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 around 1820.
Properties such as Throsby Park, Oldbury, Vine Lodge and Wingecarribbee 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 (LEPs).
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. 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:
Heritage Items and Conservation Areas
Confirming Heritage & Other Planning Information
A planning certificate under section 10.7 (previously 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.10.7(2) and s.10.7(2) & (5), the latter providing additional information. (Note that the 10.7(5) certificate does not provide additional heritage information.)
The Benefits of Owning a Property Listed as an Item of Environmental Heritage
The advantages of heritage listing a property are as follows:
- It provides certainty for owners, neighbours and intending purchasers. This is important when people are looking for a particular environment in which to live and work. It explains why certain suburbs, towns, villages and rural properties are sought after as places in which to live and work. This is an important issue in Wingecarribee and many of our towns and villages contain heritage items and heritage conservation areas.
- Protection of an item also requires Council to consider the effect of any proposed development in the area surrounding heritage items on that item.
- It confirms a heritage status that many people are proud of and is useful for many commercial operators for use in advertising e.g. bed and breakfast places. Listing often provides information on the history and style of the item not known to the owner.
- Through flexibility clauses (such as clause 5.10(10) of the Wingecarribee Local Environmental Plan 2010) owners of heritage items can apply for otherwise non-conforming or prohibited uses where conservation of the heritage item can be demonstrated.
- It enables free access to Council’s heritage advisory service.
- It enables potential savings through special heritage valuations. If a property is listed on Council’s Local Environmental Plan, a property owner can request a heritage valuation for land tax purposes through the Valuer General NSW. This can result in a reduction in land tax. It also means properties are given a discounted property value by the the Valuer General NSW for rating purposes, thereby reducing Council rates. For more information visit the website of the Valuer General NSW.
- It enables priority access to heritage grants through both the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) and from Council. Listing is a requirement for all OEH funding.
- Real estate advertising suggests that heritage properties are considered a plus and that they command a premium price in many markets including the residential market, country towns, villages and farms.
Further information on what a heritage listing means to a property owner is available from the publication Heritage Listing Explained - what it means for you published by Heritage NSW.
Implications of Heritage Listing on Future Development
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.
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 Local Environmental Plan 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 will usually 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
Except for certain types of 'Exempt Development' (under State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008) alterations and additions to heritage items and within heritage conservation areas require consent.
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:
- Size and scale of the proposed extension;
- Location of the extension;
- Materials and finishes;
- Style; and
- Impact upon the streetscape; etc.
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, inspection 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 (as distinct from Council's Local Environmental Plan) are required to meet minimum standards of maintenance and repair. More information on State Heritage Register listings is available from the Heritage NSW website.
What is a Heritage Item?
A heritage item is something which has been assessed as having at least local significance using the heritage assessment criteria in the NSW Heritage Manual.
An item will be considered to be of State (or local) heritage significance if it meets one or more of the following criteria:
Criterion (a): Historical
An item is important in the course, or pattern, of NSW's cultural or natural history (or the cultural or natural history of the local area) .
Criterion (b): Associational
An item has a strong or special association with the life or works of a person, or group of persons, of importance in NSW's cultural or natural history (or the cultural or natural history of the local area).
Criterion (c): Aesthetic
An item is important in demonstrating aesthetic characteristics and/or a high degree of creative or technical achievement in NSW (or the local area).
Criterion (d): Social
An item has strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group in NSW (or the local area) for social, cultural or spiritual reasons.
Criterion (e): Research
An item has the potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of NSW's cultural or natural history (or the cultural or natural history of the local area).
Criterion (f): Rarity
An item possesses uncommon, rare or endangered aspects of NSW's cultural or natural history (or the cultural or natural history of the local area).
Criterion (g): Representativeness
An item is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a class of NSW's (or the local area's) cultural or natural places or environments.
Every potential heritage item must be assessed against all criteria, but rarely will items be significant under all criteria. Once the heritage significance of an item is established, Council must undertake the statutory process (including public exhibition and consultation) of amending its Local Environmental Plan (LEP) in order to add the item to the heritage schedule. This process is called the Planning Proposal process. More information on the Planning Proposal process can be accessed here.
