surface of the earth. If a miner saw a canary lying
flat dead on it’s back, then he’d know it was high time to get the hell
out a’ there!
Arms Collectors feel the same way
about their role in Queensland when it comes to the abrasion between the
exercise of powers by the Weapons Branch of the Queensland Police Service
and the rights and liberties of ordinary law abiding citizens to be
Philosophically, it is generally accepted by collectors themselves
that they are merely hunters, gatherers and custodians of their
collections for a single generation and that it is their responsibility to
ensure that they pass on those artefacts to the next generation in a fit
state - preferably in a better preserved, maintained or restored condition
than they acquired them. Only in this way will future generations have
access to this extremely important aspect of their National Heritage.
Governments do not think
philosophically. They desire an outcome, and use all the means at their
disposal to attain it. The end justifies the means.
by their very nature are,
do not think in terms of ends, as
Governments do. By
and large, collectors are responsible, mature and well behaved citizens
who perform an invaluable historical , educational, and preservation role,
and are not a threat to Society in any way.
They look back and they see what Governments have neglected, and they look
forward and seek to preserve what Governments shall not. They see beyond
The way that
are actually treated in Queensland is a heresy in heritage terms.
The acquisition and preservation of any aspect of arms and weapons
heritage here is officially discouraged. It is literally as if disarmament
begat peace, and that weapons have been incapable of having any positive
or memorable contribution to Heritage, and need therefore be wiped from
the public mind.
Gallipoli and The Kokoda Track, maybe, are
in Queensland (e.g. Museums) reflect the lack of vision of their
largest collector of arms, the Police Service itself, displays nothing to
said to prevent the misuse of weapons, is instead used to discourage every
aspects of private weapons ownership, particularly collecting.
are placed upon every aspect of Arms Collecting, and the role of private
is being attacked by constantly more restrictive regulation changes,
licence restrictions, and enforcement caprice.
commencement of a collection cannot occur without a licence and the
Weapons Branch will decline, as a matter of course, the acquisition of the
first weapon on the ground that the applicant is not a bona fide
Go figure -
though Catch 22 comes to mind.
Examples of the
abuse of legitimate police discretionary powers are repetitive and legion,
but the political will to discourage the misuse of power is absent. The
community is trained to see the misuse of power as being less serious than
the risk of misuse of weapons, and thus are the police emboldened.