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Ku-ring-gai’s built heritage

Ku-ring-gai as a whole is of national and state heritage significance because of:

In 1997 this led to the National Trust recommending that 27 precincts be classified as Urban Conservation Areas (UCAs) – more than any other local government area in NSW.  Unfortunately, Ku-ring-gai Council didn’t act on this recommendation and, today, Ku-ring-gai remains the only metropolitan local government area in NSW without any gazetted conservation areas*.

Recent councils have sought to remedy this situation, commissioning expert studies that reinforce the National Trust’s earlier work, and seeking gazettal of appropriate conservation areas.  However, successive state Planning Ministers have refused to gazette any conservation areas in Ku-ring-gai, thereby continuing to expose the various precincts to unsympathetic infill and medium density development.

In 2000 this led the Australian Council of National Trusts to declare the National Trust conservation areas in Ku-ring-gai as "endangered places", and to press the NSW Government to remedy the situation, but so far to no avail.  Quite the reverse – the NSW Government has stripped most planning powers from Ku-ring-gai Council and has approved unsympathetic developments in the areas of highest heritage significance.

A Photographic Record of Sites and Streetscapes In 2008 FOKE compiled A Photographic Record of Sites and Streetscapes impacted by the Ku-ring-gai Residential Development Strategy, Stage 1.  It contains around 2000 photographs of homes under threat from the re-zonings mandated by the State Government.  Copies of the work have been deposited with both the Ku-ring-gai Library and Ku-ring-gai Historical Society at Gordon, and with the National Trust, Sydney.

For more detailed descriptions of Ku-ring-gai’s heritage significance and character, and descriptions of the UCAs awaiting gazettal, click here .  For a slide show of some of the heritage destroyed or at risk in Ku-ring-gai, see our heritage photo gallery .  We also have a range of ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos here .  We also have some videos for you to watch on YouTube , showing some of what has been lost already, and what is yet to come.

International expert's dismay re Ku-ring-gai
When visiting international planning expert, Joel Kotkin, keynote speaker at the Property Council Congress "Cities Summit 2011", inspected Ku-ring-gai's suburbs, he was appalled at the inconsiderate destruction of the community environment.  He said "What is happening in Ku-ring-gai is amongst the worst I have seen and dreadful that the surroundings built up over the years is being destroyed by bureaucratic ideology".  For a full report of his remarks click here.

* Source: NSW Government’s Metropolitan Draft North Sub-region Strategy, 2007, p82