Heritage Conservation

Camden's heritage is made up of a combination of significant places, buildings, works, relics, moveable objects and precincts. It comprises Aboriginal items and places; and non-indigenous items and their settings.

Heritage is something that we have inherited from the past. It informs us of our history as well as giving us a sense of cultural value and identity. Heritage places are those that we wish to protect and pass on to future generations so that they too can understand the value and significance of past generations.

Heritage makes up an important part of the character of the Camden Local Government Area (LGA) and is held in high esteem by the Camden community. The high quality of heritage in Camden sets it apart from other towns and may be a draw card to visitors (and investment). Places that are identified as heritage places are good examples of a period in time or a type of architecture, which are rare in the LGA. Our heritage is therefore valuable and must be cared for and protected.

A current list (as of April 2019) of State and Local Heritage items in the Camden Local Government Area can be found here.


Heritage of Western Sydney App

Camden's rich colonial heritage sits within a network of historical buildings, farmhouses, churches and roads within the greater Western Sydney region. Each item has a unique history which tells the story of how our area came to be and evolved over time.

Camden Council, in conjunction with Penrith, Hawkesbury and Liverpool Councils have developed the Heritage of Western Sydney smartphone app to acknowledge and celebrate the heritage assets that exist in our regions.

The free app is available for download via iTunes, Android or GooglePlay.



Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find out if a property is heritage listed?

A property is a heritage item if it is:

A property is within the HCA if it is shown within the Conservation Area - General area on a 'Heritage Map' within the Camden LEP 2010.

How is heritage determined?

Heritage listing of a property provides formal recognition by Camden Council and/or the other levels of Government that the property has heritage significance and that the community wants it protected for future generations.

Heritage significance does not just apply to grand or old properties. There are seven established criteria against which heritage significance is determined. These include historic, historic association, aesthetic, social, scientific, rarity and representativeness. These are adopted by Heritage NSW and are fully explained in the following documents:

It is important to understand that heritage listing does not prevent future changes. Changes and additions that respect and retain the qualities and characteristics that make the heritage place special are encouraged.

More Information

View the Heritage Listing Explained information booklet from the Heritage Council of NSW outlining what heritage listing means to you, the benefits and effects, fact verses myth and how to make sympathetic changes.

What are the levels of heritage significance?

Heritage is listed at the following levels:

  • Local significance - means that it is listed in Schedule 5 of Camden LEP 2010 and that it is significant to the people of Camden LGA
  • State significance - means that it is on the State Heritage Register and is significant to the people of NSW
  • National significance - means that it is on the National Heritage list and that it is significant to the people of Australia
  • Commonwealth significance - are items of various levels of significance that are owned by the Commonwealth of Australia and are on the Commonwealth Heritage list.
  • World significance - means that it is on the World Heritage list and that it is significant to the people of the World.

An item can be significant at one or more levels. There are also various non-statutory heritage registers such as the Register of National Trust.

There are no current National or World Heritage items in Camden LGA. Camden has approximately 148 local heritage items plus 2 HCAs of local significance. There are 14 State listed items including important colonial homesteads (e.g. Denbigh homestead and Harrington Park House). Camden Post Office is on the Commonwealth Heritage Register.

The distinction between levels is not in rank, it is in context. Local items are of relevance locally and valued locally. They are identified and under the guardianship of Camden Council. State items are of relevance and value to the people of NSW. They are under the guardianship of both Council and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

What is of heritage significance within a heritage place?

Local heritage listing applies to the whole property. It does not just apply to the front or exterior of the building.

To determine what is of heritage significance on a property, the history of the property and its fabric must be understood. This is best carried out by a heritage consultant who has qualifications and experience in working with heritage buildings.

Information on heritage significance may be included in the State Heritage Inventory Sheet for the property State Heritage Register (under the Heritage Act, 1977).

What is of significance must be determined for each property and may include :

  • significant fabric both externally and internally;
  • public view points of the property;
  • The layering of fabric over time, not just original fabric; and
  • Associated structures such as outbuildings, fences, driveways, tree plantings, wells etc.

Understanding significance is the first step which will guide what new work or changes are appropriate. A heritage consultant can advise on what is of heritage significance on the property and advise on what works are appropriate. Download a list of consultants and practitioners.

More Information

The criteria for assessing heritage significance are fully explained in Assessing Heritage Significance produced by the NSW Heritage Office. 

What is a Heritage Conservation Area (HCA)?

A HCA is a mapped area where the historical town layout and relationships between the built, landscaping and streetscape elements creates a sense of place that is special.

While individual buildings within the HCA may not all have sufficient significance to be listed as heritage items, collectively they have a value worth retaining. It is possible for buildings that do not contribute to the HCA to be redeveloped or modified with a better infill design at a later time.

Two HCAs are identified in LEP 2010. One is focused on the Camden Town (Camden HCA as indicated in figure 2-4 of the DCP) and the other on Struggletown HCA, in Narellan (figure 2-6 of the DCP).

It is possible that other HCAs may be identified in the future as being of heritage significance.

