Every society has certain places and objects that connect us with our past and give us a sense of our cultural identity.

They are the things that we would like to pass on to future generations so that they too will understand what came before them. Heritage consists of those things we have inherited and would like to keep.

In Australia there are two basic categories of heritage items:

  1. Natural heritage refers to the physical forms of the terrestrial and aquatic environment.
  2. Cultural heritage is the historical evidence, artefacts and beliefs of Aboriginal peoples, people who have had contact with the Australian continent and people who have been born here or who have settled here. Buildings, relics (both on land and in water), works, places, streets, towns, landscapes and movable items can all be items of cultural heritage.

Levels of heritage significance

Heritage significance indicates an item's importance in a particular geographical area. Significance can be local, state, national or world.

  • Local heritage items are significant to a particular area and are identified by council and the local community and are listed on the Local Heritage Register.
  • State significant items are significant for the State of NSW and are listed on the State Heritage Register.
  • Nationally significant items are significant to Australia and are listed on the National Heritage List by the Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage.
  • World Heritage items are globally recognised examples of natural and cultural heritage that are managed by an international convention and are listed on the World Heritage List.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Why is heritage important in Campbelltown?

Campbelltown was inhabited by Aboriginal people who spoke the Dharawal language. Campbelltown has a rich Aboriginal history and over 350 sites, places and relics have been documented.

Campbelltown was one of the first areas of European settlement in the colony of New South Wales. The area contains a number of heritage items which are significant to the community. Some of these heritage items are also recognised as State significant.

What is Council's role in heritage?

Council has rules that set out objectives and controls to conserve heritage items, heritage conservation areas, archaeological sites and places of Aboriginal significance. Council also has the capacity to consider new heritage item listings.

A complete list of the heritage items within the Campbelltown Local Government Area is available from the Local Heritage Register.

What does heritage listing mean?

Heritage listing doesn't mean that owners can't make changes to their property. It does mean that certain kinds of work require Council approval and sometimes approval by the NSW Heritage Council.

Such work includes:

  • Alterations and additions
  • New development
  • Excavation
  • Demolition

Formal approval is not ordinarily required for routine minor maintenance such as guttering and roofing repairs. However, it is always best to check with the Council before doing work.

Private owners of heritage buildings can apply for a grant of up to $2000 for approved heritage restoration projects each financial year through the Local Heritage Fund.

How does Council assess development proposals relating to heritage?

When assessing a development proposal, Council assesses all environmental impacts such as site suitability and social and economic impacts.

The heritage significance of the item or place, and the extent to which the proposed development will impact on heritage values, are also considered.

What is adaptive re-use?

Adaptive re-use means retaining a building, item or place but using it for a different purpose. This is sometimes a good method of retaining heritage items that have outlived their original function or that have fallen into disrepair.

A new use may encourage heritage items to continue to be used, occupied and maintained. Special approval requirements apply and enquiries should be made with Council to discuss specific proposals relating to the use of Heritage Items .

How can an item be suggested for heritage listing?

  • Check our Local Heritage Register or contact us to find out if the item or place is already listed or proposed to be listed.
  • If the item or place is not listed or proposed for listing, send a letter to us providing as much information as possible and the reasons why you believe the item or place is significant.
  • We will then investigate the item or place.

What is the process for having a property or item heritage listed?

The process for listing local items requires us to do the following:

  • Carry out a preliminary investigation and determine whether the item or place has sufficient merit for consideration for listing
  • Notify the affected owner of the listing proposal and seek the owner's agreement to pursue the listing
  • Undertake further investigations to determine the heritage significance of the item or place
  • Invite and consider public submissions on the proposed listing

If Council resolves to proceed with the listing, we will:

  • Include the item or place in the draft local environmental plan and seek approval from the Minister for Planning
  • Notify the owner and each person who made a submission of the outcome
  • Update our Local Heritage Register

A similar process is used for listing items of State significance.

More information about State listing can be obtained by contacting the NSW Heritage Office on 02 9873 8500.

Where can I find assistance and further information?

For development proposals relating to heritage items or conservation areas, professional advice should be obtained from a suitably qualified architect and/or heritage consultant.

Free advice: fire safety, access and services in heritage buildings

The Fire, Access and Service Advisory Panel is the Heritage Council's expert technical panel. It provides councils, government agencies and property owners with free advice on how to upgrade heritage buildings to meet legal requirements for fire safety, access for people with disabilities, and other building services, while retaining the building's heritage significance.

Visit the Office of Environment and Heritage website for more information about the Panel including its terms of reference, membership, an application form for advice, and other useful resources.