Culture and heritage

Heritage of NSW

Built heritage

What is built heritage?

Built heritage is one of our most important cultural assets. It represents the historical layers of our built environment in places made of brick, plaster, wood, metal and stone. Built heritage includes cathedrals and cemeteries, factories and fences, houses and hotels, museums and markets. It includes areas, precincts and streetscapes. It is the physical evidence of our cultural development. Built heritage within our urban and regional neighborhoods is a key to the understanding of our shared history.

Built heritage describes our origins and informs our understandings of who we are today. It helps to define a sense of place, an identity for a community. It can contribute to feelings of connectedness, and community pride and confidence. Heritage can excite curiosity about our past and enrich our daily lives. Built heritage is not just about beautiful or significant historic buildings but also includes small, modest vernacular buildings that reflect the social conditions of working families. It encompases a wide range of familiar and historical landmarks that are important in creating and sustaining a strong sense of belonging and attachment in our society.

Many heritage buildings are used for functions and services that did not exist when they were built. The richness of places and people's attachment to them grows from their everyday use. This heritage presents an active, living cultural resource with social meanings invested in them by the residents. They are important ingredients of collective sentiments, of the feeling that 'this is our place'

Heritage and development

Is modern development compatible with the conservation of our built heritage? In the past, particularly following the two world wars, a considerable amount of built heritage was demolished to enable the construction of new buildings in concrete, steel and glass. However much heritage has survived and now forms an important part of our built environment. This built heritage maintains a link with the past, enhancing both our quality of life and strengthening our cultural identity.

Owning heritage buildings

The main reason people purchase heritage buildings is because they like them. And they like them for all sorts of reasons. It may be because of their character, or well established gardens. They may have wonderful settings or pose the challenge of restoration, which so many people relish. Read the Heritage Listing Explained - What it means for you (heritagelisting2010final.pdf, 2.5MB) brochure to find out what heritage listing really means and its advantages for homeowners.

Development is an integral part of any society. In fact, past development now provides us with the built heritage we now enjoy and appreciate. One of the key challenges for the Heritage Council is to preserve significant structures and sites that promote identity and continuity of place, without impeding development that meets our needs in the 21st Century. The most significant elements of this modern layer of development will eventually form part of the built heritage of later generations.

The site at Circular Quay was chosen in 1843 to house the Customs Service for the rapidly growing colony of New South Wales. The building has been modified by successive colonial architects. In recent years a modern roof was added to the restaurant on the top floor.

The site at Circular Quay was chosen in 1843 to house the Customs Service for the rapidly growing colony of New South Wales. The building has been modified by successive colonial architects. In recent years a modern roof was added to the restaurant on the top floor.

Armidale Post Office is part of an important historic precinct in the city of Armidale, centred on the Beardy/Faulkner Streets intersection

Armidale Post Office is part of an important historic precinct in the city of Armidale, centred on the Beardy/Faulkner Streets intersection.

Page last updated: 01 September 2012