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The Southern Highlands has a rich history which began with the traditional owners of the land, the Gundungurra and D’harawal people, and later European settlers who first explored the area in 1798.
The region is today recognised for its impressive 19th and 20th century buildings and streetscapes as well as for its natural and farming landscapes. European settlement commenced in the area in the 1820s.
Properties such as Throsby Park, Oldbury, Vine Lodge and Wingecarribee have buildings dating back to the early to mid 19th Century which survive today.
The first settlement, Bong Bong settlement, located on the Moss Vale Road between Moss Vale and Burradoo adjoining the Wingecarribee River, is marked by an obelisk and sits within the greenbelt between Moss Vale and Burradoo as part of the Burradoo Landscape Conservation Area.
Berrima, the second settlement to be established in the district, dates back to the 1830s and survives today as the last remaining, largely intact, Georgian-period town on Mainland Australia.
The 1860s saw rapid development through the advent of the Main Southern Railway Line. Mittagong, Bowral and Moss Vale grew quickly. A number of settlements across the Shire sprung up in the late 19th century and early 20th century including Bundanoon, Exeter and Burrawang. Joadja, located west of Mittagong, was a mining town of significance between the 1880s and 1920s. While significant parts of this State Heritage Listed and Nationally significant "ghost town" are still in existence, recent conservation work undertaken with the assistance of Council and a grant from the Federal Government has slowed and reversed the deterioration of its remaining buildings and structures.
The countryside has played an important part in the development of the area for farming as well as quarrying. Cooler climates, reliable rainfalls and good soils attracted many farmers who cleared a large part of the Shire’s remnant vegetation, resulting in today’s landscape mix of open paddocks and bushland areas.
Local government is the principal manager of heritage in NSW, mainly through local environmental plans (Shire/Town Plans).
These plans contain schedules or lists of properties, buildings, places etc considered to be of local significance. The lists or schedules are statutory lists meaning that the provisions or clauses in the plan relating to these lists can be legally enforced.
The aim of having such lists is to ensure the conservation of buildings, places etc, which are considered to be significant to the local community, although the relative level of significance of each item may differ considerably.
The local heritage of the Wingecarribee Shire is managed through the Wingecarribee Local Environmental Plan (WLEP) 2010 (external link). Clause 5.10 contains the planning controls for heritage places and Schedule 5 lists the statutory heritage items in the Wingecarribee Shire.
For more information about heritage items and heritage conservation areas visit the link below:
A planning certificate (also called zoning certificate) under section 149 of the Environment Planning and Assessment Act 1979 should be obtained to confirm the planning details (including zoning and heritage) applying to your property.
A planning certificate will state whether your property is a heritage item or within a conservation area. There are two types of certificates: s.149(2) and s.149(2) & (5), the latter providing additional information. (Note that the 149(5) certificate does not provide additional heritage information.)
The form to apply for a planning certificate is available from the Applications and Forms under the Development tab.
The advantages of heritage listing a property are as follows:
Further information on what a heritage listing means to a property owner is available from the publication Heritage Listing Explained - what it means for youpublished by the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage and available here.
The following is a summary of the types of development affected by a heritage listing and the implications of such a listing:
All demolition for any building (whether heritage listed or not) requires the approval of Council.
There is nothing in the Local Environmental Plan which states that a heritage item can not be demolished. However, where, upon assessment, a building or structure is found to have significance, and does not have structural problems or any other cost associated with it which would make it unreasonable to retain, then under these circumstances, Council may refuse to grant approval for demolition of an item.
Where an application is made to demolish a heritage item, Council is required to refer these applications to the Heritage Office within the Department of Planning for their comment, prior to the application being determined.
It is important to recognise, however, that this is not a concurrence provision (except for items listed on the State Heritage Register).
In some instances the retention of items may be potentially harmful to the community, or, would entail such an unreasonable cost that restoration or maintenance of the property or building is insupportable. Under these circumstances Council may consider approving demolition.
It may be the case though that it would be of value to the community to have some kind of record of the building or structure’s existence. It is for this reason that a listing in the Town Plan (Council’s LEP) can be important, so as to prevent the loss of knowledge or history associated with the Shire. As a condition of approval for demolition, Council can require that photographs and details of the site, its operation, owners etc. be supplied to Council. In this way knowledge about a certain item can be retained without the need to retain the item itself.
Extensions & Alterations
Prior to the changes made to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (in 1997), one of the main differences between having a building listed as an item of environmental heritage and not having it listed, was the requirement to obtain development consent for alterations and additions. Now, however, development consent is required for alterations and additions regardless of the status of the building (with the exception of ‘exempt development’).
One of the main considerations in assessing an application for an extension or alteration is to ensure that the significance of the building or property is not diminished by the proposed works. This can depend on a number of factors including:
This does not mean that extensions have to replicate the style and proportions of the same era as the building. What it does mean is that any works should be compatible with the building and not detract from it nor diminish its significance.
Maintenance and Minor Works
Whilst you do not need to put in a development application for maintenance or minor works, you do need to inform Council in writing of what you intend to do and you must await a response from Council before work commences. Maintenance is defined in the WLEP 2010 in relation to a heritage item, Aboriginal object or Aboriginal place of heritage significance, or a building, work, archaeological site, tree or place within a heritage conservation area, as "ongoing protective care, but does not include the removal or disturbance of existing fabric, alterations (such as carrying out extensions or additions) or the introduction of new materials or technology". Repainting of existing painted surfaces can be included as maintenance and minor works can include minor repairs to building (for example, replacement of fascias, and can even include replacement of roofs where like materials as the ones being replaced are used. Routine maintenance which does not involve a change to the building or site (such as lawn mowing, cleaning, inpsection of gutters) does not require reference to Council nor development consent.
Where an item such as a garden has been listed, the ordinary day to day maintenance and replanting of garden beds would not require approval. The removal of significant mature trees, however, or changing the form of a garden designed in a certain style, would require consent.
Other than normal property maintenance, it is not expected that owners are required to take any special care of the property. Only properties listed on the State Heritage Register (not Council’s Town Plan/LEP) are required to meet minimum standards of maintenance and repair. More information on State Heritage Register listings is available from the Heritage Division of the Office of Environment and Heritage.
Links to More Information
The website of the Heritage Branch of the Office of Environment and Heritage contains a wealth of heritage information including a list of all the heritage items in the State (State Heritage Inventory) and those that are listed as State heritage significant (State Heritage Register), directories of heritage consultants and heritage services, and a number of publications on heritage generally and specific aspects of heritage and conservation. Links to these pages are provided below.
State Heritage Inventory and State Heritage Register (external link)
Heritage Consultants Directory (external link)
Conservation Products and Services Directory (external link)
Heritage Publications (external link)
For more information on heritage matters, contact Council's Strategic Planning section on:
Telephone: (02) 4868-0888