Heritage Items and Places in the Ballina Shire
What is a heritage item or place?
Items and places of heritage significance are broad ranging, including components of the living and non-living environment. These items and places are further referred to as natural and cultural heritage items. Cultural heritage items and places include items and places of significance to Aboriginal, European and Ethnic Australians.
Natural heritage items include natural ecosystems, geological sites, water systems (e.g. rivers). Natural landscapes can also encompass cultural values and may include modified landscapes and parks, views, gardens and significant trees. Cultural landscapes therefore are natural landscapes that reflect or demonstrate evidence of human occupation, settlement or other understandings of the landscape. The shire's natural heritage is important for its intrinsic natural values as well as its cultural heritage values - which may include historic, social, scientific or aesthetic values. The shire boasts diverse natural heritage areas. [See below section on environmental heritage values].
Cultural heritage items and places include buildings, industrial items, monuments landscapes, parks, gardens and moveable heritage items(such as machinery, objects and records).
More specifically, Aboriginal heritage includes places which show edvidence of Aboriginal occupation (called Aboriginal sites) as well as places which are contemporary, spiritual, or mythological importance according to Aboriginal culture or custom, but which contain no physical remains (called Aboriginal places).
The Importance of the Shire's Heritage
The shire's heritage is diverse and includes buildings, places, objects, monuments, landscapes and gardens, archelogical sites, relics, stories and written documents and photographs relating to Aboriginal, European and other cultures who live, or have lived, in the Shire. Our heritage is important because it enriches our lives socially; it helps us to understand who we are as individuals and communities by providing a link to earlier generations. Our heritage also shapes our town, villages and rural landscape aesthetically, contributing to our uniqueness as a region and community. Significantly also, heritage makes an important contribution to the local economy.
Heritage and the NSW planning system
Heritage is a key aspect of the shire’s natural and built environment. Many community members experience attachment to heritage items and places. These provide valued linkages to the past, providing information about many aspects of the shire’s past including cultural traditions, settlement, lifestyle, employment, and recreation. Thus heritage contributes to the character and identity of the shire’s natural and built landscape and community.
Heritage also offers opportunities for present and future generations to benefit and learn from the cultural, social and economic contributions heritage makes to our community.
Heritage is however often subject to pressures associated with growth and change. The breadth of what constitutes heritage and heritage values is often not fully known or recognised when considered in the context of such pressures. Heritage listing provides an important mechanism through which heritage values and the potential impact of development on these values is considered in light of development change. Thus, the process of development assessment triggered by heritage legislation/listing weighs up the benefit and cost of heritage conservation.
Heritage Legislation in NSW
Items and places of European cultural heritage in the shire are principally protected by the NSW Heritage Act 1977. Like Aboriginal cultural heritage, the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 also requires that the impact of proposed, or potential, development on European cultural heritage is considered as part of development application and land use planning processes.
A broad range of legislative and non-legislative measures provides for the conservation and management of natural areas in NSW - including the NSW Heritage Act.
Items and places listed on Council's Local Environmental Plan
Local heritage items and places are listed in both the Ballina Local Environmental Plan 1987 and the Ballina Local Environmental Plan 2012. These items and places are important to the history of Aboriginal, European and other cultures in the shire.
Debunking the Myths about Heritage Listing
- Listing places no legal restrictions on the sale or leasing of properties.
- Heritage buildings are best cared for when they are lived in or otherwise occupied and loved. This means they must be useable. Houses may need new bathrooms and kitchens; commercial buildings may need new services and fire protection.
- Listing does not exclude changes or additions or new buildings on the site, provided that these do not detract from the heritage significance of the listed items. This is consistent with what most owners want for their heritage properties. It is also consistent with advice from real estate agents that well looked after heritage properties are among the earliest to sell and can bring the highest prices.
- Listing does not exclude the adaptive re-use of a heritage item. Sometimes this is a suitable way of ensuring the future use of an important place. Examples include the conversion of a warehouse to residential use or the adaptation of a house to offices.
Source: New South Wales Heritage Office
Last reviewed January 2013