Rockdale currently has a number of Aboriginal sites identified within the local government area. If your property is affected by one of these sites it will be noted on your planning certificate. For further information about Aboriginal Sites contact the Office of Environment and Heritage or the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council.
Unrecorded Aboriginal sites of significance may be located throughout the City and it is anticipated these will be identified as further studies are undertaken.
Rockdale City Council conducted a major heritage study in the 1990s that identified a large number of places with heritage significance. These places included buildings, parks, street trees and natural areas which have Non-Indigenous historic, aesthetic, social or technical values. One aesthetic characteristic of a building is its architectural style.
Many of these places were subsequently included in the Local Environmental Plan as heritage items. In 2010 a review of this list was undertaken that updated the information about each heritage item.
Council's heritage inventory is available by searching the Rockdale Local Government Area on the Office of Environment and Heritage, Heritage Branch website.
Heritage Listing - Frequently Asked Questions
Does heritage listing mean I can't do anything to my house?
No. Alterations and additions are acceptable so long as they retain the important features and detailing of the house.
Where can I get free advice?
If you are renovating or want some help with how to maintain your property Council has a Heritage Advisor who can give free advice. To make an appointment call 9562 1691 or to speak to the Heritage Advisor call 9562 1746 on Tuesdays.
What does a local listing mean?
There are two heritage lists affecting properties in Rockdale. The main one is the local list which contains the heritage items in the Rockdale Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2011. This local list is also called the local heritage schedule. If your property is heritage listed it is probably a local item. The other list is the State Heritage Register which contains places of state significance. There are only 12 of these in Rockdale and none are domestic sized private houses.
Are there benefits to being heritage listed?
Yes, for example:
- The property has a heritage restricted valuation available through the NSW Valuer General which can be applied in order to get reduced rates and reduced land tax
- Retaining the character of a place can contribute to its charm and desirability
- No fees on simple development applications (ie. when a development application is only required because the property is a heritage item)
- Council has a heritage advisory service to provide free advice on heritage alterations and conservation
- Council will consider different uses for a property even though it might be prohibited by other planning rules (for example, use of a dwelling house for professional suites) provided the proposed use will conserve the heritage item
For more information about what heritage listing means, click here.
Can I get a heritage grant?
Currently there are no local heritage grants available. Grants are only available for places of state significance. However from time to time other grants become available through various sources for more information go to Community Builders.
Getting Your House Heritage Listed
If you think your house has heritage value and should be a heritage item then Council would like to hear from you.
Firstly gather together any historical information that you have about your property and take some photographs of the property. Then email or send this information to Council with a description of why you think the property has heritage value. Please include your contact details in the letter.
Mail it to:
The General Manager
Rockdale City Council
PO Box 21
Council's Heritage Advisor will then contact you to arrange an inspection of the property. Once the inspection is made a heritage assessment using the NSW Heritage Criteria will be prepared. You will receive a copy of the assessment when it is complete.
To make a property a heritage item it has to be included in the heritage schedule of the Rockdale Local Environmental Plan 2011. As this is a legal document it must go through a process which includes Council approval, advertising, and finally Planning NSW approval. Your property only becomes a heritage item when the process is complete and the amendment to the Local Environmental Plan is published in the Government Gazette.
If you would like to know more about heritage listing or any other matter relating to Rockdale Local Environmental Plan 2011, please contact Council's Urban and Environmental Strategy Section on 9562 1666.
Rockdale City Council is concerned about protecting the heritage of the local area, and has undertaken a comprehensive Heritage Study to identify every residential building in the City by its architectural style:
Many of the City's significant buildings have been included on Council's Heritage List.
The information below explains and illustrates the major periods of development in the City.
The Victorian Style (1840-1890)
Buildings dating from the 19th Century (specifically between 1840 and 1890) are known as Victorian. Many public buildings of this style were built in the City of Rockdale, as were private homes (including large mansions, villas, smaller houses, terrace houses and farm houses).
