National Trust Heritage Awards 2019 winners announced

The National Trust (NSW) has today announced the winners for its annual National Trust Heritage Awards. This year marks the 25th anniversary of these important awards that acknowledge the greatest innovation, conservation, education and advocacy with a view to preserving or protecting natural, built and cultural heritage in New South Wales. The 14 winners across multiple disciplines were announced at a luncheon attended by more than 300 people at Doltone House.

Assessed by an independent panel of judges across 11 categories, award entries are received from the building design and architecture sector, community groups, the culture and arts sector including galleries and libraries, leading researchers and publishers, and many more.

Brian Powyer, President of the National Trust (NSW) said: “For quarter of a century, The National Trust (NSW) has recognised and awarded individuals and organisations conserving, protecting and interpreting heritage.

“We look forward to this event every year as it provides us with the opportunity to share with everyone in New South Wales why heritage is so important and to recognise the dedicated organisations and individuals who work tirelessly and employ their extraordinary talents and skills to ensure that heritage is protected and shared with many generations to come,” added Mr Powyer.


The Lifetime Achievement Award

For an individual who has given special service to heritage conservation.

Winner: Dr George Gibbons

Geologist, Dr Gibbons is recognised for his 32 years of service to the National Trust and his work conserving and preserving cemetery monuments. For eight years, Dr Gibbons advised seven religious trusts at Rockwood Cemetery and has worked as both a Trustee of Crown Land cemeteries and an active member of the Trust’s Cemeteries Committee for more than 27 years. Dr Gibbons is considered a walking encyclopaedia in matters relating to the conservation and preservation of the fabric of the cemeteries that form a valuable part of our national history. With his wealth of experience, Dr Gibbons has made an invaluable contribution in the drafting of National Trust policies and guidelines as well as draft heritage listings.


Heritage Skills Award

For a volunteer, teacher, professional individual or apprentice who has demonstrated the application of craft skills that have been key in repairing or adapting a heritage site.

Winner: Ron Lodewijks

Ron Lodewijks, of Stone Restorations Rylstone, embodies all the key attributes of an outstanding heritage stonemason and builder. Ron is not only passionate about the restoration of heritage buildings, but also about the continuation of the craft of stone-masonry through the training and development of the next generation, who will continue this work into the future. Ron migrated to Australia in 1962 from Holland, with his mother being Dutch and his father Dutch-Indonesian. He grew up in Sydney and, after finishing high school, was employed as an apprentice stonemason. He completed his apprenticeship with Gosford Quarries, working on many of the finest heritage buildings in Sydney including the Queen Victoria Building, Central Railway Station, Lands Department and Education Department buildings and St Andrews Cathedral, to name a few. For the last six years Ron has been restoring the Catholic Cathedral of St Michael and St John, Bathurst, designed by Edward Gel and built in 1865.


Cathy Donnelly Memorial Award

Awarded to recognise an Outstanding Female Heritage Professional.

Winner:  Mary Knaggs

Having dedicated much of her life to the cause of heritage conservation, Mary Knaggs has worked across all fields of heritage conservation in both the public and private sectors in NSW, Tasmania and South East Asia. Most recently Mary has been working as a Senior Heritage Consultant with Urbis Heritage. Previously Mary was a Senior Heritage Architect at the NSW Government Architect’s Office. Mary was the principal consultant for a number of large-scale conservation, adaptation and interpretive works, and developed numerous strategic reports and manuals for government agencies that have helped to protect numerous significant assets across the State. Mary has been an important part of the teams that have developed heritage planning solutions for The Rocks, Central Railway Station and the Quay Quarter Precinct at Circular Quay, including the 1961 AMP Building and two 1870s woolstores.

Mary Knaggs has always been a keen supporter of young professionals, willing to share her knowledge and experience with newcomers to the field. She has given much of her time voluntarily to a number of organisations that seek to promote heritage including Australia ICOMOS, the NSW Chapter of the Institute of Architects, NSW Heritage Council, Cultural Heritage Practitioners Tasmania and internationally with AusHeritage. Her dedication to the National Trust in NSW has been ongoing and extensive, as a member of the Urban Conservation and the Curatorial Committee. This award acknowledges Mary’s work over many years, and recognises the lasting impact she has had on numerous places and people.

