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 following pages provide information about heritage in the Wingecarribee Shire, including development on heritage properties (including those within heritage conservation areas), heritage studies and where to go to find out more information about heritage sites.

Recent history

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. 

Is my property heritage?

The local heritage of the Wingecarribee Shire is managed through the Wingecarribee Local Environmental Plan (WLEP) 2010. Clause 5.10 of the WLEP 2010 contains the planning controls for heritage places and Schedule 5 lists the statutory heritage items, archaeological sites and heritage conservation areas in the Wingecarribee Shire.

Heritage sites and areas are mapped on the Heritage Map that forms part of the WLEP 2010 and can also be viewed via the NSW Planning Portal Spatial Viewer where you can search by property address and the ability to display a range of planning and related information about a property including zoning, bush fire hazard, flooding and heritage listings (including State Heritage Register items of State heritage significance).

Confirmation of any heritage and other planning information can be obtained in writing by applying for a planning certificate (in accordance with section 10.7 of the Environment Planning and Assessment Act 1979 [formerly section 149]).

A planning certificate will state—among other things—whether your property is a heritage item or within a conservation area. There are two types of certificates: a section 10.7(2) which provides the statutory information and a section 10.7(2) & (5) which provides additional information. (Note that the 10.7(5) certificate does not provide additional heritage information.