Culture and heritage

Heritage

What is the State Heritage Register?

The State Heritage Register is a list of places and objects of particular importance to the people of NSW.

The register lists a diverse range of over 1,650 items, in both private and public ownership. To be listed, an item must be significant for the whole of NSW.

The register was created in 1999.

What is 'state significant'?

A place or object is state significant if it is important for the whole of NSW.

Heritage items may be valued by particular groups in the community, such as Aboriginal communities, religious groups or people with a common ethnic background.

The Heritage Council has developed criteria (criteria.pdf, 87KB) to help establish whether an item is state significant.

Some places and items may not reach the threshold for listing on the State Heritage Register but may be of local heritage significance within a local government area.

What kinds of heritage items are listed on the State Heritage Register?

The State Heritage Register lists a diverse range of places, buildings and objects including: Aboriginal places, buildings, objects, monuments, gardens, natural landscapes, archaeological sites, shipwrecks, relics, streets, industrial structures, public buildings, shops, factories, houses, religious buildings, schools, conservation precincts, jetties, bridges and movable items such as church organs and ferries.

It is not only grand mansions or well-known public buildings that are listed on the State Heritage Register. Many different kinds of historical evidence and remains provide information to help us understand our past and present.

What does it mean for a place to be listed on the State Heritage Register?

Listing on the State Heritage Register means that the heritage item:

  • is of particular importance to the people of NSW and enriches our understanding of our history and identity
  • is legally protected as a heritage item under the NSW Heritage Act 1977
  • requires approval from the Heritage Council of NSW for major changes
  • is eligible for financial incentives from the NSW and Commonwealth governments.

How are items added to the State Heritage Register?

Here's how special places and objects are added to the State Heritage Register:

  1. The Heritage Division works with the community, as well as local councils and State government agencies, to identify significant heritage places and objects.
  2. If there is enough evidence for an item to be considered for listing, the Heritage Council calls for community comment so that everyone has the opportunity to have their say about a proposed item.
  3. A place or object is listed on the State Heritage Register when the Minister agrees to the Heritage Council's recommendation that it is of State heritage significance.

You can check proposed listings which are now open for public comment.

Nominating an item

Anyone can nominate a place or object for listing on the State Heritage Register. Go to our page on Nominating for State Heritage Listing to find out how to submit a nomination form.

Remember that before submitting any formal nomination to the Heritage Division, you should consult with your local council and key agencies about existing statutory protection and seek the advice of the Heritage Division.

Can an Item be removed from the State Heritage Register?

Yes, there is a process for de-listing items. The Heritage Council considers any item proposed for removal and makes a recommendation to the Minister.

How can I access the State Heritage Register?

The State Heritage Register is managed by the Heritage Division. You can check listings on the State Heritage Register through the NSW heritage databases.

What kind of information can I find on the NSW heritage databases?

The NSW heritage databases contain over 27,000 statutorily-listed heritage items in New South Wales. This includes items protected by heritage schedules to local environmental plans (LEPs), regional environmental plans (REPs) or by the State Heritage Register.

The information is supplied by local councils and State agencies and includes basic identification details and listing information. Consequently listings should be confirmed with the responsible agency.

If you want more detailed information on local heritage items, you will need to refer to the heritage study for that area. This should be available from the local library or the council planning department.

To expand the amount and quality of information being placed on the State Heritage Inventory, State and local government agencies and heritage professionals undertaking heritage studies or compiling heritage registers are provided with free data entry software and training from the Heritage Division.

Page last updated: 06 September 2013