What is Heritage?

What is heritage?

Heritage is those items and places that are valued by the community and is conserved and preserved for future generations. People commonly equate heritage with historic buildings but the concept is much wider and includes items and places with natural heritage significance and Aboriginal heritage significance. Although these categories are covered by different pieces of legislation, in reality they often overlap.

Heritage values can be ranked at different scales from local to world significance. Individual items or places may be valued according to their rarity or because they are a particularly good example of their kind. Judging these qualities is inevitably subjective but professional guidelines are provided in the Australian Natural Heritage Charter and The Burra Charter: The Australia ICOMOS Charter for places of cultural significance.

What is heritage significance?

A place can be significant for more than its appearance and setting. Heritage significance is the importance of a place to past, present or future generations under 1 or more of 7 set values, including:

  1. historic value (eg. association with a past phase or activity),
  2. connection with historic people,
  3. aesthetic value (eg. visual qualities),
  4. social value (eg. importance to an identifiable group or to a community’s sense of place),
  5. scientific/ research value, (eg. educational potential as evidence of our history, a construction type or technological process),
  6. rarity (eg. few other examples remain in the area), or
  7. for what it represents (eg. as an example of its type or historic phase),

or a combination of these.

Why does heritage matter?

Heritage is valued by the community because it provides links to the past and contributes to our sense of place. Heritage provides reference points in history, it illustrates natural processes, and it presents opportunities for education and research.

We all value places for different reasons and heritage is expressed in our collective sense of value. Heritage enriches our lives and the loss of any item makes us all poorer.

Council’s planning controls protect 10 Heritage Conservation Areas in Bathurst and rural village locations and over 360 individual heritage items within the Bathurst Region. In addition, there is also 36 items of state significance.

Heritage items are individual buildings, structures and places of individual value. The heritage item listing may covers the entire property or landscape and include, gardens, site features, building interiors and exteriors or moveable items of significance. Conservation areas are areas in which the historic origins and relationships between various elements create a cohesive sense of place that is worth keeping. Elements that make the conservation areas significant may include subdivision patterns, consistency of age, style or materials of the building stock, streetscapes and landscaping. For all buildings in conservation areas, the conservation area listing focuses on the exterior of the building or place, gardens, and site structures.

Finding out more information

State Heritage Inventory

The State Heritage Inventory is managed by Heritage NSW.. It is a list of heritage items and places in New South Wales including Aboriginal Places, State and Local Heritage Items. Click here to search for information on heritage properties within Bathurst Local Government Area.

Bathurst District Historical Society

The Bathurst District Historical Society can undertake general and archival research for a fee. Please visit their website for more information.


Explore the National Library Archives through their website Trove.

Heritage Strategy

As part of Council’s ongoing commitment to the region’s heritage, Council has adopted the Bathurst Region Heritage Plan 2021-2025 (the Heritage Plan). The Heritage Plan aims to guide heritage management within the Bathurst Region and establishes the key strategic priorities and associated actions for heritage management over the next 4 years. It provides the detail as to how Council and the community will protect, enhance and promote our heritage – buildings and places, the natural environment, people and projects and their embedded stories.

The Bathurst Region Heritage Implementation Plan (the Heritage Implementation Plan) has been prepared to sit alongside the Heritage Plan. It highlights the key activities/programs/projects and services being undertaken by Council’s Planning, Museums, Library, Economic Development and Tourism sections to implement the actions of the Heritage Plan. It also provides an opportunity for interested community, heritage and village groups to provide regular updates on activities they are undertaking with respect to the actions of the Heritage Plan.

Note: The Heritage Implementation Plan should not be viewed as an exhaustive list of all Council and community activities that might relate to heritage management and promotion within the Bathurst Region.

For more information and a copy of the Bathurst Region Heritage Plan 2021-2025 and the Bathurst Region Heritage Implementation Plan, please visit Council's YourSay page