The National Trust (NSW) Heritage Awards is an annual celebration of outstanding practice in the field of heritage.

The National Trust Heritage Awards ceremony for 2021 was held on Thursday 13 May, presented by the ABC’s Simon Marnie, who announced winners in 10 categories and three individual prizes that celebrate outstanding practice in the field of heritage. The Judges’ Choice this year was Leagues Club Park in Gosford.

The ceremony was held at heritage-listed Dolton House in Pyrmont, featuring special guest speakers: President of the National Trust of Australia (NSW), Neil Wykes OAM; the National Trust’s Director of Conservation, David Burdon; Chair of the Heritage Council of NSW, Frank Howarth and the Chair of the National Trust Heritage Awards Judging Committee, Matt Devine.

The annual National Trust Heritage Awards is in its 27th year. The awards recognise projects, initiatives and individuals that demonstrate excellence in the conservation, protection, and interpretation of Aboriginal, built, natural and cultural heritage. The awards are the signature event of the Australian Heritage Festival in New South Wales and are proudly supported by the NSW Government through the Heritage Council of NSW.

Debbie Mills, Chief Executive Officer of the National Trust (NSW) said: “COVID-19 brought a challenge to everyone working in heritage for 2020 and the early months of 2021, and what the National Trust Heritage Awards has revealed is that heritage has endured, emerged resilient and continues to demonstrate its importance to the people of New South Wales.”

“The judges for this year’s National Trust Heritage Awards were excited by the number and quality of submissions received and we found it difficult to decide the eventual winners,” said Matt Devine, Chair of the National Trust Heritage Awards Jury. “Congratulations to all the entrants for their hard work in conserving and promoting the cultural heritage of New South Wales.”

Matthew Devine presided as Chair of the jury for the National Trust Heritage Awards in 2021. Judges on the panel included: Phil Bennett, Dr Noni Boyd, David Burdon, Miranda Firman, Dr Siobhan Lavelle OAM, Lisa Newell and Saneia Norton.

The National Trust Heritage Awards ceremony was livestreamed with real-time social media coverage, you can follow the conversation online @nationaltrustau #HeritageAwardsNSW.

Find out more about the winning projects

The winners for 2021 are:

Aboriginal Heritage

  • Leagues Club Park, Gosford – entered by Hunter Central Coast Development Corporation

Adaptive Re-use

  • Sub Base Platypus – entered by Lahznimmo Architects

Advocacy

  • The Conservation of the Mulgoa Valley as a cultural landscape – entered by the Friends of Fernhill and Mulgoa Valley Incorporated

Conservation: Built Heritage

  • The Restoration of Cathedral of St Michael and St John, Bathurst – entered by the Cathedral of St Michael and St John, Bathurst
  • Shell House, Sydney – entered by Adriel Consultancy
  • The Greenway Window Conservation and Upgrade Product at the Greenway Building in Milsons Point – entered by Land and Housing Corporation and Department of Planning, Industry and Environment

Conservation: Interiors & Objects

  • The Restoration of the Historic 1890 William Hill & Son Organ in the Hunter Baille Memorial Presbyterian Church in Annandale – entered by Ralph Lane OAM

Conservation: Landscape

  • Spains Wharf, Kurraba Point – entered by Aspire Stone Masonry

Continuing Tradition

  • The George Proudman Fellowship Program – entered by Ministers Stonework Program

Education & Interpretation

  • Fairbridge Children’s Park, Molong – entered by Clouston Associates

Heritage Events, Exhibitions & Tours

  • Fragile Beauty, Rich and Rare – entered by Pamela Pauline Photography
  • Carrington Road Industrial Marrickville – entered by Louisa King and Ali Wright

Heritage Resources & Publications

  • Designing a Legacy – entered by Tim Ross, Modernister Films and Production Group

The Judges’ Choice Award

  • Leagues Club Park, Gosford – entered by Hunter Central Coast Development Corporation

Leagues Club Park has been transformed into a stunning nature-inspired regional play space in the Gosford CBD, creating a landmark destination embedded with local culture and history.

The $10 million project includes nature-inspired ‘wild play’ areas, interactive Aboriginal design elements, accessible pathways and expansive green space.

The Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council played a central role in the park’s design, working in close partnership with the Hunter Central Coast Development Corporation (HCCDC) and landscape architects Turf Design.

Local Aboriginal culture is integrated in the design, with the park’s cultural centrepiece a circular amphitheatre inspired by a traditional meeting place and dance ground. This unique community space is surrounded by timber art poles, decorated by a local Aboriginal artist to tell the stories of  the region’s land, sea and people.

The park features an innovative tidal terrace that connected to the nearby Brisbane Water to rise and fall with the natural tide, allowing families to engage in wet or dry play depending on the time of day. The tidal pool is populated by sandstone animal ‘islands’ inspired by carvings from the nearby Bulgandry Art Site and built from local sandstone. Aboriginal canoes and a European-style boat symbolise the meeting of two cultures, with the natural environment bringing connection and understanding.

Fun and play are also key features, with fishing net-inspired climbing frames, slides and towering play pods connected by rope tunnels.

HCCDC Chief Operating Officer Valentina Misevska said that they were delighted and honoured to be recognised in the Aboriginal Heritage category this year.

“This wouldn’t have been possible without the valuable input of local stakeholders such as the Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council. This collaboration has helped deliver a unique space that will bring people into Gosford and, by sharing local history and stories, become the city’s new cultural heart,” said Ms Misevska.

 

Thank you to our supporters

The National Trust Heritage Awards are proudly supported by the NSW Government through the Heritage Council of NSW.