There are currently more than 330 heritage items within the Wingecarribee Shire and these are listed within Schedule 5 of the WLEP 2010. These items are also shown on the Heritage Maps associated with WLEP 2010 (available for viewing only on the NSW Legislation website and clicking on the maps link).
What is a Heritage Conservation Area?
A heritage conservation area (HCA) is an area that displays unifying attributes or elements of heritage significance and can include whole sections of towns and villages.
There are 17 HCAs within the Wingecarribee Shire, as listed under Part 2 of Schedule 5 of the WLEP 2010, as follows:
- Berrima Conservation Area
- Berrima Landscape Conservation Area
- Bowral Conservation Area
- Bundanoon Conservation Area
- Anglewood Conservation Area (Burradoo)
- Burradoo Landscape Conservation Area
- Burrawang Conservation Area
- Joadja Conservation Area
- Mittagong Conservation Area
- The Maltings Conservation Area (Mittagong)
- Argyle Street North Conservation Area (Moss Vale)
- Argyle and Browley Streets Conservation Area (Moss Vale)
- East Street Conservation Area (Moss Vale)
- Throsby and Arthur Streets Conservation Area (Moss Vale)
- Throsby Park Conservation Area (Moss Vale)
- Valetta Street Conservation Area (Moss Vale)
- Aitken Road Conservation Area (Bowral)
The HCAs are shown on the Heritage Maps associated with WLEP 2010 available for viewing only on the NSW Legislation website and clicking on the maps link.
What is the State Heritage Register?
Established in 1999, the State Heritage Register is a list of places that have particular importance to the people of NSW. The list includes places that have been assessed as having importance to NSW as a whole and these places can be in either public or private ownership. Items for the Register are assessed by the NSW Heritage Council and administered by the Heritage Division of the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.
There are currently 40 places within the Wingecarribee Shire that are on the State Heritage Register ranging from Throsby Park in Moss Vale to the Berrima Internment Group in Berrima to the Mount Gibraltar Quarries Complex in Bowral.
Further information about the State Heritage Register can be obtained from the Heritage NSW website.
Wingecarribee Shire Council has been given delegation from the Minister to issue Interim Heritage Orders (IHOs) to provide protection under the NSW Heritage Act 1977 for “a place, building, work, relic, moveable object or precinct in the council’s area that the council considers may, on further inquiry or investigation, be found to be of local heritage significance, and that the council considers is being or is likely to be harmed” (section 25 of the Heritage Act).
Council has recently issued two Interim Heritage Orders for properties in Myrtle Street, Bowral, and Elizabeth Street, Moss Vale. Both IHOs were published in the NSW Government Gazette on 19 November 2021, and they are in force from that date. These IHOs are valid until 19 May 2021 unless Council makes a resolution before that date to include them in the heritage schedule (Schedule 5) of the Wingecarribee Local Environmental Plan 2010 (through the preparation of a Planning Proposal), in which case, the protection of these items under the Heritage Act extends for a further six months, for a total of 12 months. The properties affected by each of these IHOs are listed below.
Interim Heritage Order No. 12 – 2 & 4 Myrtle Street, Bowral (Lot 1 DP 840484; Lot 1 DP 741837)
Interim Heritage Order No. 13 – ‘Karingal’, 26 Elizabeth Street, Moss Vale (Lot 1 DP 986025 and Lot 110 DP 877316)
The Interim Heritage Orders can be viewed in the NSW Government Gazette of 19 November 2021:
The Wingecarribee Heritage Study 1991
The original study for the Wingecarribee Shire was commissioned in 1990 by the Heritage Council of NSW, the Department of Planning and Wingecarribee Shire Council and was undertaken by JRC Planning Services. This study examined the heritage of the Wingecarribee Shire, provided recommendations about the conservation and management of heritage and recommended a list of heritage items, which were subsequently listed in the Local Environmental Plan (LEP) of the day: the Wingecarribee LEP 1989.
