Frequently Asked Questions

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How is a heritage listed place determined?

We follow a process developed by the NSW Heritage Council published as the Assessing Heritage Significance Guideline. The process pulls together the supporting evidence to determine if a place meets the thresholds for heritage listing, typically in the form of a heritage study. Heritage studies are publicly exhibited to allow the community to decide which items are eventually heritage listed. 

Determining heritage significance is a complex and lengthy process by professionals with expertise in heritage conservation. Only when there is clear evidence of heritage significance can a place be considered for heritage listing. 

The decision to list is not taken lightly. Over the last 30 years, we have conducted many heritage studies to help us identify the best examples of important heritage places - places considered special because they reflect our history and cultural identity. We did a heritage study in 1997 and many of the places identified are now listed as heritage items. 

Further information on the heritage significance of individual items, search the State Heritage Inventory

Do I have to use a Heritage Architect?

It makes good sense to use building and design professionals who have experience in heritage conservation work. Heritage consultants, heritage builders and heritage architects are trained to offer a high degree of expertise in historic buildings and traditional construction. This is an especially important consideration if the building you are altering is a heritage item.

The NSW Heritage Branch maintains a Heritage Consultant's Directory to find the right heritage expert for your particular job. 

Where can I find tradespeople that will do restoration work?

A comprehensive Products & Services Directory  has been put together by the NSW Heritage Branch to assist people in finding heritage tradespeople and products.

Do I need Development Application consent for works to a heritage place or property? 

With regards to any proposed future work, development application consent is required to a heritage item or property within a heritage conservation area, unless it falls into a category of exempt or complying development.  Exempt or complying development is required to meet the prerequisite legislation. 

If Council is satisfied a development is of a minor nature or maintenance which would not adversely affect the heritage significance of the item or property within a heritage conservation area, development consent is not required. 

An example of Minor Work would be reinstatement of an original window to replace an aluminium window, a sympathetic colour scheme, or the re-opening of an enclosed front verandah where there is evidence of the earlier form of verandah.  Details need to be supplied with the Minor Works or Maintenance Heritage Notification Form.

For further assistance, please discuss your proposed works with City of Newcastle’s Duty Officer before you lodge a Minor Works or Maintenance Heritage Notification application.  This free advisory service is provided either over the phone or in person at Council's Offices.  We encourage you to make an appointment with the Duty Officer by phoning 4974 2000.

Are there public archives for researching the history of my house?

Yes. Both Newcastle City Council and the University of Newcastle hold significant collections of research material obtained from around the Hunter region.

The University of Newcastle Cultural Collections is located at the main campus library. Contact the University for more information about the collection and the level of public access available.

The Newcastle Region Library has a significant collection of cultural materials such as maps, plans, photographs, newspapers and manuscripts that may be used for research and a fabulous local studies collection at Level 2, Newcastle Region Library, Laman Street Newcastle.

Want to learn more about War Memorials?

The Register of War Memorials in New South Wales provides information and a search engine to help you find war memorials for veterans throughout NSW.

The site also provides:

  • Resources and kits for students
  • Information on how to contribute to the site
  • Information on traditions such as The Last Post
  • Links to related sites

The site is an initiative of the NSW State Government and the Returned Services League of Australia.

Information for design students

Heritage places challenge us to think creatively about building and interior design. They provide inspiration for beautiful, environmentally responsive design.

Historic buildings can be a catalyst for creativity. Designers love working on historic buildings as the potential for creativity and innovation is enhanced in the heritage setting. Anything is possible if you see the beauty in our heritage places.

Want to find out more about house styles?

Heritage Victoria has produced an excellent online resource showcasing the common types of historic houses found throughout Victoria and Australia. What House is That? contains links to heritage blogs, photographs of heritage buildings and an exciting array of information produced for owners of historic buildings. 

Living with heritage items and heritage conservation areas

Own or live in a heritage item or in a heritage conservation area? Get the low-down from our pages on heritage items and heritage conservation areas for further detailed information and advice.

What are the height limits and floor space ratios (FSRs) for heritage conservation areas?

Across the city, building height and density is set by the Newcastle LEP 2012 and shown on the Height of Building maps and the Floor Space Ratio maps that accompany the LEP.  However, the heritage conservation areas are not included in the Height of Building maps or the FSR maps because these areas do not have a prescribed height limit or density. The purpose of excluding the heritage conservation areas is to ensure that new development responds to existing character and ensures that contributory buildings are conserved and protected. 

NOTE:  Newcastle East and the City Centre Heritage Conservation Areas do have height and FSRs and are included in the Height of Building and FSR maps. Please contact Council's duty officer on 4974 2000 for further information.

Further questions?

Please refer to FAQs.