Category: Conservation Built Heritage

Projects that relate to the conservation of our built heritage including capital works and repair. These projects may include buildings, structures or sites, urban precincts, commercial items, places of worship, houses, interiors, additions, industrial heritage, infill or collections.

Joint Winner: Oldbury Cottage Berrima

Constructed in 1850, Oldbury Cottage remained an active residence until 1986. Following the death of Gertrude Carey, the timber slab cottage became derelict over the course of three decades and was close to becoming a total loss due to pest damage until 2015 when the owner peeled back the layers of history and the originality of the structure was allowed to resurface.

Joint Winner: Kingscliff Community Buildings Restoration

Part of a larger project to reinvigorate the whole foreshore area, the effort of a local community to conserve a wonderful collection of modest yet often overlooked community buildings from the 1950s and reinvigorate them with new life and purpose has been recognised by the Judges as an exemplar project that should be an inspiration to local authorities throughout the state to identify, recognise and preserve these wonderful assets.

Highly Commended: Upper Canal Rectification Works

The Upper Canal is a State Heritage listed asset owned by WaterNSW and has been operating for over 130 years. With its continued function critical to supplying Sydney’s population with water, WaterNSW and its contractors undertook specialist post-mining rectification works to the Upper Canal.

Highly Commended: Wilcannia Post Office
The Wilcannia Post Office veranda reconstruction is a key component of the Wilcannia Township Heritage Revitalisation program, which aims to conserve and restore the town’s important heritage buildings. Regularly challenged with drought and very limited resources, a number of important early buildings have now been conserved for new uses.


Category: Adaptive Re-use

Projects that complement and utilise existing heritage fabric, re-purposed and new developments that are sympathetic to the traditional uses of a site and its structures, and protect the heritage integrity.

Winner: Fenwick Stone Building

The 1880s Fenwick Building is a two-storey sandstone boat store now adapted for use as a cafe and gallery space. It incorporates new internal stairs and outdoor areas, a commercial kitchen, as well as public amenities and a lift to serve the building, the surrounding park and the adjacent transport interchange.


Category: Conservation Landscape

Projects that relate to the conservation of our landscape heritage, including management and conservation. Conservation of natural, urban and cultural landscapes including Indigenous places of significance are included in this category. 

Winner: AILA NSW Landscape Heritage Study

This project proposed a collaborative model for the State Heritage Register nomination of cultural landscapes focused on a vision for the Sydney Harbour ‘Green Necklace.’ Its Landscape Lens methodology and ‘a whole of landscape approach’ successfully broadens long-held limitations defining curtilage beyond cadastral boundaries to visual and water catchments.

Highly Commended: Natural Heritage Management: The Grey Headed Flying Fox
The purpose of this project was to secure the ongoing viability of the Park’s Grey-headed Flying-fox camp and in doing so maintain the integrity of the World listed Early Colonial Cultural landscape and preserve in-situ, and intact, the Ancient Aboriginal archaeological cultural landscape of the Parramatta Sand Body.


Category: Conservation Interiors & Objects

Projects that relate to the conservation of historic interiors and objects. Movable objects are also included in this category.

Joint Winner:  The Melocco Room, Central Station

A fire at Central Station was the impetus for conservation restoration of this marvellous mid-century Melocco Brothers artwork. Now open to the public, the impressive wrap-around wall relief depicts the history of transportation above travertine walling and a beautiful terrazzo floor map of Australia.

Joint Winner: NSW Railways Remembers: Central Station Honour Board Reinstatement

Bringing transport heritage to life, by connecting the people of NSW with their past, is Transport Heritage NSW’s mission, Conserving, interpreting and reinstating WWI honour boards to Central Station in time for the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day is one of the ways they brought transport history to life in 2018.

Highly Commended: City of Parramatta Archaeological Collection

City of Parramatta (Council) has a large and significant artefact collection resulting from archaeological excavations within the Parramatta CBD over the last 30 years. GML Heritage assessed the Council’s archaeological collection, cataloguing key interpretive artefacts and providing accessible management recommendations to maintain existing collections and new acquisitions into the future.


Category: Education & Interpretation

Projects that serve to educate about, or interpret, our heritage in an engaging way. This may include curriculum-based educational projects and resources, and specific interpretation projects relating to a place or item. 

