Conserving historic heritage
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is dedicated to the conservation of the state’s heritage sites located within national parks. NPWS works in partnership with other government agencies and communities to identify, protect and promote the heritage of NSW.
Read more about Conserving historic heritage
Heritage consists of places and objects inherited from past generations that we wish to pass on to future generations. Examples of historic heritage within NSW national parks include:
- Toorale Homstead precinct (Yarramarra), once a thriving sheep station, near Bourke
- The gold mining township of Hill End, now Hill End Historic Site
- Montague Island Lighthouse and lighthouse keepers' quarters
- The fortifications of Fort Denison in Sydney Harbour
We can tell the key stories of NSW by identifying sites of historic heritage significance and then conserving, maintaining and interpreting them. The aim of conservation is to retain the cultural significance of a place, based on a respect for its existing fabric, use, associations and stories.
It's preferable to retain the original use of a historic site, thereby maintaining associations and minimising necessary changes to significant building fabric. This has been successful at many historic sites conserved by NPWS, such as Yarrangobilly Caves House and Audley Dance Hall.
Sometimes buildings become redundant, and their original use is no longer viable. When this happens, adaptive reuse can be the best approach to conserving historic heritage. Adaptive reuse is the process of adapting an old site or building for a purpose other than for which it was built or designed. A sympathetic new use can inject fresh life into a place and improve its financial sustainability. A great example of this is the former lighthouse keepers quarters at Smoky Cape, which have been adaptively repurposed as short-term visitor accommodation. The former RFS shed at Hill End has also been successfully adapted into the Hill End Heritage Centre, where visitors can find out about the history of the town.