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Conserving heritage

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is dedicated to the conservation of the state’s heritage sites through restoration, preservation and ongoing maintenance. NPWS works in partnership with other government agencies and communities to identify, protect and promote the heritage of NSW.

Read more about Conserving heritage

Heritage consists of places and objects inherited from past generations that we wish to pass on to future generations. Historic heritage is found throughout NSW in many forms. You can find heritage within a:

  • Charming old hall where local people once congregated for weddings and dances
  • Collection of historic buildings that were originally part of a thriving rural community
  • Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage that was home to family after family who came to live and work in that isolated coastal location
  • Stone courthouse, where the drop of the gavel sealed the fate of many convicts, bushrangers and outlaws.

We are dedicated to keeping the specific histories of places alive by identifying sites of historic heritage significance, and then conserving and maintaining these sites within the reserve system.

There are various approaches to the conservation of historic heritage, one of which is adaptive reuse. Adaptive reuse is when we upgrade and modify buildings or places to enable a new use to be introduced or an existing use continued. This is a way to preserve heritage while also retaining financial sustainability. A great example of this is Goat Island, as it was used as a home for convict work gangs and was adapted into self-contained accommodation. Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse Keepers' Cottages in Myall Lakes National Park are also now available to visitors as short-term accommodation.

Other historic sites have also been returned to their former glory, including Audley Dance Hall, a 19th century historic structure in Sydney Royal National Park. Hill End Historic Site, a gold mining site since the 1850s, has been revitalised with the conservation of structures like the post office residence.

Historic heritage programs

Bradley's Head Walk, Sydney Harbour National Park. Photo: David Finnegan