6.2 Historic heritage
- DECCW's Historic Heritage Information Management System (HHIMS) contains information on over 9000 heritage sites and moveable heritage collections in NSW.
- Park managers report that, compared to 2004, the number of parks reporting increasing impacts on historic heritage has reduced by three-quarters (from 82 parks in 2004 to 28 parks)
- DECCW manages 15 historic sites which are specifically dedicated to protecting and promoting cultural heritage values.
- Park managers report sufficient information to support planning and inform decision-making for historic heritage management across 84 per cent of the NSW park system.
Historic heritage is commonly used to describe heritage that is not Aboriginal heritage, although many listed historic heritage places have Aboriginal associations. DECCW is responsible for managing a variety of historic heritage places, landscapes, cultural practices and stories within the park system. This includes the physical fabric of the 1860s gold rush town at Hill End, complexes of buildings such as those at the Quarantine Station at Sydney's North Head, historic roads and bridges and moveable heritage collections.
Historic heritage is found throughout the NSW park system and 24 per cent of parks specifically identify historic heritage as one of the most important values for which the park is protected. This includes 15 historic sites which are specifically dedicated to protecting and promoting cultural heritage values.
In managing historic heritage values, DECCW's goals are to:
- gather information necessary for effective management and conservation of historic heritage
- manage evidence of past land uses in addition to specific significant historic places and landscapes, and to reflect shared histories between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people
- facilitate conservation outcomes through the sustainable use of heritage places, enabling a vibrant and living approach to heritage conservation and management.
Park managers report sufficient information to support planning and inform decision-making for historic heritage management across 84 per cent of the NSW park system. Having knowledge about the values present in a park is always a priority, along with the distribution of, threats to and appropriate management of those values.
Smokey Cape Lighthouse, Hat Head National Park
The Historic Heritage Information Management System (HHIMS) is an important tool that assists DECCW protect and conserve historic places, sites and objects of cultural heritage. The HHIMS contains information on over 9000 heritage sites and moveable heritage collections in NSW, as well as a catalogue of archaeological reports and statutory permit delegations under the Heritage Act 1977. Information stored in the HHIMS database has grown by 17 per cent since the 2004 State of the Parks report, making it an increasingly valuable resource supporting planning and decision-making for historic heritage.
Park managers report that more and more parks have a park specific planned approach to managing historic heritage. Compared to 2004, the number of parks reporting increasing impacts on historic heritage has reduced by three-quarters (from 82 parks in 2004 to 28 parks).
DECCW manages 15 declared historic sites across NSW. Historic sites such as Cadmans Cottage Historic Site, Davidson Whaling Station Historic Site and Mutawintji Historic Site are declared to protect and conserve areas associated with a person, event or historical theme, or containing a building, place, feature or landscape of cultural heritage significance. All declared historic sites managed primarily to protect their historic heritage values report their most important places, sites and objects are in either in good or excellent condition.
Each year, the DECCW manages major planning, works and maintenance projects to ensure significant heritage is conserved. Much of this work is funded through the Heritage Assets Maintenance Program (HAMP), which considers:
- the heritage significance of the place or landscape
- the ability of the place to contribute to regional and rural economies and communities
- the potential of the place to be used.
Planning for historic places has increasingly focused on cultural landscapes. The emphasis is on an integrated management approach, taking account of historic, Aboriginal, and natural heritage values.
Connecting history, heritage and reserve management
Recent research by DECCW has illustrated the nature of people's attachment to landscape, the process of attachment and practical guidance as to how parks can be better managed to help conserve community heritage.
Cultural landscapes: connecting history, heritage and reserve management is a project that studies historical heritage items at a landscape scale in NSW parks, and links these items with each other and with their human and ecological history. Items include tangible heritage (physical historical evidence) and intangible heritage (beliefs, stories and knowledge).
Traditionally, heritage objects and structures have been studied as ends in themselves, rather than as material traces of history and part of broader physical and social landscapes. The NSW park system provides a unique context for the management of heritage as it comprises broad landscapes rather than individual and isolated sites. Through research such as this, DECCW is aiming to integrate management of natural and cultural heritage, including both Aboriginal and settler heritage.
Case studies are being conducted in three parks to develop, apply and test a preferred cultural landscape approach to historic heritage management in NSW reserves. The case study areas are:
Page last updated: 20 September 2012