Volume 1 (comprising Introduction, Historical Context, Overview of Heritage Resources and Assessment of Significance, and Heritage Conservation Strategy) of the study can be accessed from the links below. It has been broken into 4 parts for ease of downloading.
Wingecarribee Heritage Study 1991 - Vol. 1 - Part 1 of 4(PDF, 4MB)
Wingecarribee Heritage Study 1991 - Vol. 1 - Part 2 of 4(PDF, 4MB)
Wingecarribee Heritage Study 1991 - Vol. 1 - Part 3 of 4(PDF, 4MB)
Wingecarribee Heritage Study 1991 - Vol. 1 - Part 4 of 4(PDF, 2MB)
The Wingecarribee Heritage Survey
In early 2008, Council embarked on a project to investigate the heritage significance of approximately 700 new buildings and places within the Wingecarribee Shire as potential new heritage items.
These sites had been identified for further investigation through earlier heritage studies and reports, through Land Use Applications received by Council, by Council’s Heritage Advisor and planners, and nomination by members of the local community.
Council engaged heritage consultants to research each identified site and to evaluate its heritage significance. The consultants have recommended that nearly 400 of the investigated properties be made heritage items under the Wingecarribee Local Environmental Plan (WLEP) 2010.
Council resolved on 8 February 2012 to notify the owners of these identified properties to inform them of the consultants’ findings and to provide an opportunity for them to discuss the implications of heritage listing with Council officers. These notifications and consultations commenced in February 2012.
In July 2012 Council, at its Ordinary Meeting of 11 July 2012, resolved to defer a decision on this report pending further consultation with owners.
Further consultations and requests for feedback were undertaken with property owners and these were reported to Council on 28 November 2012. Council resolved to heritage list Council owned and controlled properties and those whose owners support heritage listing and this was effected through Amendment No. 40 to the Wingecarribee Local Environmental Plan 2010. The other properties have been deferred pending the preparation of a comprehensive Heritage Assistance and Education Programme for the Shire.
The Heritage Items Planning Proposal (2015) - Wingecarribee Local Environmental Plan 2010 (Amendment No. 40)
In 2014, a Planning Proposal was prepared to add the new heritage items to the list of existing heritage items in Schedule 5 of the WLEP 2010. On 10 March 2017 Amendment No. 40 to Wingecarribee Local Environmental Plan 2010 commenced which added over 80 new heritage items. A copy of the Amendment can be accessed here(PDF, 145KB) , and the updated version of the Wingecarribee Local Environmental Plan 2010 can be accessed from the Legislation NSW website.
Heritage Strategy 2019-21
As part of Council's acceptance of State Government funding under the Local Government Heritage Management Program, Council has prepared and adopted a 3-year heritage strategy. The Wingecarribee Shire Heritage Strategy 2019-21(PDF, 108KB) was adopted by Council on 24 July 2019.
Applications for the 2021/22 round of the Wingecarribee Heritage Grants are now closed. The next round of funding will be offered in mid - 2022 for the 2022/23 round of grants.
To manage an application in progress, go to https://wingecarribee.smartygrants.com.au/ and use your SmartyGrant credentials to login to your account.
The Wingecarribee Heritage Assistance Grants scheme is run annually and is proudly funded by Wingecarribee Shire Council with funding from the NSW Government. This scheme offers small grants to owners of recognised heritage properties to undertake minor repairs, maintenance work and works to meet Building Code of Australia upgrades.
The grants, which are awarded on a dollar-for-dollar basis, are offered to non-government owners of:
- Heritage listed properties
- Properties within heritage conservation areas
- Properties identified as draft heritage items or within a draft heritage conservation area
- Properties identified as potential heritage items or that have been assessed as having heritage significance.
Priority for the allocation of funding assistance is generally given to:
- Heritage places requiring urgent maintenance;
- Heritage buildings in conservation areas;
- Heritage places with public access and visibility;
- Projects where owners are experiencing difficulties in funding works to a heritage standard;
- Projects for fire, access and services upgrades;
- Projects involving part of a heritage group or precinct;
- Aspects of heritage that have received little or no funding;
- Projects that set an example and encourage conservation of other heritage items;
- Projects that have not received recent funding support from Council.