For further information, visit the NSW Heritage Council website.

What is a Culturally Significant Place?

Properties that are culturally significant places are listed in Part 2, Section 2.16.9 Culturally Significant Places of Camden DCP 2019.

These items have been flagged as potential heritage items. Further investigation of the heritage significance of these items is required to be carried out on each place when a development application is lodged to determine if the place is of heritage significance.

What is of Aboriginal Heritage significance in the Camden area?

Aboriginal people are the cultural owners of information relating to their heritage. It is vital to Aboriginal people and to the richness of Camden's heritage that these important spiritual and cultural links to land are maintained by preserving and protecting places of cultural significance.

Camden Council is committed to and required by law to preserve and minimise harm to items and sites of Aboriginal heritage significance.

The principal legislation relating to Aboriginal Heritage within NSW are the following:

  • Environmental Protection and Assessment Act
  • The National Parks and Wildlife Act
  • The Heritage Act.

The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) administer a register of Aboriginal Items called the Aboriginal Heritage Inventory Management System (AHIMS). This is not a comprehensive list of Aboriginal Items but is a starting point for investigation.

An Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permit (AHIP) is required from OEH for any activity likely to have an impact on Aboriginal objects and places before work takes place. This includes known Aboriginal items identified in Table B7 of the DCP, identified on the AHIMS register, or an Aboriginal item discovered as part of site investigations or development.

An AHIP is not required in any of the following cases:

  • Where the development is an exempt activity (as defined under the National Parks and Wildlife Amendment Act).
  • Where the development is a low impact activity (as defined under the National Parks and Wildlife Amendment Act).
  • Where the "Code of Practice for Archaeological Investigation" or other industry specific code of practice is strictly adhered to.
  • Where an assessment has been made using the "Due Diligence Code of Practice for the Protection of Aboriginal Objects in NSW".

The Due Diligence assessment can be done by anyone and includes all of the following steps as a minimum:-

  • Search the Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System (AHIMS).
  • Check the site for landscape features which may indicate the presence of Aboriginal objects e.g. waterways, ridge tops, rock shelters, cliff faces, sand dunes etc.
  • Develop strategies to avoid harming Aboriginal objects.

Further Information

What are the regulations or legislations which apply to my heritage property?

All Councils within NSW have a responsibility under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act and Heritage Act to protect heritage places through their identification, planning and controls. Camden Council does this in:

  • Clause 5.10 of Camden LEP 2010 which sets out objectives and controls to conserve the heritage significance of heritage places. The impact of new development on the heritage significance must be considered. Schedule 5 of the LEP lists the heritage items and maps the HCAs.
  • Clause 5.10 of State Environmental Planning Policy (Sydney Region Growth Centres) sets out objectives and controls which can be found as set out below:

    • Appendix 1 Oran Park and Turner Road  Precinct Plan – Clause 5.10 Heritage Conservation
    • Appendix 9 Camden Growth Centres Precinct Plan - Clause 5.10 Heritage Conservation.

Owners of heritage listed properties are required to seek development approval from Camden Council if they wish to make changes which may affect the heritage significance of the place.


Are there guidelines for conservation and appropriate new development?

The aim for new development, changes or additions to heritage places is to respect and retain the qualities and characteristics that make the heritage place special.

The following documents can be used as a guide to appropriate conservation works and appropriate new development:

  • Clause 5.10 of Camden LEP 2010 and Part 2, Section 2.16: Environmental Heritage of Camden DCP 2019 provides detailed information on what is appropriate new development to a heritage place.
  • Clause 5.10 of State Environmental Planning Policy (Sydney Region Growth Centres) provides detailed information which can be found as set out below:

    • Appendix 1 Oran Park and Turner Road  Precinct Plan – Clause 5.10 Heritage Conservation
    • Appendix 9 Camden Growth Centres Precinct Plan - Clause 5.10 Heritage Conservation

  The Growth Centres DCPs can be viewed at: http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Plans-for-your-area/Priority-Growth-Areas-and-Precincts/South-West-Priority-Growth-Area.

What information should be provided with my Development Application?

A development application for a heritage place should include the following information:

  • A Heritage Management Document (see below)
  • A Schedule of Conservation Works detailing all works required internally and externally to the heritage place to conserve its heritage significance. This is required for any development of land containing a heritage place to satisfy the objectives of conserving heritage in Camden LEP 2010.
  • An external colour scheme and advertising sign scheme for the building (where relevant).

The meaning of terms:

A heritage management document means:

  • A heritage conservation management plan, or
  • A heritage impact statement, or
  • Any other document that provides guidelines for the ongoing management and conservation of a heritage place; that assesses the impact of the proposed development on the heritage place; or the impact of development in the vicinity of a heritage item or HCA on the heritage significance of the heritage place.

In the vicinity means:

  • A proposed development on a lot near a heritage place, which may impact on the heritage significance of the heritage place.

A Heritage Conservation Management Plan means:

  • A document that provides a clear statement of the significance of the item, and identifies the constraints and opportunities that affect the item. It identifies what can be changed and the parameters for the change. It sets out conservation policies and management strategies to enable the significance to be retained.

