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What is Heritage?

Heritage Items

Buildings, structures and places of individual value that have heritage significance are considered heritage items. Heritage listing is a formal recognition that the community wants to keep items for future generations. There are different levels of statutory listing including local heritage items and state heritage items. 

Local heritage items

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Local heritage items are listed on heritage schedules in the Council's Local Environment Plan (LEP) such as this single storey stone cottage in North Parramatta built in c1850.


State heritage items

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State heritage items are listed on the State Heritage Register. This list includes only those items which have been identified as having particular importance to the people of NSW including Old Government House in Parramatta Park built in c1799 and enlarged 1815 that is on the State Heritage Register and is also listed as being of State significance.

Heritage assessment criteria

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These listings must meet stringent heritage assessment criteria of the NSW Government and generally need to fall into one of the following categories:

  • be historically, aesthetically, scientifically or socially significance
  • be rare and/or connected to historical people
  • be significant in what they represent.

Removing heritage items

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Any proposal to remove an item from a heritage list also needs to be stringently tested to show that it no longer meets the assessment criteria. The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage provides an online database of heritage inventory sheets for the State and includes information such as a brief history, description of the item, statement of significance and photographs are provided for most heritage properties.

Conservation agreement 

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World and National Heritage Listed items are protected by the Federal and State Government and City of Parramatta Council through a signed Conservation Agreement under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

Old Government House and Domain is one of 11 sites that together make up the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Listing.

These views and settings are important in demonstrating the place’s role as a centre of colonial administration and contribute to maintaining the integrity of the convict landscape. The World Heritage Committee has recommended that Australia manage the landscape values of the Old Government House and Domain site by studying the visual impact of the current environment and future projects that may affect those values.

The ‘Conservation Agreement for the protection and conservation of the World and National Heritage values of the Australian Convict Sites, Old Government House and Domain, Parramatta’ addresses the World Heritage Committee’s recommendation and Australia’s obligations under the World Heritage Convention by providing standards for development in the immediate vicinity of the property.

The Conservation Agreement recognises that development that complies with certain planning controls in Parramatta’s identified ‘Highly Sensitive Area’ will not have a significant impact on the place’s listed values. As such, any development that meets these controls, including height limits, floor space ratios, setbacks, materials and siting, do not need approval under national environment law. The controls also include an allowance for an additional 15% in building height and/or floor space if certain requirements in the agreement are met, such as if the property/development is the winner of a competitive design process.

Proposed developments that do not meet these requirements in the Conservation Agreement will need to be referred to the Federal Government Department of the Environment for consideration in accordance with the requirements of national environment law.

The 'Development in Parramatta City and the Impact on Old Government House and Domain's World and National Heritage Listed Values: Technical Report' informed the Conservation Agreement.

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