The heritage of the community includes all the written and oral histories and traditions of that community. It includes artifacts, the built environment, the cultural landscapes, and the transport routes of the distant and recent past.
Heritage items are valuable resources which are becoming increasingly rare. Places of heritage significance provide a link to the past, informing us about our cultural history and often provide a sense of identity for a community. They may consist of landscapes, places, buildings, structures, relics or works which are valued not simply because they are old, but because they are associated with phases of history, or people and events of great importance.
There are number of important historical phases and attributes that have contributed to the present day heritage value of the Baulkham Hills Shire. These include:
- European exploration,
- Aboriginal heritage,
- Early road systems and convict labour,
- Settlement and mixed agriculture,
- Small farms along the Hawkesbury River,
- Orchard development,
- Subdivision, townships, and country retreats,
- Religion and social development,
The above historical themes not only characterise the Shire but are also of importance within the Sydney Region. The majority of buildings and sites which have been identified as heritage items provide important physical evidence and reminders of these themes allowing the community and future generations to interpret or better understand the history of the Shire. They are attributes that make Baulkham Hills Shire of heritage significance to the local community, the Sydney Region, and the State.
Who is Responsible for Heritage?
Local Councils have the primary responsibility for identifying and managing places of heritage significance in New South Wales. In particular, the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979 requires all local Councils to protect heritage items and conservation areas through their identification in planning instruments.
Baulkham Hills Council commissioned heritage consultants to undertake a Shire-wide Heritage Study which has identified a base inventory of all buildings, places or sites which are considered to be of local, regional or state significance.
Special provisions apply to these heritage items to ensure their protection, and that any changes are undertaken in a manner which is sympathetic to the style and character of the existing item and its setting.
The Local Government Act 1993, reinforces these responsibilities and importantly requires Council approval for the demolition of any building, regardless of its heritage status. This Development Control Plan has also been prepared to assist owners or design professionals in submitting applications involving the Shire's heritage.
Baulkham Hills Council has staff experienced in heritage matters who are available to discuss or explain what the heritage provisions of Council's planning instrument or development control plan mean in practical terms.
As part of Council's ongoing commitment to promoting the conservation of the Shire's heritage, a number of initiatives have been established to aid the preservation of all heritage items. These include the Heritage Advisory Service and the Heritage Assistance Fund.
The Heritage Advisory Service
Council employs a Heritage Advisor who provides specialist input and advice on heritage conservation matters in the Shire. The advisor may provide comment on development applications involving heritage conservation matters in the Shire. The advisor may provide comment on development applications involving heritage items, participate in the development of policies and guidelines for heritage, and also provide professional advice to owners of heritage properties.
Heritage Assistance Fund
It is acknowledged that the maintenance and conservation of heritage items often requires a greater level of resources and care than more modern buildings. In recognition of this, Council has established a Heritage Assistance Fund to provide financial assistance to property owners in maintaining identified heritage items. The fund is also intended to encourage the conservation of heritage items and promote a greater understanding and awareness of heritage within the Shire.
Applications for funding will be called annually with a total of $20,000 available. The maximum level of funding per project is $2,000 provided on a 'dollar-for-dollar' contribution basis. To be eligible for funding:
The item should be currently listed as a heritage item under the Baulkham Hills LEP 1991.
Applications must only be for appropriate conservation work, with priority given to the following projects:
- the repair, maintenance or reinstatement of original or missing elements on buildings or in their garden setting;
- the repair, maintenance or reinstatement of traditional fences;
- structural stabilisation of buildings or ruins; or
- the re-painting of buildings in traditional period heritage colours.
There are around 100 properties within the Shire of Baulkham Hills that are considered to be of heritage significance. Most heritage items in the Shire are private residences, while other items include archaeological sites, farm buildings, schools and churches.
Some of these items are not only significant to Baulkham Hills Shire, but to the state of New South Wales and the Nation. These include:
Bella Vista Farm,
Heritage Park and
The Great North Road (Old Northern Road)