Heritage Significance

The Character of Hunters Hill

The Hunters Hill local government area (LGA) has a special character that is emphasised by the numerous and mature trees, its stone walls, natural landscape and foreshore, including heritage listed reserves and the numerous state and local heritage listed buildings.

These features contribute to the attractiveness of the area; with its leafy streets, its water glimpses between its old buildings and its rock-lined foreshore walks.

What sets Hunter’s Hill Council apart from other councils is its unique location and its village atmosphere.

With this in mind, Council actively seeks to ensure that new development is sympathetic to the existing environment to maintain the character of Hunters Hill for present and future generations.

Council has produced a number of policies and documents that relate to heritage guidelines as indicated by the links.

Cultural and Natural Heritage Significance of Hunters Hill

The cultural and natural heritage significance of Hunters Hill, both pre and post European settlement has been recognised by the National Trust, the Heritage Council of NSW and the Australian Heritage Commission and has resulted in the majority of the LGA being listed as a Conservation Area.

The natural history of Hunters Hill has been greatly reduced in extent since 1788. It is in this context that the importance of ensuring all existing remnant vegetation in the LGA, on public or private land, be it in good or degraded condition, is identified and maintained.

There is an understanding that ongoing maintenance is needed to keep the built heritage of Hunters Hill in good order, this is no less applicable for the natural heritage to survive. Care and ongoing maintenance of its natural systems is needed, and to achieve this, Council and the community will work together. Council’s Local Environmental Plan (LEP), states that one of the aims is to retain ‘environmental heritage through conservation of items of environmental heritage.’

This is in line with State Environmental Planning Policy (Biodiversity and Conservation) 2021, whose stated aim is to ‘protect the biodiversity values of trees and other vegetation in non-rural areas of the State'  and to 'preserve the amenity of non-rural areas of the State through the preservation of trees and other vegetation'.

Council employs qualified bush regenerators to work at various locations. Even degraded areas where work is not being undertaken have significant habitat values and the resilience of the plant communities in them should not be underestimated.

‘The definition of bushland (in the Policy) is designed to protect remnant areas of the original natural vegetation. These cover a wide variety of plant associations, ranging from dune thickets and coastal heaths, through various forest and woodland types, to mangroves and swamp forests. The definition reflects the dynamic nature of bushland and the variation in its type and condition in the urban setting. It allows for the fact that many disturbed areas may be restored and regenerated with suitable management. The definition should be interpreted liberally rather than restrictively to exclude areas from the Policy.’

Residents fortunate to either have remnant vegetation on their property or who live adjacent to bushland need to be aware of their impacts. Development adjacent to bushland requires sympathetic solutions which Council will promote through its development controls; while the work of Bushcare volunteers is valued, supported and encouraged throughout the Municipality.

Perhaps the need to protect our natural heritage is best summed up in the words of one Hunters Hill Bushcare volunteer:

“It seems to me now that it is urgent to protect and encourage the conservation of plants growing in increasingly rare and valuable (in world-wide terms) circumstances of natural habitat – what other cities have the opportunity?….knowing that if my generation doesn’t contribute, then no other will have the chance.” - Graham Chambers