Joint media release: Historic Sydney precinct joins National Heritage List

10 February 2021

The Hon Sussan Ley MP, Minister for the Environment
The Hon Don Harwin MP, NSW Minister for the Arts 


A slice of Sydney’s historic parks, gardens, streets, and buildings dating to the first several decades of British settlement and associated with several people of importance in Australia’s cultural history including Bennelong, Governors Phillip and Macquarie and Francis Greenway has been added to Australia’s National Heritage List.

The 100 hectare site on the eastern side of Sydney’s Central Business District known as Governors’ Domain and Civic Precinct covers the First Government House site, Hyde Park Barracks, the Conservatorium of Music (former government stables), the Mint and Parliament House (former Rum Hospital), Hyde Park, the Domain, Macquarie Place and the Royal Botanic Gardens. 

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the precinct contains a rich collection of historic and archaeological sites representing important milestones in our national history. 

“Governors’ Domain and Civic Precinct is a layered landscape which can vividly show how the area has evolved over time, from its earliest use by Aboriginal people through to its role as a penal colony and early European settlement, and vibrant modern city,” Minister Ley said. 

“For the first several decades after the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, Aboriginal people and colonisers lived in close proximity, establishing relationships with each other within a wider story of Indigenous contact and colonisation.

“The precinct depicts a society in transition and its range of archaeological assets provide a rare and valuable source of research into Australia’s early colonial history.

“Among the treasures are Australia's first hospital, Parliament and civic institutions, public parks, gardens and places of worship that ultimately helped to cultivate Australia’s independence from Britain.”

NSW Minister for the Arts Don Harwin said, “many individual places within the precinct are already state listed, however National Heritage listing unites the shared history and better links the buildings as a heritage precinct.”

Nominations for new National Heritage listings are currently open until 25 February 2021 and Minister Ley has asked the Australian Heritage Council to prioritise Indigenous cultural heritage for the upcoming assessment period. 

“Our First Nations people have lived here for tens of thousands of years, and I want to see more places listed for their Indigenous values,” Minister Ley added.

The National Heritage List recognises and protects places that reflect our unique landscapes, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and our development as a nation. Each year, more places are included on the List as our national story unfolds and understanding of our heritage deepens.

To find out more about Governors’ Domain and Civic Precinct visit: https://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/places/national/governors-domain-civic-precinct

To nominate a site for inclusion on the National Heritage List visit: http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/places/nominating-heritage-place