Grant Application and Guidelines
Each Heritage Assistance Grants round correspond with each financial year. The 2021/22 grant round is now closed, but the guidelines (which are similar year to year) are available to download below.
All applications for Wingecarribee Heritage Assistance Grants are made and submitted using an online portal called SmartyGrants. You will require a login to use this system. If you have used the SmartyGrants portal for an application previously (even if it was with a different organisation), the same login can be used. If you are using this portal for the first time you will need to create a login. For help using the SmartyGrants portal, consult the SmartyGrants Help Guide for Applicants available at https://applicanthelp.smartygrants.com.au/help-guide-for-applicants/.
Once you’ve created an application, you use the same login to manage the grant process, submit progress reports and, once the works are finished, acquit the grant. A link to the SmartyGrants portal is provided below.
The Heritage Assistance Grants Guidelines provide prospective applicants information about the scope, eligibility, priorities and selection criteria of the Heritage Assistance Grants scheme. The guidelines for the 2021/22 grant round are available for download below along with a preview of the application form which shows the information required for an application.
Guidelines for the Wingecarribee Heritage Assistance Grants 2021-2022(PDF, 253KB)
SmartyGrants Application Form Preview - Wingecarribee Heritage Assistance Grants 2021-2022(PDF, 171KB)
Wingecarribee SmartyGrants Portal
Heritage Grants 2018-19 Funded Projects(PDF, 2MB)
Heritage Grants 2017-18 Funded Projects(PDF, 932KB)
Heritage Grants 2016-17 Funded Projects(PDF, 988KB)
Heritage Grants 2015-16 Funded Projects(PDF, 375KB)
As part of the Australian Heritage Festival, Council biennially runs the Wingecarribee Heritage Awards with the assistance of the Wingecarribee Heritage Advisory Committee. The 2020 Awards have been expanded to include an urban design category and, therefore, they have been renamed the Heritage & Urban Design Awards.
Please note that the 2020 Award nominations have now closed.
The winners will be announced at a presentation at a future date to be announced (postponed from 30 April 2020).
The Heritage & Urban Design Awards program aims to recognise and celebrate projects, events and people who contribute positively to our understanding and appreciation of the heritage, history and urban design of the Southern Highlands. The Awards also serve to promote excellence in the design of new elements in a heritage or urban context, to encourage maintenance of heritage assets and heritage areas, and to recognise traditional craftsmanship.
Projects, properties and people can be nominated for a Heritage & Urban Design Award in one of 10 categories:
- Conservation of a Heritage Place (under $300,000 and over $300,000 sub-categories)
- Sympathetic Addition to a Heritage Place (under $300,000 and over $300,000 sub-categories)
- Creative Adaptation of a Heritage Place (under $300,000 and over $300,000 sub-categories)
- Excellent Urban Design
- Maintenance of a Heritage Place or Precinct
- Heritage Work by a Local or State Institution
- Heritage Trade
- Heritage Tourism Project or Initiative
- Achievement in Heritage by an Individual or Organisation.
- Contribution to an Understanding of Heritage in the Wingecarribee Shire.
Guidelines for the 2020 Awards may be downloaded below:
Heritage & Urban Design Awards 2020 Guidelines(PDF, 329KB)
Past Winners and Projects
The winners from past Heritage Awards years are available for download below as PDF documents for each year.
The Acre in Bowral (a new building in a historic urban context) was awarded an Excellence in Urban Design award at the 2018 Heritage Awards.
2018 Heritage Award Projects and Winners(PDF, 590KB)
2015 Heritage Award Projects and Winners(PDF, 590KB)
2013 Heritage Award Projects and Winners(PDF, 197KB)
Interim Heritage Orders
An interim heritage order (IHO) is a mechanism under the NSW Heritage Act 1977 which provides immediate protection over “a place, building, work, relic, moveable object or precinct in the council’s area that the council considers may, on further inquiry or investigation, be found to be of local heritage significance, and that the council considers is being or is likely to be harmed” (section 25 of the Heritage Act 1977).