A Conservation Management Plan is generally required with a DA for items listed as having State heritage significance. It may also be required for any major development or subdivision proposals to local heritage items, or where requested by Council.

See an explanation of what information is provided in a CMP

The Conservation Plan (2000, Fifth Edition) by James Semple Kerr, is a guide to the preparation of conservation plans for places of European cultural significance. Hard copies are available through the National Trust on phone 02 9258 0123 or via email info@nationaltrust.com.au

A heritage impact statement means a document consisting of:

(a)  A statement demonstrating the heritage significance of the heritage place and its setting, and

(b)  An assessment of the impact that proposed development will have on that significance, and

(c)  Description of measures to minimise that impact.

A Heritage Impact Statement (HIS) is expected to be provided with all DAs. The complexity of the HIS depends upon the nature of the work proposed. Download A guide to writing a HIS.

For more information of these terms see the Dictionary in Camden LEP 2010.

Why should I use a heritage professional to write a HIS or CMP when I carry out heritage work?

It makes good sense that a Heritage Impact Statement and Conservation Management Plan is prepared by a qualified and experienced Heritage Consultant. Using a heritage consultant will generally assist Council in assessing a DA and speed up the processing time.

Tradespersons experienced in heritage conservation work should also be used to carry out heritage work.

View a list of consultants and practitioners.

What is the Heritage Incentive clause 5.10(10) of the Local Environmental Plan (LEP)?

To ensure the conservation of Camden's heritage, a special incentive is provided in the LEP. For Heritage items listed in Schedule 5 of the LEP or identified Aboriginal places (on the AHIMs register); alternative land uses, that may not be permissible in the zone, are possible with development consent. This can be used provided that the heritage item is conserved.

To use this clause, a DA and HIS must be lodged and council must be satisfied that:

  • The conservation of the heritage item or Aboriginal place is facilitated by the development, and this must be clearly demonstrated in the HIS
  • The proposed development is in accordance with a heritage management document that has been approved by Council, and
  • All necessary conservation work identified in the heritage management document will be carried out, and
  • The proposed development would not adversely affect the heritage significance of the heritage item or Aboriginal item, including its setting, and
  • The proposed development would not have any significant adverse effect on the amenity of the surrounding area.

It is stressed that the intent of this incentive clause is for conservation and not just development alone.

For more information see:

What are the procedures for work to State listed heritage items?

Proposed work to heritage items of State significance that are on the State Heritage Register requires consent concurrently from both Heritage NSW and Camden Council. The DA is termed Nominated Integrated Development and requires the following:

  • A cheque made out to - Heritage NSW, Locked Bag 5020 Parramatta NSW 2124
  • A processing fee to Council. Contact Council's customer service on ph 4654 7777 for the relevant fees.

Some minor work is exempted from requiring consent from the Heritage Council of NSW.

What are appropriate new materials?

Patch repairing old materials on heritage places is preferable to replacing with new materials. Replacing materials will lose the aged character, which often adds to the significance.

The following are common questions about replacing old material with modern material on heritage places.

As a general guide:

  • Colourbond is not appropriate for roofs or walls on old buildings in heritage places. Short sheet galvanized steel is more appropriate for roofs. This can be painted or will dull with age.
  • Colourbond is not appropriate for fences. Timber paling fences are more appropriate for side and rear fences.
  • Timber windows should not be replaced with aluminium. Old buildings usually have windows that are of different proportions to modern windows. The windows are usually taller than they are wide; and windows with these proportions should be used. More information

  How to carry out work on building sites 

Is there funding available for heritage work?

Council does not have the resources to provide funding at this stage.

Applications for funding are available on an annual basis from Heritage NSW. These are for heritage items on State Heritage Register and for Aboriginal heritage investigations.

For more information on funding visit the Heritage NSW website.

How are new heritage nominations made?

Heritage is not static. New items and architectural styles emerge as having significance as time passes. If a place is not listed as a heritage place or potential heritage item, and it appears to have some heritage value, the impact on heritage significance can still be considered by Council when assessing a development application under Section 4.15 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.

New heritage nominations must fulfill one of the seven criteria established by Heritage NSW. This requires extensive research of the history and assessment of significance. It involves community consultation on what new places should be listed. New heritage places cannot be listed in a piecemeal method but are considered as a community based comprehensive heritage study.

As Council becomes aware of new potential items, a list is kept for consideration at the next comprehensive heritage study review. Please contact Council's Heritage Officer on ph. 4654 7777 to add items to this list for future consideration.

For further information on nominating an item for a State Heritage listing, visit the Heritage NSW website.

Who are the Government agencies responsible for heritage?

For Local items in Camden LGA:

For State items in Camden LGA:

For Federal, Commonwealth and World heritage Items:

For Aboriginal heritage items:


Who may be able to provide historical information?

Organisations and contacts which may be useful for historical research include:

More Information

Guides to undertaking historical research can be found at: