WHAT DO WE VALUE ABOUT WHERE WE LIVE? 6
Heritage Conservation Areas (HCA) 7
Which places in OUR CITY have the potential to become HCA? 12
What rules would a HCA have? 14
What does it mean for me if my house is in a HCA? 18
What assistance is available for owners of heritage places? 20
What are some options for the next step? 21
How do I make a submission? 22
What will happen next? 22
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Top left: Teralba Road in Brighton Le Sands has many fine examples of Inter-war bungalows.
Left: Canary Island Date Palms in Mawson Street.
Above: Group of semi-detached Victorian houses in Stanley Street.
4 : Rockdale City Council
At a recent meeting of Council a report was
presented that examined the ways in which
heritage is managed by other Councils making
a comparison with Rockdale’s own heritage
The report analysed 12 other inner metropolitan
Sydney Councils and showed that Heritage
Conservation Areas (HCA) are an effective tool
to provide a fair and well-balanced approach to
heritage in the context of future growth.
In order to invite participation from the community,
Council then requested Council officers prepare
this Discussion Paper on HCA and place it on
Council cares about the future of Rockdale City
and wants to respectfully manage change whilst
ensuring our City remains a place of opportunity.
This discussion paper is an invitation to think about
what it is you value about the place you live. We
encourage you to get involved in defining what is
important and steering the direction for the future.
This discussion paper provides an introduction
to HCA as a way of allowing change whilst
acknowledging respect for the inherent and special
qualities of a place.
The paper provides some snapshots of places and
events in Rockdale City’s history that demonstrate
that every place within the City has its own story.
The paper introduces the concept of HCA and
answers questions regarding how the HCA will
affect existing property owners and residents.
It looks at the types of rules that could accompany
HCA if they were introduced.
Finally the paper will look at options for a way
forward. For example, one direction for the future
may be to discover the values held in high esteem
by the community through a series of workshops.
5HCA Discussion Paper :
Through time every community contributes
to shaping its environment. This rich history of
action, activity and stories contributes to how
we all interpret and recognise it as a ‘place’. In
reality, we can say the structures, spaces, homes,
neighbourhoods, centres and inhabitants define
and distinguish a place.
As much as a place is defined by its environment,
surroundings, social and built structures and
organised spaces, a place also belongs to a period
of time, its events, and dreams. The enduring
qualities of a place that draw people back to it
often respond to its intangible qualities such as:
ambience, sense of history, vitality and character.
This appreciation and understanding gives our
‘place’ personal and collective meaning.
WHY HERITAGE IS AN IMPORTANT
People are very proud of their local history, but
don’t always express how much they value a place
until it’s threatened.
Because it adds character and distinctiveness to an
area, heritage is fundamental in creating a ‘sense
of place’ for a community. Our understanding
of the heritage of a ‘place’ can have a very
positive influence on many aspects of the way its
special qualities develop. Regeneration, housing,
education, economic growth and community
engagement are examples of the ways in which
heritage can make a very positive contribution to
Appropriate sensitive development and adaptive
reuse of older buildings is an important factor
WHAT DO WE VALUE ABOUT
WHERE WE LIVE?
in supporting the concept of sustainable
communities. An appreciation of the heritage
qualities in existing buildings and their surroundings
can add value to regeneration projects, both
in terms of the economic and environmental
advantage of reuse over new build and in adding
character to a precinct.
A shared understanding of the unique cultural
identity of heritage places is a good way of
providing a common ground bringing communities
Areas where the heritage is understood and
valued tend to be better looked after than
those where heritage items have no link with
the community. Such links help to foster civic
responsibility and citizenship and contribute to
everyone’s quality of life.
A recent demolition of a Federation bungalow in the Ocean View Estate in Bexley resulted in a
petition to Council from the residents of Dunmore Street and Gladstone Street: “...we are proud
to be a part of a street that has historic significance. There is truly a sense of unity here by proud
owners most of whom reside in period style home(s) with historic significance. What we want to
see is continue that pride and unity and have Council embrace this...” (Trim ref. 13/109928)
6 : Rockdale City Council
A Heritage Conservation Area (HCA) aims to
protect the things we value as a community whilst
ensuring there is plenty of room for opportunity.
It is a way of managing change that allows
development but ensures it is sympathetic with the
local character we cherish.
A HCA is a special area that has been defined
after a long process involving those people with an
interest in the area.
Protecting special qualities, such as the character
of a streetscape, is managed by all those in the
street. This is different from the heritage item
process which only applies to individual properties.
HERITAGE CONSERVATION AREAS
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A
HCA AND A HERITAGE ITEM?
Heritage items are individual properties that have
heritage value in their own right. They can be listed
as heritage even when there are no other heritage
properties around them. A HCA is a collection
of places that together have heritage value but
individually may not.
The value of a HCA is often focussed upon the
streetscape therefore more substantial changes to
individual buildings can be made to the rear or to
WHAT IF I AM IN A HCA BUT MY
HOUSE DOES NOT HAVE HERITAGE
CHARACTER LIKE THE REST OF THE
The houses that do not fit in with the character of a
HCA can usually be removed or altered.
Any development then becomes known as ‘infill’
development because it needs to fit in with the
street and heritage character when it fills in the
space left behind.
Not heritage items Not heritage itemsHeritage item
7HCA Discussion Paper :
WHAT IF MY HOUSE IS ALREADY A
The Heritage Items that are already listed in the
Rockdale Local Environmental Plan would continue
to be listed as Heritage Items. If a Heritage Item
was located in a street that became a HCA then
the individual heritage listing could be reviewed.
If the heritage listing was based upon the
streetscape value of the property it may not be
necessary to keep the heritage listing.
For example in Teralba Street there are a large
number of Heritage Items but it is the collective
values of the street which are significant. If the
street became a HCA then there is a possibility that
individual Heritage Items could be delisted and
their heritage significance protected through the
HOW DO I FIND OUT IF I AM GOING TO
BE IN A HERITAGE AREA?
At this stage no areas have been nominated
although some areas were identified in previous
heritage studies. For more details see part 6 of
this paper. If Council decides to go ahead with
investigating potential HCA there will be further
research including information gathering and
At the end of the information gathering potential
HCA may be nominated at which point Council will
again ask for public submissions.
The process of identifying HCA has several steps
where the community will have the opportunity to
be involved and influence the outcome:
1. Making a submission to this discussion paper;
2. Participating in the community workshops to
identify potential HCA; and
3. Making a submission during the statutory
process to make the HCA; and
4. Making a submission during the process to
create guidelines in the Rockdale Development
Control Plan (DCP).
WHAT IF I DON’T WANT TO BE IN A
HERITAGE CONSERVATION AREA?
Now is the time to have your say. Tell us what you
think about the concepts raised in this paper. If you
have an opinion about HCA or any other issues
raised in this discussion paper, then making a
submission will ensure your views will influence the
DO OTHER COUNCILS HAVE HCA?
Throughout Sydney and NSW HCA are an
accepted method of protecting areas with special
character. HCA comprise large areas of many local
government areas and these have been in place
for many years. Councils with HCA have special
guidelines in their DCPs to assist with development
and making change.
In many areas the management of careful change
has contributed to the established character being
respected and properties in these areas reaching
premium value in the market place.
8 : Rockdale City Council
DOES BEING IN A HCA AFFECT
There are many factors influencing property
values, of which heritage is only one. Broader
economic factors influence market values as
well as factors such as availability of services like
schools and transport or planning considerations
such as zoning and density controls.
Some areas are more susceptible to a push for
urban consolidation such as the inner city.
In July 2012 English Heritage (UK) published
the findings of a lengthy study that examined
sales figures of 1 million properties located in,
or close to, heritage conservation areas over a
period of 5 years. The report showed that houses
in conservation areas sold at a premium and
improved in value at a greater rate when compared
to similar properties outside conservation areas.
Heritage Victoria (Australia) has analysed
Australian research on the subject of the effect of
heritage listing on property values.
The results of this study showed that there was
either no impact from heritage listing residential
properties or there was an increase in value after
heritage listing. These findings are reflected in the
Real Estate pages of Australian newspapers.
Approximate Proportion of HCA to Local government Area size
25% 25% 25%
7% 5% 5% 5%
0% 0% 0% 0%
9HCA Discussion Paper :
Suburb focus: Haberfield (by Lucy Macken in Domain, 15 December 2012)
The Haberfield HCA was created in 1985, one of the earliest conservation areas in NSW. Since then the median house price has climbed exponentially,
with a 66 per cent increase in the past decade, almost double the Sydney-wide growth of 35 per cent. McGrath Inner West real estate agent Michael
Tringali explains the attraction: ''Consistency of architectural integrity draws a very house-proud demographic who are prepared to stay for the next 15
years to raise their family, while they restore or maintain their home's Federation character in the knowledge that a two-storey McMansion won't pop up
Heritage homes sell at a premium (by Chris Tolhurst published in Domain, 15 February 2011)
It’s common place today for investors to outbid owner-occupiers at auctions of Federation houses, Victorian terraces and art deco apartments. More
often than not, these investors aren’t worried if the property in their sights is included in a local government heritage precinct. The managing director of
Wakelin Property Advisory Service, Monique Sasson Wakelin, says Australians are fond of heritage properties and, over many years, have consistently
paid a premium to buy or rent them. She is one of a group of market watchers who believe moderate heritage overlay controls have a positive impact
on property values.
“There is a lot of evidence to suggest (inclusion in a heritage overlay) actually enhances the value of a property,” she says. Whether you are an investor
or homeowner, a heritage overlay means people can’t come into the street and put up neo-gothic monstrosities in a row of consistent Victorian
cottages. It protects the character and architectural integrity of the neighbourhood.”
Supply and demand says inner beats outer (by David Adams published in Domain, NSW, 24 February 2013)
“Looking to buy an investment property but not sure where to look? Here are five top tips.” [...] Suburbs and streetscapes that offer a sense of
architectural consistency are generally more in demand than those that do not. ''Suburbs with a melting pot of styles - from fibro shacks to 1960s
brick veneers and the '90s McMansions - will never hold their value as well as areas with predominantly classic architecture styles such as Federation,
Californian bungalows, Victorians [and] art deco,'' Ms Opie says.
10 : Rockdale City Council
WHAT IF THERE ARE NO HERITAGE
The current situation would remain the same. Areas
where there is unique character and streetscapes
of uniform buildings – the attributes that make
a place special – would continue to be gradually
eroded. Unsympathetic development on one lot in
the middle of a group disturbs the uniformity and
balance and encourages further unsympathetic
change. There would be no certainty for people
buying into a neighbourhood for its special
character and no guarantees for the existing
residents that things would not suddenly change.
A submission regarding a demolition of a
Federation house in Caledonian Street provoked
this response... “Our type of heritage streetscape is
disappearing. It would be most positive if this intact
pocket of history, opposite a heritage listed park,
be duly protected.” (Trim 14/78704)
Throughout Rockdale City there are examples of
newer, larger houses being built in areas that have
an established character. Character defined by
rows of similar or identical Federation or Inter-war
period houses for example. New buildings often
remove one of the original houses and replace it
without regard for the existing historic streetscape,
disrupting the uniform character of the street.
In some cases this has not affected the other
residents in the street but in many cases it has
caused great concern as people feel they are
losing the character that makes their street special.
The introduction of HCA would enable policy to
be developed to manage change in these special
HAS ROCKDALE CITY COUNCIL
PREVIOUSLY CONSIDERED HAVING HCA?
The 1991 Rockdale Heritage Study identified a
number of areas that had special historic and
streetscape qualities. These precincts have not
been made into HCA.
The 2010 Heritage Inventory Review also
recommended that intact streetscapes of the same
period which retain their original character should
be included as HCA in the heritage schedule.
HOW IS A HERITAGE CONSERVATION
A HCA is defined legally by including it in the
Rockdale Local Environmental Plan. Management
of the HCA is included in the Rockdale
Development Control Plan through guidelines for
development in heritage conservation areas.
There is a statutory process for making changes
to both these documents that includes public
exhibition and notification to affected property
This Discussion Paper is not part of that process, all
property owners affected by any HCA proposals
would be notified in a separate process.
Caroline Street, Kingsgrove.
11HCA Discussion Paper :
The process for identifying HCA has three
parts, which are usually undertaken at the
✦ Historical research.
✦ Field study – investigating what original
houses and features are left in an area.
✦ Community involvement.
WHICH PLACES IN OUR CITY HAVE
THE POTENTIAL TO BECOME HCA?
Some areas were identified by previous
studies as areas with the potential to become
✦ Ocean View Estate, Bexley – Centred on
✦ Frederick, Herbert, Ferrier, Watkin and
King Edward Streets, Rockdale.
✦ Teralba Road, Brighton Le Sands.
✦ Brighton Parade, Brighton Le Sands.
✦ Farr and Gibbes Streets, Banksia.
✦ Lansdowne and Hamilton Streets,
✦ Wollongong Road, Arncliffe.
✦ Forest Road, Bexley.
✦ Moorefield Racecourse Subdivision,
✦ Rockdale Estate.
✦ Stanley Street, Arncliffe.
✦ Caroline Street, Kingsgrove.
Further research and consultation is required
before any decisions about these areas can be
Other areas may become evident as a result of
community nominations during the exhibition
of this discussion paper.
12 : Rockdale City Council
Farr Street, Banksia
This estate was auctioned on 10 November 1884, as the Rockdale Estate. An unknown builder built the original cottages for the company about 1885-6 and on 11 April 1887, the company
offered “comfortable well-built brick cottages for £5 deposit”.
The auction plan for that sale showed cottages built on Sections 10 and 11 facing Gibbes and Farr Streets. A street alignment survey dated 19 November 1886 recorded that there was a
‘Row of 20 Brick Cottages’ on the western side of Farr Street. A Detail Survey of 10 October 1899 showed that all lots on the west side of Farr Street had been built upon with narrow single
The same type of cottages had also been built on two-thirds of the lots on the east side of Gibbes Street and a little less than half of those on the west side of Gibbes Street.
13HCA Discussion Paper :
WHAT RULES WOULD A HCA HAVE?
If a HCA was nominated for its consistent
architectural character then it would be
this character that would be protected. For
example in Gibbes and Farr Street, Banksia
the following Development Controls may
The blocks in Gibbes and Farr Streets are
small, hence their development potential is
limited. Alterations are possible by retaining
the ridge of the roof in the same position
and lifting the rear roof to a flatter pitch.
The area in front of the house should be
kept clear of structures as car ports in front
of the house disrupts the architectural
continuity. Detail which distinguishes the
group such as original chimneys and arched
niches in the verandah walls should be
These details could be reinstated where they
are missing to improve the appearance of
Keep front yard clear
of cars and structures
Keep important elements as:
✦ Original chimney
✦ Angle of front roof
✦ Corbelled blade walls
✦ Arch in blade wall
✦ Open veranda
✦ Separate verandah roof
14 : Rockdale City Council
In a different example the Californian and
Federation Bungalows in Lansdowne and
Hamilton Streets have wide front facing gable
roofs that have a strong repetitive character as
they step up the hill from Bardwell Valley.
The Lansdowne and Hamilton Streets
bungalows have a strong streetscape
presence. Some of the key elements worthy of
✦ Repetitive roof forms – gable roofs facing
✦ Decorative features such as finials, verandah
brackets, leadlight glazing, window awnings
with timber shingles, half-timbered gabled
ends sometimes with timber shingles,
decorative tiles to the risers of the steps to
✦ Marseille pattern terracotta roof tiles.
✦ Low brick front fences.
✦ Original chimneys.
✦ Front yard with a central garden path to the
✦ It is important that the front fences are kept
low and there are no structures such as car
ports in the front yards. Inter-war bungalows in Lansdowne Street, Bardwell Valley.
15HCA Discussion Paper :
Pictured right is an example of a Federation
Bungalow that has an addition designed to
suit the design of the original building. The two
storey addition is set back behind the original
chimney thus ensuring the retention of the
Contributory and Intrusive
HCA consist of ‘intact’ streetscapes of original
properties. Original buildings, also known as
‘contributory buildings’, date from the ‘key
historic’ period – the most important historical
period in the development of the suburb. For
example in Hamilton and Lansdowne Streets
the original buildings are Californian and
Federation style bungalows from the 1910s and
1920s as shown in the images above.
There are one or two other buildings in the
street that were built at a different time, that
do not contribute anything to the aesthetic
value of the street and are not part of the
key historic period. These buildings are either
‘neutral’ or ‘intrusive’. The DCP will identify
which buildings are ‘contributory’ – from the
key historic period; and which buildings are
‘neutral’ or ‘intrusive’.
Above: Additions to a
bungalow in Hamilton
Street, Bardwell Valley.
Left: A neutral building
in Landsdowne Street,
16 : Rockdale City Council
The building in Lansdowne Street is described
as ‘neutral’ as it is unlike the contributory
Bungalows in the street, but its single storey
scale does not intrude into their setting.
The established repetitive rhythm of the steep
pitched roofs and deeply shaded verandahs of
The house in
the centre is an
example of infill
the new building
item (on the left).
New Buildings in a HCA – Infill
Inserting a new building into an intact
streetscape is referred to as ‘infill development’
– it is very important to consider the existing
context in the design of new infill buildings.
When designing a building to fit into an
existing historic context, particularly where
there is architectural consistency, the following
design criteria should be carefully considered:
✦ Character – the qualities of a place.
✦ Scale – the size of a building in relation to
✦ Form – the overall shape of a building.
✦ Siting – the position of a building on its lot.
✦ Materials and colour – what the building
is made from and how the surfaces are
✦ Detailing – the design of architectural
the contributory houses have an architectural
consistency which would be broken if a
new house without these characteristics
was inserted into the street. New two storey
buildings would be intrusive because their
scale, form and bulk are different from the
17HCA Discussion Paper :
CAN I DEMOLISH AND DEVELOP
This will depend upon whether your property
has been identified as contributory, neutral, or
intrusive (see pag 14). If the building is neutral
or intrusive it is generally okay to demolish.
If your property is located in a HCA you will be
required to lodge a development application
with Council if you wish to develop your land.
WILL I NEED EXTRA REPORTS WITH
Yes it is likely you will need to have a
Statement of Heritage Impact if you are
proposing to do a substantial development.
In this case heritage will be just another
planning consideration, just as acid sulphate
soils, traffic or flooding requires specialist
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR ME IF MY
HOUSE IS IN A HCA?
CAN I ALTER OR ADD ON TO
Yes you can make alterations and additions
depending upon what it is you wish to do.
All development requires development
consent and will be assessed upon its merits.
In a HCA most work that isn’t visible from the
street is usually acceptable. It is the additions
or alterations to the front that are usually more
strictly controlled than other development.
This just means the changes have to be
sympathetic with the heritage character of the
street and locality.
A heritage item in Hamilton
Street that could be de-listed
if a HCA was introduced.
18 : Rockdale City Council
DOES IT MEAN I CAN’T CHANGE
No, being in a HCA does not mean alterations
are not possible. The alterations simply need
to be sympathetic with the heritage values of
1. Can I enclose my front verandah of my
original 1920s bungalow?
Enclosing the veranda at the front of an
original 1920s bungalow would probably
not be approved, particularly if it was one
of a long row of similar bungalows.
2. Can I put an addition or a deck at the rear
of my bungalow?
Removing a lean-to at the rear to add
extra rooms or a deck would probably
be acceptable as it would not affect the
3. Can I put a new window in the side wall
of my original bungalow?
Most likely this would be possible as it
wouldn’t affect the group.
4. Can I put another storey on my bungalow?
This would depend upon many factors
such as how far from the front the second
storey was proposed. Whether it had the
same style of roof and was in a sympathetic
design. This type of proposal would need
to be carefully designed but there is
potential for it to be acceptable.
5. Can I put more rooms on my small Victorian
If the cottage was in a row then building at
the rear is likely to be possible. If it is located
on a corner then placement and design of
additions would need to be arranged so
that they did not overwhelm the cottage or
6. Can I park my car in the front of my building
if it is bungalow or a cottage?
Generally all parking needs to be located
behind the front building line of the building.
WHAT IF I JUST WANT TO DO
MAINTENANCE OR SOMETHING
For maintenance and minor work you will
not require development approval from
Council. These things will either be exempt,
that is not requiring approval, or they might
be considered minor and Council can issue
a letter giving permission for the work to
19HCA Discussion Paper :
Free architectural advice
Council provides a Heritage Advisor who is
available to provide free advice on alterations,
additions and maintenance to heritage items.
Should the HCA be created then this advice
would extend to all the properties within the
WHAT ASSISTANCE IS AVAILABLE
FOR OWNERS OF HERITAGE PLACES?
No DA fees for minor
Where it is necessary to put a development
application into Council for minor works then
Council waives the application fees for heritage
items. If HCA are introduced then this will be
extended to places in a HCA.
Assistance with Heritage Reports
for minor development
Council has developed a template and
guidelines to assist applicants in the
preparation of heritage reports that may be
required as part of an application to Council.
With assistance from the Heritage Advisor
applicants can use the guidelines to produce
their own report and thereby save the cost of
20 : Rockdale City Council
WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS FOR THE
Council is offering the community the
opportunity to get involved in deciding
whether there are unique or special things
about where they live.
Feedback from the community will help
Council to determine the next steps.
Moorefields Avenue, Kogarah.
21HCA Discussion Paper :
Council will consider the submissions made in relation to this
Depending upon the outcome of the submissions Council will
decide upon a course of action. This may be to do nothing or it may
be to do further investigation and consultation.
HOW DO I MAKE
Write to: The General Manager
Rockdale City Council
PO Box 21
Rockdale NSW 2216
Enquiries: 02 9562 1666
22 : Rockdale City Council
Historic plans are used in the background research into HCA (Rockdale City Library).