Heritage buildings and landscapes

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Built heritage can provide examples of craftsmanship and materials that are becoming increasingly rare.

We associate physical reminders of our past with passage of time, important people or events.

They inform us about our cultural history, connect us with our past, and give the community a sense of identity.

Heritage listing

Heritage listing identifies items and places of significant value and ensures due consideration is given to these values in any development. Heritage listing is not used to stop or inhibit growth.

It is important to remember that significance does not exist because of heritage lists. Heritage lists exist because of heritage significance. Just because an item or place is not listed, doesn't mean the item or place is not significant and should not be protected.

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

Heritage lists contain all the recognised places, sites and items that have been assessed as 'of significance' according to standard criteria and levels.

There are heritage lists for the Tweed, NSW and Australia.

New items continue to be added to heritage lists, as more information becomes available and new discoveries are made. As most listed heritage is of a local nature, the Tweed Local Environmental Plan (LEP) Heritage Schedule is the most commonly referred to register for heritage listed items and areas.

The NSW Heritage Branch maintains a Register of State listed items in Section 1 and local items in Section 2. This can be searched by selecting 'Tweed' under the Local Government Area tab.

The Commonwealth maintains the National Heritage List and the Commonwealth Heritage List under the National Environmental Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Aboriginal cultural heritage

Aboriginal cultural heritage may include physical relics and non-physical or intangible connections to places.

These connections may be based on belief systems incorporating cultural, ceremonial or spiritual associations with places and similarly give the Aboriginal community their sense of identity and connection to Country.

See Aboriginal cultural heritage

Tweed Regional Museum

Our history and heritage (people, places and events) is preserved in collections at the Tweed Regional Museum.

Tweed Heritage Strategy

Council's plans for local heritage are outlined in the Tweed heritage strategy 2020-2023(PDF, 249KB).

It sets out Council's approach to the management of built and other non-Aboriginal historic heritage. It identifies heritage initiatives to conserve, protect and promote our local heritage.

This strategy applies to heritage management within the context of Council's jurisdiction in land use and infrastructure planning, compliance and regulation.

It draws from and is consistent with higher order strategic plans, including the North Coast Regional Plan and Tweed Community Strategic Plan, that contain directions for the protection and management of the Tweed's heritage.

Public awareness of the value of heritage management and conservation is growing. Over the 2020-2023 period it is anticipated the ongoing promotion of best practice heritage management, through the actions outlined in this strategy, will become even more widely recognised and taken up by the wider community.

Heritage advisor

Regular funding provided by the Office of Environment and Heritage has allowed Council to appoint a Heritage Advisor to provide expertise to Council staff and the community, and to establish a Local Heritage Assistance Fund to encourage the conservation of local heritage through financial incentives.

  • The part-time Heritage Advisor is available in the Tweed for 1 day every 2 months.
  • The Advisor provides feedback on development applications and assistance with management of heritage items and properties in the Tweed.
  • The Advisor is available (by appointment only) to provide free advice to owners of heritage items or properties within a heritage conservation area.

Heritage grants and funding

Local Heritage Assistance Fund grants are available for owners of heritage items, and properties within a heritage conservation area listed in the Tweed Local Environmental Plan (LEP). These grants are part of Council's ongoing heritage management.

Grants operate on a financial year time frame. The 2020-2021 Local Heritage Assistance Fund is closed for applications.

To minimise personal contact and meet social distancing guidelines, the program will be tailored this year ( a smaller number of higher value projects), with emphasis on the creation of Conservation Management Plans for heritage items.

Any application that demonstrates a good heritage outcome against the selection criteria will be considered.

For details about the program and instructions on how to apply see applicant guidelines(PDF, 604KB).

Applications must include a completed grant application form(PDF, 95KB), supporting documents, photos and quotes. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

For more information call the Strategic Planning and Urban Design Unit on 02 6670 2400. Find out more about grants and funding.

Local heritage assistance fund grants - past projects

This fund assists the property owners with the maintenance and improvement of their heritage places, benefits the streetscape and locality as well as facilitating a better understanding of heritage significance and maintenance generally.

Heritage Development Control Plan

Council adopted the Community Based Heritage Study (CBHS) in 2012.

Following the inclusion of the recommended items and conservation areas within the Tweed Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2014, it expanded the number of heritage items to approximately 130 and the number of heritage conservation areas to 6.

The introduction of additional heritage items and conservation areas has brought about a significant increase in awareness of heritage within the Tweed .

Council prepared a draft Development Control Plan (DCP) Section A18 – Heritage (the Heritage DCP) which provides a strong framework to support the understanding of heritage significance and provides development controls to guide the appropriate alterations, additions and infill development in association with a heritage item or within a conservation area.

The development controls have been prepared based on the Principles of the Burra Charter and seek to conserve the heritage of the Tweed and to minimise potential impacts on heritage significance.

Following public consultation, Council adopted the DCP Section A18 - Heritage(PDF, 4MB) on 4 August 2016.

DCP Section A18 - Heritage became effective on 23 August 2016.

Assessing potential heritage impact

As part of the development assessment process in association with a heritage item or within a heritage conservation area, Council is required to assess and consider the extent of any potential impact to the significance (Clause 5.10(5) of the applicable Local Environmental Plan (LEP)).

Accordingly a Statement of Heritage Impact Assessment (SOHI) is to be submitted where a development application is required.

The SOHI assessment template(DOCX, 29KB) guides applicants through key questions and assessment requirements.

There is no statutory requirement that a heritage expert prepares the SOHI, however, seeking specialist advice is recommended to provide a suitable level of assessment. All sections must be filled in.

Heritage information and fact sheets

A suite of fact sheets provides information to assist property owners and the wider community understand heritage listing and what is required if a property is heritage listed or within a heritage conservation area. These include:

Fact sheet 5 outlines the requirements for requesting authorisation of works as maintenance or minor works. The Maintenance and Minor Development Request(PDF, 99KB) form should be used for these requests.

Heritage NSW provides a guideline to assist with assessing the significance and nominating a listing for State Heritage

The Heritage Branch has a wide range of heritage publications as well as a Maintenance Series Information Sheets (Note: click on 'Publications M-O' once link opens) which can provide practical and technical advice on a range of maintenance problems from rising damp to roof plumbing.

Community Based Heritage Management Plan 2012 and site cards

At the Council meeting of 21 August 2012, Council resolved to endorse the Community Based Heritage Management Plan 2012(PDF, 2MB) (CBHMP).

The plan provides the framework to support the management of heritage items and places.

Supporting documents that accompany the plan include:

Conservation areas

There are 6 heritage conservation areas listed in the Tweed Local Environmental Plans:

Condong Sugar Mill (McLeod Street)

Condong heritage conservation area

The Condong Sugar Mill has been of major importance in the history of the Tweed district since 1878. The CSR Company started construction of the mill in 1879, with river transport delivering the cane to the site.

Tramways to the higher ground were constructed in the 1890s to escape the frost prone areas adjoining the river flats. Coastal steamers conveyed the sugar to refineries and markets as the two State Government railways were of different gauges and there was no connection between Tweed Heads (Queensland) and Murwillumbah (NSW). The Railway line from Murwillumbah to Condong was the longest siding in NSW when opened in 1894.

The site at Condong incorporates the sugar mill structures, remnant sidings and tram tracks including a length of standard gauge track from the Murwillumbah line. Condong also comprises significant landscapes including the river foreshores and substantial fig trees, the Mill Manager’s residence, redundant moorings, the Company recreation area with tennis courts and typical timber, worker housing.

The site and structures have been regularly adapted to meet new conditions and changes in technology and transport. The mill buildings exhibit a range of connected structures, materials and finishes representing the historical development of the industry and associated technology.

Hartigan’s Hill (Eyles Ave / Myrtle Street)

Hartigans hill heritage conservation area

The houses within the Hartigan’s Hill Conservation Area (HHCA) provide a comparative continuity with the commercial development in the MMSCA. The scale and quality of the residences reflect the commercial strength and stability of a local economy dependent upon the timber and dairy industries during the late 19th to mid 20th centuries.

There are good examples of traditional timber houses, brick and tile houses and the early use of fibro cladding on lightweight construction. The architectural styles include Federation, Filigree and Bungalow elements on buildings dating from the late Victorian, Federation, Edwardian and Inter-war periods.

The scale of the houses varies, in accordance with means as well as social station providing a combination of workers cottages, merchant and professional houses. A corner shop and adjoining local Primary School with classrooms and facilities anchor the precinct across the generations.

Murwillumbah (Wharf, Queen, Murwillumbah and Wollumbin Streets and Commercial and Queensland Roads)

Murwillumbah heritage conservation area  

The Murwillumbah Main Street has been the subject of a Main Street Study and through this study, a range of significant buildings were identified, each of which was either significant in its own right or contributed to the heritage character of the entire precinct. The Tweed CBHS identified an additional number of buildings with heritage significance based on an appreciation of the historical development of the street with key events, such as the 1907 fire, frequent flooding and the importance of developments during the Inter-war years each playing important roles in the developments and eventual character of Murwillumbah’s main street.

