Our heritage consists of the places and objects that we have inherited from the past and want to pass on to future generations. It defines us as a community: who we are and where we have come from.
What is heritage significance?
The heritage significance of a place is what makes it special. Heritage significance can include:
- historical origins and subsequent development
- association with particular people or events
- visual qualities
- construction or other technical qualities
- religious or symbolic role
- archaeological research potential.
Heritage listing is the formal recognition that a place has heritage significance and is a way of ensuring that any proposed changes respect and retain those qualities and characteristics that make it special.
image: "Wylie's Baths, Coogee. Photograph by Hendry Wan"
Wylie's Baths, Coogee. Photograph by Hendry Wan
What is a heritage item?
A heritage item can be a place, building, structure, landscape element, archaeological relic or moveable object. They can include public buildings, private houses, housing estates, industrial complexes, archaeological sites, bridges, roads, cemeteries, churches and schools, public gardens, trees, memorials and natural areas.
image: "Italianate villas in Randwick"
Italianate villas in Randwick
What is a conservation area?
Often it is not just a single house or building that is identified for heritage listing. A heritage conservation area is a precinct, streetscape, group of buildings, landscape, suburb or town with particular heritage values that give it a distinct identity. These heritage values can include historical origins, subdivision pattern, and consistency of building materials or the common age of its building stock.
West Kensington heritage conservation area
How are heritage listings made?
In 1977, the NSW Heritage Act legislated that councils must identify, protect and manage heritage through local planning regulations.
The two levels of statutory listing are:
- the State Heritage Register
- the heritage schedule in Randwick City Council's Local Environmental Plan.
The majority of Randwick's heritage items and heritage conservation areas were identified in a comprehensive heritage study carried out in 1989. A thematic development history provided the basis for assessing the relative significance of individual items.
The heritage items and conservation areas which were identified were included in a Heritage Local Environmental Plan (LEP) gazetted in 1993. Following later reviews, additional properties were added in 1994 and in 1998.
Anyone can nominate an item for heritage listing. If the Council resolves to consider a listing, property owners and residents are notified and a draft LEP is placed on public exhibition. Submission and comments are invited and are taken into consideration before the application for heritage listing goes before Council and the Department of Planning.
Looking after your heritage house
By looking after your heritage home you are maintaining its market value. All building components require maintenance as they age; no material or finish is maintenance-free.
Conservation is based on a respect for the existing building fabric and should involve the least possible change. The starting point for all conservation work is maintenance.
Some background on heritage maintenance and renovations is available here.