Celebrate heritage

Our current initiatives and partnership programs to promote and celebrate significant heritage in New South Wales.

Heritage is intrinsically about values and reflections of our past. A key to protecting heritage is to foster awareness and appreciation, which in turn encourages a common concern to safeguard our cultural heritage for future generations.

Celebrating heritage keeps it meaningful and alive for communities now and in the future.

We collaborate with others to protect and celebrate our state’s heritage. Some of our initiatives and partnership programs include:

Parramatta Female Factory and Institutions Precinct

We are leading the work to promote the world heritage values of this significant place, situated on the banks of the Parramatta River. In September 2023, the Parramatta Female Factory and Institutions Precinct was placed on the World Heritage Tentative List under the theme of the 'Institutionalisation of women and children from the Age of Enlightenment to the Modern Age'. We are working towards listing on the UNESCO World Heritage List, a process which can take up to 7 years.

The site includes remnants of the first female factory for convict women in Australia and one of the first all-female places of detention in the world. Various institutions for women and children operated on the site for over 200 years. These institutions were often places of mistreatment and trauma for many, including Aboriginal women and children.

Inscription on the World Heritage List will acknowledge the site’s history and its importance and resonance with the experience of women and children across the world who experienced institutionalisation.

The next steps involve research and investigation of the Outstanding Universal Values of the site and stakeholder consultation.

Learn more about this Tentative List submission on the UNESCO World Heritage Convention website at:

Parramatta Female Factory and Institutions Precinct.

Broken Hill Trades Hall

Heritage NSW is working with Heritage Victoria to promote the world heritage values of the Australian components of the serial, transnational World Heritage List nomination of Workers’ Assembly Halls. The nomination includes 7 sites across the world in 6 countries. These buildings represent the global event of mass organisation of workers by the labour movement in the context of industrialisation from the late 19th century onwards.

In December 2023, the Victorian Trades Hall in Melbourne and the Broken Hill Trades Hall were endorsed as Australia’s contribution to the transnational nomination and placed on Australia’s Tentative List for the World Heritage List.

An architectural gem in a commanding position in the centre of Broken Hill, the Broken Hill Trades Hall was the first building in Australia owned by unions. This Hall saw unionists battle to improve working conditions in the mines, including their first major success in 1920 when they won an Australian-first: a 35-hour week for underground workers.

Even after more than a century, the Broken Hill Trades Hall continues to serve its original purpose, with local union offices still headquartered there. It also houses an important archive of records, banners and other moveable heritage, documenting the long and active presence of the union movement in outback New South Wales.

Learn more about this Tentative List submission on the UNESCO World Heritage Convention website at:

Workers’ Assembly Halls (Australia).

Australian Convict Sites

We are a member of the Australian Convict Sites Steering Committee and work to protect and promote the outstanding universal values of the sites within New South Wales.

The Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property is a series of 11 outstanding heritage places across Australia. Collectively they are representative of the global phenomenon of forced migration of convicts. Learn more about:

Australian Convict Sites.

Blue Plaques

We are delivering the Blue Plaques program which celebrates heritage by recognising noteworthy people and events from our state’s history.

The program aims to capture public interest and fascination in people, events and places which form the story of New South Wales. It is inspired by the famous London Blue Plaques program which originally started in 1866, and similar programs around the world. Learn more about:

NSW Blue Plaques.

M24 Midget submarine

We work with Australian Government and Japanese Government representatives to protect and manage the M24 midget submarine underwater wreck site.

This is a fascinating story of 3 midget submarines which invaded Sydney Harbour on the evening of 31 May 1942. That night, the harbour was full of Allied naval vessels and the Japanese midget submarines were on a mission to inflict maximum damage. Two of the submarines (M22 and M27) were destroyed almost immediately and recovered from Sydney Harbour within a week. The third submarine went missing. The intact wreck was discovered by divers in 2006 off Bungan Head, Newport on Sydney’s northern beaches.

The M24 was the only one of the 3 submarines that was able to launch its torpedoes that night and with terrible effect. It sank a naval vessel, HMAS Kuttabul killing 21 men on board and injuring 10 others.

Learn more about the:

M24 midget submarine story and wreck site.

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