The Murwillumbah Main Street Conservation Area’s (MMSCA) curtilage is defined by Church Lane, Wharf St, Proudfoots Lane, the Byangum western junction, the Queen Street eastern junction and a small section of Wollumbin and Commercial Roads.

The general streetscape is dominated by a number of pre-1939 buildings, with masonry facades featuring distinctive parapets. These buildings set the background of the street and have the potential for simple heritage colour schemes and contemporary signs in-keeping with the tradition of parapet sign panels and suspended awnings. The distinctive parapets, with their mouldings and projections, may be also highlighted to make these buildings the centrepieces of the overall character precinct.

The remainder of the street has retained a considerable degree of integrity and has a clearly identifiable precinct with simple boundaries. The MMSCA has retained the majority of inter-war and post war buildings, with some additional examples which also predate those eras. The majority of buildings in the MMSCA have generally been fitted with cantilever style verandahs/awnings. In sheer numbers, the integrity of this period of development is impressive and has great potential to be consolidated and enriched.

Several buildings of individual and historic significance, such as the Police Station and Courthouse group, Credit Union, BGF, Westpac and National Banks, Regent Cinema, Imperial and Murwillumbah Hotels punctuate the architectural character of the MMSCA. Several of these notable examples have great potential for significant restoration, which would not only enhance their own value significantly, but also enhance the MMSCA in many ways.

In addition to those buildings mentioned above, there are several distinguished buildings such as Salmon’s Pharmacy, Tweed House, Doctor’s Surgery, Tweed Arcade and the Austral Café, which have retained their integrity both internally as well as externally, a somewhat rarer occurrence, providing continuity to the commercial development of the precinct. While some have been damaged through poorly located signs and air-conditioning equipment, the potential for improvement is substantial.

There are few buildings which detract from the streetscape (considered intrusive or non-contributory items). However, those that have undergone inappropriate changes, in aesthetic terms, may be re-painted in schemes which reduce their impact and allow the unique streetscape to come forward. Some elements such as signs, awnings and facades may simply be replaced when they reach the end of their useful lives, with details in any future heritage DCP providing advice and guidance for such efforts.

However, one point which detracts from the overall significance of the MMSCA is that many buildings have signs which are not in keeping with the character of the buildings they are attached to. Some of these may have been erected without consideration of their impact upon the heritage façade of the buildings. Signage, by its nature being significantly noticeable, has the potential to enhance a building’s appearance but may also detract from a place. The size, placement, colour and proliferation of signs tends to dominate the vistas to each building’s façade. A discussion on streetscape signs should allow a new code to be provided through consultation with business and the community and form part of any future heritage DCP. The new code should to keep all signage opportunities on an equal footing, with the requirements of the MMSCA underlying all considerations.

Tumbulgum Village

Tumbulgum heritage conservation area

The village has historical significance for the Tweed district as the main centre of the valley prior to the growth of Murwillumbah; it contains a range of significant sites and a landscape setting with integrity largely free of detracting elements.

The extent of the village is defined by Riverside Drive including the adjacent lots and the reserve, from Government Road north to the 1987 bridge across the river.

Significant places include the Tumbulgum Tavern, Community Hall, Tea House and residence, the Ferry approach and St. Peter’s Anglican Church. Specific controls are required within the current LEP to encourage sympathetic development within the village.

Tyalgum Village

Tyalgum heritage conservation area

The Coolman streetscape demonstrates the typical character of the north coast village within the Tweed district. Significant places include the Community Hall, Tyalgum Store, the Bakery and the Butter Factory.

The Tyalgum Hotel has social significance, having served the local community for more than 70 years. It is a substantial timber structure, which has been altered to enclose the roof with a parapet and to enclose the front verandah. While these changes are not sympathetic, they are reversible.

Uki Village

Uki heritage conservation area

The village of Uki is 12km south-west of Murwillumbah on the bank of the South Arm of the Tweed River. Timber buildings, generally of a modest scale, are located on the main road with the steep hills and Mt. Warning (Wollumbin) providing a remarkable scenic backdrop setting. The character of the village typifies a pattern of loose development and land uses once dominant in the region. The integrity of the landscape and built forms is generally intact, although the there has been a notable rate of change in more recent years.

The village has been a Conservation Area since 1987 and development has generally been sympathetic. Specific controls are required within the current LEP and DCP to encourage ongoing sympathetic development within the village.

Heritage publications

The NSW Heritage Branch provides a range of publications to help in understanding heritage.