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Heritage in the Hawkesbury

The Hawkesbury is an area that is rich in heritage.

Community participation is essential to heritage conservation.

As one of the earliest settled areas in Australia, the area contains a wealth of irreplaceable history and has significance to the local and broader community for many reasons including their spiritual or social qualities and value, historic or aesthetic value.

Council takes into consideration heritage significance when making decisions on development and also has a role in providing events and promoting awareness of both state and locally listed heritage items in the area.

Further information relating to heritage in the Hawkesbury is provided below.

Heritage Advisory Committee

Council has a Heritage Advisory Committee who assist Council in its endeavours to manage our rich and significant heritage.  The Committee is an advisory committee with community members who have an interest and/or background in heritage conservation and.  The Committee works within Council’s framework to contribute to the decision-making processes for heritage related matters.

Key roles of the Heritage Advisory Committee include:

  • Advise Council about heritage assistance, grant applications review and recommendations.
  • Provide advice and make recommendations to Council for the nomination, deletion of Heritage Listed items from the Hawkesbury Local Environmental Plan and advice on management of heritage within the Hawkesbury local government area to encourage their conservation.
  • Provide advice in terms of promotion of heritage within the Hawkesbury
  • Act as a reference group and peer review body for heritage surveys, conservation reports, planning studies and other heritage related bodies of work.

Hawkesbury’s Heritage Advisory Committee play a very important role by enabling the Hawkesbury community to participate more directly in heritage management.

The term of the Heritage Advisory Committee aligns with the term for the elected Councillors on Hawkesbury City Council and nominations for HAC membership are publicly advertised shortly after the formation of a new Council.

Free Heritage Advisory Service

Council provides a Heritage Advisory Service, which includes free advice from Council’s Heritage Advisor to owners of heritage-listed properties and properties within conservation areas.

The Heritage Advisor is available to provide advice on issues such as:

  • Pre-DA advice on heritage items and sites within a conservation area (or adjacent to a heritage item or conservation area)
  • General advice on development constraints due to heritage listing (e.g. pre-purchase advice)
  • Appropriate maintenance of heritage items.

To request an appointment with Council’s Heritage Advisor please complete the Request for Heritage Consultation and Advice Form.

Hawkesbury Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Study

Aboriginal cultural heritage encompasses the living, traditional or historical practices, ancestral remains, representations, expressions, beliefs, knowledge and skills—and associated environment, places, landscapes, objects and materials—valued by Aboriginal people as culturally meaningful.

Hawkesbury City Council is currently developing the Hawkesbury Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Study. As part of the Study, Council has commenced engagement with various Aboriginal representative groups and individuals in order to understand Aboriginal cultural heritage - further details will be released as the Study progresses.

The Hawkesbury - A Thematic History

The Hawkesbury Local Government Area encompasses landscapes and buildings of great cultural significance for Australians.

It holds almost legendary significance in the process of the formation of the first European settlement on the continent, because it was on the alluvial flats of the Hawkesbury that the prospect of famine and starvation for the colony was fundamentally changed, largely by the efforts of the emancipists themselves, to a more enterprising and productive future. The Hawkesbury – A Thematic History details the underlying forces that have shaped the area and influenced its development.

Heritage Items and Conservation Areas

Schedule 5 of the Hawkesbury Local Environmental Plan 2012 lists the Heritage Items and Conservation Areas within the Hawkesbury Local Government Area.

Further details in terms of Heritage Listings including:

  • Declared Aboriginal Places
  • Items listed on the State Heritage Register
  • Listed Interim Heritage Orders
  • Items on State Agency Heritage Registers, and,
  • Items listed of local heritage significance on a local council’s Local Environmental Plan.

can be accessed via the NSW Heritage Database

Heritage of Western Sydney App

Sydney’s first European settlement in 1788 was along the waterways, starting from Sydney Harbour, then the Parramatta River and soon after along the river systems of the Hawkesbury Nepean Rivers.

This App examines the earliest colonial settlements along these river systems and spans the local government areas of Hawkesbury, Penrith, Liverpool and Camden Councils.

This combined area has been named “HoWS” being an abbreviation of “Heritage of Western Sydney”.

The overall HoWS area retains the largest group of early Colonial European heritage assets in Australia and include buildings, farmhouses, churches, cemeteries, roads, bridges, public squares, landscapes as well as many other heritage items.

The HoWS App enables you to explore these wonderful hidden treasures of our Colonial past, whether by motor vehicle, or by bike or by foot. It can range from a short few hours, a full day or even a whole weekend tour.

The free app is available for download via iTunes , Android or GooglePlay.

Slab Barn Study 2010

The Slab Barn Study 2010 identified that at least 106 slab barns and or slab outbuildings are located throughout the Hawkesbury area.

Many of these potentially early barns are located from Freemans Reach along the Hawkesbury River to Wilberforce and Pitt Town and are worthy of further detailed documentary and physical investigation.

Some of the barns identified could be worthy of State if not National heritage listing as the earliest rural timber structures remaining in Australia.

The Slab Barn Study 2010 can be viewed here.

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