Winner: Sisters of Mercy

Sisters of Mercy North Sydney – Our Story is an immersive and highly interactive exhibition located inside the listed Federation Queen Anne style Stormanston House. This hybrid space for learning, exhibition and experience, communicates the beginnings, characteristics, values and social forces that have shaped the Sisters of Mercy North Sydney.

Highly Commended: Convict Love Token Outreach Project
This project saw Sydney Living Museums collaborate with three NSW Public Schools (Millthorpe, Plumpton and Lapstone) to develop an innovative resource that encouraged students to respond to the Museum’s collection in a meaningful and creative way.

Highly Commended: Interpreting the Rayner Hoff sculpture in the Anzac Memorial

John Stace’s book The Naked Soldier: Interpreting the Rayner Hoff Sculpture in the Anzac Memorial elucidates one of Sydney’s most overlooked cultural landmarks and generates the possibility of educating the public about Hoff’s enigmatic Anzac art.


Category: Heritage Resources

Resources that promotes the conservation of our heritage. This may include research, archaeological resources, heritage guidelines, fact sheets, field guides and heritage studies, both in print and online.

Winner: True Australians and Pioneers: Chinese Migration to the Orange Region of NSW

This recognises the critical role that Chinese migrants made to the economy and culture in the Orange region since the 1830s. A key element of the project was the completion of an illustrated thematic history with short chapters around key themes, places, people, topics and images, with extended captions for pictures of significant objects, places and people. This study embraces all aspects of the lives of Chinese migrants, including their migration from China, their work, employment, family dynamics and other aspects of their daily lives. Strong emphasis was placed on how the Chinese people have shaped the geographic and social landscape.

Highly Commended: Addison Road Community Centre Conservation Management Plan

This first-ever Conservation Management Plan for the Addison Road Community Centre Organisation has given the Centre’s managers a vital tool to help guide the management and conservation of a much-loved and highly used heritage site in Sydney’s Inner West. It has greatly enhanced awareness and appreciation of the Centre’s heritage.

Highly Commended: Chinese Gardens of Friendship – GML Heritage, Context Landscape Design Pty Ltd & Place Management NSW

This Conservation Management Plan was to guide the management of The Chinese Garden of Friendship. The garden was an Australian Bicentennial gift from the city of Guangzhou in 1980s. For the garden’s 30th anniversary it was listed on the NSW State Heritage Register, supported by Place Management NSW, OEH and the NSW National Trust.

Highly Commended: Sydney Trains Historic Painting Practices and Guidelines

Sydney Trains has bought renewed focus to the painting of historic buildings across the network through a detailed review of painting practices. The outcomes of this review include reporting on the painting of historic railway buildings, a suite of updated guidelines, and a state-agency master class on heritage painting practices.


Category: Heritage Publications

Publications, books, websites and videos that promote the conservation of, or tell the story of our heritage. 

Joint Winners: MidCoast Stories

MidCoast Stories’ is an online collection of stories and local resources that preserve and promote the MidCoast’s unique history. While the stories are central to the project, other resources include transcribed historic rate books, local photographs and educational materials. The project encourages active participation connecting community to their local heritage.

Joint Winners: Paddington: A history

This first major history of Paddington in 40 years provides a fresh perspective on this celebrated heritage suburb. Leading historians and specialists explore the makeup of Paddington’s diverse community – including Indigenous, colonial, post-war migrant, bohemian and LGBTQ residents, and gentrifiers – and discuss the evolution of architecture and landscape.

Highly Commended: The Anzac Memorial Publication
Published for the October 2018 opening of the Anzac Memorial Centenary Extension, The Anzac Memorial details the development of this significant civic project. The publication explains the historic context and enduring significance of the original Anzac Memorial building while creating an official record of the newly created extension.

Highly Commended: Promised Brides:
This publication examines the phenomenon of ‘promised brides’ who arrived in Australia from Greece, from 1950-1975, to marry someone they had never met before. It presents the stories of 21 women, who courageously agreed to participate in the study and retrospectively share their experience with us and evaluate this phenomenon.


We have a limited number of copies of these publications available online from the National Trust shop here.


