Local Heritage Fund: Helping to preserve heritage buildings in Blue Mountains

For the third year running, the Local Heritage Assistance Fund has successfully assisted Blue Mountains heritage property owners to look after their heritage buildings.
Image of Californian Bungalow and Linden Observatory

Funding totaling $15,000 was distributed to seven property owners, for minor conservation works. This year’s fund was open to individually listed heritage items and also provided the opportunity for owners of publicly accessible properties to provide long-term care for their heritage properties, through the preparation of a heritage management document.

“This year’s Fund was able to assist the State heritage-listed Linden Observatory prepare a Conservation Management Strategy. This will help guide the future of this significant site and its unique collection of star-gazing equipment, developed over decades by astronomer and engineer, Kenneth Beames,” Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill, said.

“Other projects included repairs to windows, verandahs, fences and roofs of heritage item houses across the Mountains and also the reinstatement of an original curved glass window panel to an Art Deco shopfront.”

Another successful project was repairs to a Californian Bungalow in the mid-Mountains. Council contributed to the cost of significant repairs to the front bay window, which had sunk over time, causing cracks and separation in the framing, windows and roof. The owners have now carried out a thorough restoration job from the ground up, ensuring the façade is watertight, and that the bay window will remain in good shape for decades to come.

The owners, Lana and Glen Axford, who expressed the satisfaction that comes with the ownership and care of a heritage building, said: “We feel extremely privileged to be in the position to be caretakers of this beautiful bungalow. Sometimes people can see having a property with a heritage order attached as a disadvantage but we see it as an opportunity. Being able to contribute and ensure the heritage fabric of your community is retained and that locals get to enjoy the benefits of seeing a living history in their community. That’s why we love the mountains so much, you can be living next to an 1800’s cottage, then a 1920’s bungalow through to a red brick mid-century modern house. You get to see the layers of history and community development and that’s what makes our area so unique.”

Council has secured funding from the NSW Government to continue the Fund next year. Applications will open on Wednesday, 7 September 2022.

The Fund has a total of $15,000 to award, and individual grants will be up to $2,500 each.

This new round of grants, which apply to the 2022/23 financial year, will direct funding towards heritage buildings that are either listed as local heritage items or are within heritage conservation areas in the Blue Mountains Local Environmental Plan. Priority will be given to minor conservation works to buildings that will provide a public benefit to the community, such as improvements to enhance the building’s façade or exterior of the building.

Consideration will also again be given to the preparation of strategic heritage documents, such as conservation management strategies or heritage interpretation plans, for important heritage buildings under threat or in exceptional circumstances.

More information is available at bmcc.nsw.gov.au/LHAF.

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