View from Warragamba Lookout

What is Heritage?

Heritage consists of those things we want to keep that give us a sense of the past and of our cultural identity.  It is the things we want to protect and pass on to future generations so that they too will understand what came before them (NSW Heritage Office, 1999).

'Heritage significance' is a phrase used to describe an item's value to us in heritage terms.  It is important to distinguish the item's heritage value from other values, such as amenity or utility.


Council's Development Services on 4677 1100 or council@wollondilly.nsw.gov.au

Heritage items are important in explaining the history of an area and are listed in one or more of the following registers:

  • Register of the National Estate
  • Australian Heritage Council
  • The NSW State Heritage Register
  • Schedule 5 of the Wollondilly LEP 2011

A list of heritage items within the Wollondilly Local Government Area can be searched and accessed from the NSW Heritage Office Online Database.

The character heritage value of a conservation area can be attributed to a number of factors including the significance of individual buildings, the grouping of individual buildings, the landform, topography and aspect, vegetation elements, historical subdivision pattern and the history of development.

Heritage conservation areas are special areas selected by Council, with the help of the community, to maintain and improve for their visual qualities and historic themes.  Improvement is achieved through owner pride and interest in improving their property, and by Council providing additional assessment and advice whenever new development is proposed.  Heritage conservation areas and areas in the vicinity of heritage items each have a character that Council wishes to conserve.

It takes many years to conserve the character of an area and reinforce it, by incorporating the best aspects of the conservation area into new developments.  The main means of improving an area is by granting development consent to improved quality developments that compliment the character of the area.  Each conservation area is expected to be gradually upgraded to a stage where its value is reflected in a re-vitalised community life and strengthened real estate values.  This is a long-term project of ten to twenty-five years, requiring consistent application by planning staff.  Proposed work is best referred for heritage adviser comment at pre-design, pre-lodgment and development assessment stages.

Heritage conservation areas typically contain places that do not contribute, or have a negative effect, on the area.  These features are generally described as 'non-contributory heritage'.  Such places are expected to be upgraded when new development is proposed.  The improvement of a Conservation Area into a unified, visually attractive whole is not instantaneous, but is expected to occur over a five to fifteen year period.

Development in heritage conservation areas requires consideration of how the proposal will protect, preserve and reinforce the key characteristics of the conservation area.  These key characteristics are generally described as 'contributory heritage'.

Council engages the services of a qualified Heritage Adviser to provide heritage advice to Council and customers proposing to undertake works to heritage items and for new developments within heritage conservation areas.

The Heritage Adviser service is offered free of charge by Council.  The Heritage Adviser conducts a design review for proposed changes to historic properties using design guides, local legislation and design experience to determine the impact of the proposed work on the Conservation Area.  The following changes are usually referred to the Heritage Adviser for comment and advice:

  • Any exterior alteration
  • New construction
  • Additions
  • Removal
  • Demolition
  • Relocation

The heritage adviser is available one day per month so appointments are a must.  Please contact Council's Development Services on 4677 1100 to make an appointment.

Contributory Heritage are elements that contribute towards the overall significance of a heritage conservation area.  Contributory heritage items can consist of buildings, sites and site features which are not individually listed as heritage items, however, their characteristics and features such as age, design, construction materials, and vegetative elements reinforce the significance of the heritage conservation area.

As a collective whole, contributory heritage items have significance in their own right and loss of particular elements through alteration and removal can degrade the significance of heritage conservation areas.

Non-contributory Heritage are buildings, sites and site features, items that by virtue of their location are within a heritage conservation area, however, they make no contribution to the significance of the area.  Non-contributory heritage can include modern flat blocks that detract from the heritage significance of an area through their non-sympathetic architectural design.