Category: Heritage Events, Exhibitions & Tours

Events, exhibitions and tours that emphasise and promote education, interpretation and community engagement in heritage.

Joint Winners: Cartographica – Sydney on the Map

Customs House, Sydney – March 27th 2019. Cartographica: Sydney on the Map exhibition on display at Customs House.

This exhibition brings together a series of maps of Sydney, captured through the cartographic traditions of mapmakers. It celebrates some intriguing interpretations of our city landscape; a place shaped by its ancient terrain and nurtured by the Aboriginal people who have had an unbroken connection with this place for millennia.

Joint Winners: Malachi Gilmore Hall

A weekend of six historically informed events that captured the halcyon days of the Malachi Gilmore Hall, Oberon. The project’s objectives were to reactivate a beloved community building, to blow the dust of 40 years from this Art Deco jewel, and set its course for the next 80 years.

Highly Commended: Inner West Built Environment Awards

The Inner West Built Environment Awards are an annual community event celebrating built works that contribute to understanding and preservation of the area’s rich cultural and architectural heritage. The Built Environment Awards now include three components: the Marrickville Medal for Conservation; the Sustainable Design Awards; and the Urban Photography Competition.

Highly Commended: Tales from the East, India and NSW

The exhibition used the tangible world of Macquarie’s Parramatta house to conjure up his earlier life in India, to explore colonial associations between Australia and India and to show how present-day Australians of Indian heritage are enriching the culture of Western Sydney.


Category: Continuing Tradition

Projects that continue tradition through new design, construction and development.

Winner: Anzac Memorial Centenary Project

The Centenary Project continues the spatial and emotional qualities of the Anzac Memorial in Sydney’s Hyde Park through new underground facilities. The project completes Bruce Dellit’s vision with a cascade south of the Memorial but also contributes to the contemporary relevance of the Memorial by engaging visitors deeply through the experience of architecture and art.

Highly Commended: Maitland Riverlink
Maitland Riverlink is a public project that will crystallise new value for the regional centre Maitland, both in terms of its identity and its assets. The project will support a revitalisation of the central business precinct, extending it beyond the main street to the river.


Category: Advocacy

Recognising the extraordinary commitment of a community group and/or individual who have pursued the protection and conservation of key heritage places, items or objects.

Winner: Revive The Regent

An initiative advocating the protection and revival on Mudgee’s Regent theatre, one of Australia’s finest examples of an intact Art Deco Theatre, which is at risk of demolition with a proposed application (DA) to construct a five-storey hotel. RTR has established a range of platforms to connect people and share information regarding the (at risk) theatre located in the heritage precinct of Mudgee, NSW. 

Highly Commended: Friends of Callan Park

A community group formed in 1998 to safeguard public land from sale at Callan Park and Broughton Hall and to advocate for their preservation. With constant vigilance for two decades, Friends of Callan Park have preserved the site.

Highly Commended: Save our Sirius
Save our Sirius began in 2014 in response to eviction of public housing tenants from the Sirius building ahead of its sale.  Save Our Sirius aims to influence decision makers to save the building and its social housing function, and to raise awareness of the significance of the place.


Celebrating 25 Years of the National Trust Heritage Awards

The National Trust is Australia’s oldest and largest independent conservation organisation founded in 1945 in New South Wales by Annie Forsyth Wyatt. Collectively the National Trust in Australia owns or manages over 300 built and natural heritage places (the majority held in perpetuity), is supported by 7,000 volunteers and employs more than 300 people nationwide.

The National Trust (NSW) is committed to engaging the community to celebrate and conserve heritage places and collections through events and education. With the support of our members, volunteers and dedicated staff and partners, we advocate on the protection of historical and naturally significant places and collections to ensure their preservation for future generations.

The National Trust Heritage Awards is one of the signature events of the Australian Heritage Festival in New South Wales. Announced on 10 May, the National Trust Heritage Awards has been running for 25 years in 2019 and is proudly supported by the NSW Government.


Read the commemorative publication:

Read the 2019 National Trust Heritage Awards keynote speech by Councillor Philip Thalis.



The National Trust (NSW) will announce the deadline to submit for the next National Trust Heritage Awards later this year and look forward to announcing the winners in May 2020. Subscribe to our eNews to receive our latest updates or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.