Some Victorian architecture remains in the City, though the style comprises only 10% of the total number of buildings in the area. Victorian houses have the following external features:
- Single storey (usually)
- Double fronted (with one room projecting forward)
- Verandah stretching across the front of the building (featuring patterned tiles and cast iron decoration)
- Slate and/or corrugated iron roof (if it hasn't been replaced)
- Rendered painted brickwork walls (some may have been built of stone or timber)
- A number of chimneys
Interior characteristics include high ceilings, elaborate cornices, ceiling roses and marble or timber fireplace surrounds.
Where to spot Victorian architecture
- Victorian House Museum at Lydham Hall
- Rockdale Station
- Arncliffe Station
- Along Forest and Wollongong Roads (various mansions)
- Throughout the residential areas of Rockdale, Arncliffe, Carlton and Bexley (villas)
View a map detailing the Distribution of Victorian buildings (1840-1890) in the City.
The Federation Style (1890-1915)
Federation architecture flourished near the end of the 19th century and continued up to 1915. The style is well represented in the City of Rockdale by a number of buildings, including Bexley Primary School and Arncliffe Public School.
Federation houses have the following external features:
- Red brick walls (though some were built of stone, and several of timber)
- Matching red Marseilles patterned terracotta roof tiles
- Slate roofs (corrugated iron was usually used for the rear roof section)
- A verandah under the main roof, featuring decorative timber work and floor tiles
- Casement and headlight windows at the front
Where to Find Federation Architecture
- Several local public buildings, include rows of shops
- The Schools of Arts at Rockdale, Bexley and Carlton
- The fire station and old post office in Arncliffe
- Individual detached and semi-detached houses throughout residential areas
View a map detailing the Distribution of Federation buildings (1890-1915) in the City.
Californian Bungalows (1915-1940)
Californian Bungalow is the term used to describe houses built between the First and Second World Wars, when demand for housing was high. Some 20% of the current total of buildings in the City are Californian Bungalows.
These houses are mostly single storey, made with red bricks and red terracotta roof tiles. Like Victorian and Federation houses, Californian Bungalows have tiled verandahs, decorative timber work and headlight windows at the front of the house, and a corrugated iron roof at the back. Unlike Victorian and Federation houses, they usually have a driveway and a garage for a car.
Where to find Californian Bungalows
All over the City of Rockdale, as in-fill housing between Victorian and Federation homes, with concentrations in Brighton, Bexley and Arncliffe.
View a map detailing the Distribution of Californian Bungalows (1915-1945) in the City.
Between The Wars Styles (1928-1940)
Between the First and Second World Wars, several architectural styles flourished. Extensive in-fill development between older houses took place all over the City (especially during the 1930s) and Californian Bungalows continued to be built, while new housing estates opened (such as those in Kingsgrove) and Art Deco flats and shops were developed.
This style of housing is largely represented by single storey homes built on large blocks. Between The Wars style homes feature:
- Double front with hip roof and a verandah or porch
- Walls made of dark liver coloured bricks featuring geometric patterns in the brickwork to the front of the house
- Roofs of dark red-brown glazed tiles
- Casement windows and front doors featuring lead light in geometric or Art Deco patterns
These houses usually have one fireplace in the living room, and ceilings featuring Art Deco designs.
Where to find Between The Wars styles
- Flats, particularly near the Rockdale Railway Station
- Art Deco rows of shops at Kingsgrove and Bexley
- The Rockdale Town Hall (also Art Deco)
This style is distributed widely throughout the city, in the form of further in-fill developments, with large concentrations in Kingsgrove.
View a map detailing the Distribution of Between The Wars buildings (1928-1940) in the City.
Post War styles (1940-today)
The Post War style encompasses all the development in the City of Rockdale after the Second World War. The period's earlier housing styles are simple and modern in design, and made from either weatherboard, asbestos cement or brick veneer. Redevelopment, from three storey walk up flats to town houses, villas and dual occupancies followed later. Even more recently, high density/rise housing has been constructed in parts of Brighton Le Sands and the Rockdale Town Centres. The 'Post War' style is also used to identify older properties which have been modernised since 1940.
For more information, go to Contacts, links and further reading.