Culture and heritage

Heritage of NSW

Natural and cultural landscapes

Natural elements of the environment, including what some may typically think of as 'natural resources', such as ponds, rivers, particular plants, clearings, soil types, the local wildlife and hills also have cultural meanings and values.

Over tens of thousands of years, people ranging from Aboriginal peoples to our most recent migrants have settled here from so many different parts of the world and have brought with them distinctive ways of viewing nature as well as different customary ways of enjoying being in outdoor environments.

The natural environment of NSW has been modified dramatically over the past 40,000 years of human occupation, and in particular the last 200 years of European settlement. Recognizing the value in conserving our remaining natural heritage estate is vital.

Discover NSW's landscapes

The State Heritage Register includes some of the major items of natural heritage such as Lord Howe Island, the north-east rainforests, Willandra Lakes and Wingecarribee Swamp.

Our national parks are rich in history – from ancient rock-art of Aboriginal custodians to the convict buildings marking early European settlement.

Gardens can be heritage items, and collectively, form conservation areas.

Preserving and protecting our natural areas

There is a broad range of legislative and informal measures for the conservation and management of natural areas in NSW, including the NSW Heritage Act 1977 and the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

The Heritage Council works with the community and key natural resource agencies in NSW to protect our most important natural areas. The Heritage Council developed Natural Heritage Principles (infonatural.pdf, 162KB) to assist its role in the conservation of the state's natural heritage.

The Heritage Division is moving towards better protection and management of the special cultural landscapes that surround our cities and towns.

The Heritage Division has provided advice on appropriate planning and development of wind turbine farms to prevent adverse affects on heritage items and landscapes.


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Page last updated: 18 March 2014