Council has been given delegation from the Minister to issue its own Interim Heritage Orders and IHOs are valid for six (6) months while Council undertakes an assessment of the heritage significance of the place. If Council should decide to proceed to listing the place as a heritage item, the protection under an IHO will be extended for a further six (6) months.
Recently Issued Interim Heritage Orders
Previous Interim Heritage Orders
The following Interim Heritage Orders (IHOs) have been issued by Wingecarribee Shire Council but have now lapsed.
IHO # 1: 'Holly Cottage', 5 Blue Gum Road, Bundanoon
IHO No. 1 - published 16 January 2004. Subject property is now a heritage item listed in Schedule 5 of the WLEP 2010 (item I1718).
IHO # 2: 'Lynton', 618-620 Argyle Street, Moss Vale
IHO No. 2 - published 6 February 2004. Subject property is now a heritage item listed in Schedule 5 of the WLEP 2010 (item I413).
IHO # 3: Jackman's Cottage, 3 Governors Street, and Governors Street, Bundanoon
IHO No. 3 - published 21 December 2007 (amended 27 June 2008). Jackman's Cottage and Governors Street are now heritage items (item I1371 and I1822 respectively) listed in Schedule 5 of the WLEP 2010.
IHO # 4: 'Bethel Cottage', 38 Old Hume Highway, Mittagong
IHO No. 4 - published 7 May 2010. Subject property is now a heritage item listed in Schedule 5 of the WLEP 2010 (item I1849).
IHO # 5: 'Girraween', 53 Telopea Road, Hill Top
IHO No. 5 - published 14 May 2010. Council noted the heritage significance of the property but resolved not to list the subject site as a heritage item.
IHO # 6: 'Lynbrook', 115-129 Railway Avenue, Bundanoon
IHO No. 6 - published 16 September 2016. IHO lapsed before a heritage assessment was undertaken by Council. Is a potential heritage item.
IHO # 7: Former 'OLSH' site, 2-18 Centennial Road, Bowral
IHO No. 7 - published 19 January 2018. Council noted the heritage significance of the property but resolved not to list the subject site as a heritage item.
IHO # 8: 'Welby Park Manor', 28 Old Hume Highway, Welby
IHO No. 8 - published 21 December 2018. Council deferred consideration of the heritage assessment and the IHO lapsed on 21 June 2019. A further report recommending heritage listing of the site was considered by Council on 12 February 2020 and was deferred to "enable staff to bring back to Council further information to address Council’s concerns regarding the internal and external heritage value of the property." This matter is on hold due to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 crisis but will be progressed as soon as possible.
IHO # 9: 'Aitken Road Group Bowral', namely 25-27, 29, 31, 33-37 and 39-41 Aitken Road, Bowral
IHO No. 9 - published 18 January 2019. Council resolved on 10 July 2019 to heritage list 25-27, 33-37 and 39-41 Aitken Road as a heritage item (Aitken Road Interwar Housing Group) and create a new heritage conservation area comprising 12-30 and 25-43 Aitken Road and 56, 58 and 60 Kangaloon Road, Bowral. The Aitken Road Bowral Planning Proposal was adopted by Council on 24 June 2020 and has been submitted to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment for making. For further information, refer to: Local Environmental Plan.
IHO # 10: 'Rochester Park', 102-104 Old Wingello Road, Bundanoon
IHO No. 10 - published 22 February 2019. Council considered the matter on 14 August 2019 (item 12.5, from page 146 of the Agenda) and Council adopted the officer's recommendation to support heritage listing of ''Rochester Park' house and garden' and increase the minimum lot size of the site from 700m2 to 1 hectare (1ha). The Interim Heritage Order has now expired but the Planning Proposal has been prepared and submitted to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment for a Gateway Determination which, once issued, will allow the Planning Proposal to be put on public exhibition and submissions from the community invited.
The website of the Heritage Division of the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) 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, and other useful heritage websites, are provided below: