Braidwood, NSW

Heritage for Everyone

Heritage for the Future

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Braidwood Background
Fact Sheet

Laughing Owl Productions




On March 30, 2006, Braidwood and its setting were officially listed on the NSW State Heritage Register. Planning Minister Frank Sartor made the announcement in Ryrie Park. "Braidwood is a rare surviving example of Georgian period town planning, dating from the 1830s," said Minister Sartor. "I am happy to list the town, which will guarantee that its unique character is retained. We have struck a balanced decision, to allow heritage to underpin the town's prosperity and to help the region's strong economic growth and dynamic communities."

Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to make this important decision a reality.


Fact Sheet

Inappropriate Development in Braidwood
Australia’s Last Georgian Town

  • The historic Southern Tablelands town of Braidwood, settled in the 1820s and established between 1837 and 1839, is facing a devastating tide of inappropriate urban sprawl.
  • Two huge subdivisions on rural land surrounding the intact 19th century village were approved by Palerang Council this month despite strong community opposition and the concerns of councillors that they were forced to make a poor decision.
  • The developments, with a combined 186 house sites, will increase the size of the town by at least 50% with the potential for more.
  • The Council openly admits that the precedent set by this decision under their outdated planning rules will give developers “open slather” for further developments which will obliterate this unique piece of Australian heritage.
  • No impact studies were undertaken and Council refused to consider the obvious negative implications of the developments to the heritage significance of the town nor the imminent implementation of better guidelines with a forthcoming revised Development Control Plan.
  • Council received 140 submissions from residents opposing the developments, and none in support, however Council dismissed community concerns as being irrelevant.
  • Devastated residents hope that the Minister assisting the Minister for Planning, Dianne Beamer, will recommend that an Interim Heritage Order be placed on Braidwood and its setting to allow time for proper planning procedures to be implemented with the assistance of the NSW Heritage Office.
  • Developers are set to begin work on the two sites within a few weeks time.
  • An Interim Heritage Order would reverse the decisions made by Council and could be kept in place until the Government, the Heritage Office and the community are able to reach a reasonable compromise with the developers satisfying all considerations. Anyone concerned at the destruction of this valuable historical town should write immediately to the Minister or to their local Member of Parliament to ask that Braidwood be protected for everyone.
  • The town was classified by the National Trust of Australia in the 1976 as a unique entity worth preserving – at a time when no State or Federal legislation existed for the protection of built heritage assets.
  • Braidwood was included on the Register of the National Estate in 1980, but this classification carries no protection in law.
  • Braidwood is not currently protected by any heritage legislation. National Trust Listing and National Estate listings only serve to emphasise the historical importance of the town, but cannot protect it.
  • In 2002 the NSW Heritage Office proposed classification of Braidwood as an historic place on the State Heritage Register – the first time that a NSW town would be listed as an assemblage of buildings in a setting.
  • Heritage classification of Braidwood would allow the town and its surroundings to be protected from inappropriate development by encouraging the Council to access better planning, and to follow “best practice” in designing new buildings in Braidwood.
  • State Heritage items are protected in law enabling local planning rules to be enforced, a far better protection for the community than local Council Development Control Plan (DCP) and Local Environment Plan (LEP) documents which are effectively just guidelines.
  • Heritage listing would not stop development but would encourage good and careful planning of developments which are sympathetic to the sensitive existing heritage landscape.
  • Heritage listing would discourage large urban sprawls immediately adjoining the village which would remove the rural outlook from the historic town.
  • Heritage listed properties are eligible for substantial discounts on community charges such as rates, and all heritage listed properties in Braidwood, including modern buildings falling within the classified area, would typically be eligible for a reduction of 20% in rates.
  • Heritage listing provides security for purchasers of properties that the area they buy into is carefully controlled, thereby ensuring that their investment is protected from unexpected future changes. Property values of both historic buildings and modern homes in conservation areas have been proven to rise when areas are protected by heritage classification.
  • Property developers have claimed that their developments will provide cheap housing for the children of local families. Three years ago there were many houses in Braidwood available for sale at under $100,000. Since 2002 much of the vacant land and the less expensive homes on large sites in and around the village have been purchased by property developers, artificially inflating prices so that today there are no houses for sale for less than $200,000.
  • When the current large scale developments are complete the large quantity of small modern homes available on the very quiet Braidwood housing market will have the effect of devaluing many of the existing homes.
  • Braidwood is a unique historical town which needs special planning measures.
  • In approving the developments almost all heritage advice has been ignored.
  • 1997 studies recommended that the area in question be rezoned to “rural” to protect it from such development.
  • Council’s old DCP had no provisions for Section 94 developer contributions that would require a developer to contribute to community expenses amplified by his development like swimming pools, recreation facilities, libraries, footpaths and other public amenities. Waiting to approve a development under a revised DCP would have allowed the community to benefit from these contributions instead of requiring the community to pay these costs, which means that the community is subsidising the developer.
  • There have been very few speculative housing developments involving large scale subdivisions.
  • The organic growth, wealth of fine 19th century buildings, and rural setting have all contributed to make Braidwood an iconic historic rural village for visitors and there is a strong local economy based on tourism and history which supplements rural activities.
  • The town has attracted a very large arts community which has grown steadily since the 1950s and which includes painters, writers, photographers, film makers, musicians, textile artists, cabinetmakers and craftspeople.
  • Braidwood has been the setting for some of Australia’s definitive films including “Ned Kelly”, “The Year my Voice Broke”, “On Our Selection”, "Forty Thousand Horsemen", "Robbery Under Arms" and “Finding Joy”, and it’s intact state give it an unsurpassed potential for future film making.
  • It hosts an impressive array of cultural festivals including “The Airing of the Quilts”, Heritage celebrations, Music festivals, Arts festivals and recently the “Two Fires” Festival celebrating the arts and activism of poet and writer Judith Wright.

Concerned people should write to:

Mr Bill Nethery
NSW Heritage Office
Locked Bag 5020,
Parramatta NSW 2124
Fax: (02) 9873 8599

The Hon. Dianne Beamer
Minister Assisting the Minister for Infrastructure & Planning
Level 33
Governor Macquarie Tower
1 Farrer Place
Sydney NSW 2000
Fax: (02) 9228 4131


For more information:



Andrew Einspruch: 0409 609 428
Antony Davies: 0438 126 987


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