National Trust Heritage Awards Shortlist Announced for 2020

The National Trust (NSW) has today announced the shortlist for this year’s National Trust Heritage Awards. This annual awards program is proudly supported by the NSW Government through the Heritage Council of NSW to acknowledge and celebrate the sector-leading practice and outstanding projects in the field of heritage conservation, education, events and exhibitions, and advocacy in New South Wales.

The National Trust Heritage Awards is in its 26th year. The shortlist announcement is highly anticipated news for the heritage, arts and cultural sector – and this year’s announcement has been delayed from April to now on account of COVID-19 restrictions impacting plans for the award ceremony (an event that usually takes place in May).


The shortlist and winners for the National Trust Heritage Awards are assessed and decided by an independent panel of judges across 12 categories. New for this year was a category for Aboriginal heritage: for projects that seek to promote an understanding, appreciation, awareness or conserve and protect Aboriginal heritage. Award entries are received from the building design and architecture sector, the culture and arts sector including museums and libraries, community groups, leading researchers and authors, and many more.


Minister responsible for Heritage, Don Harwin, acknowledged the exceptional line up of shortlisted nominees saying New South Wales can be proud of the incredible talent working hard to celebrate and cherish our heritage. He said: “I congratulate the short-listed nominees who have all demonstrated such exceptional skills, dedication and commitment to their projects.”


Chair of the Heritage Council of NSW, Frank Howarth said: “I am excited to see a broad range of innovative projects shortlisted this year – from sectors across building design and architecture, to museums, libraries, community groups and more. I congratulate the short-listed nominees. It’s great to see such a wide variety of entries showcasing many facets of heritage.”


“The National Trust Heritage Awards is a great tradition and celebration of heritage that has a history of over a quarter of a century and we look forward to this event every year because it highlights the best of the best in conservation, interpretation, education and advocacy across all facets of heritage,” said Debbie Mills, Chief Executive Officer of the National Trust (NSW). “This year, more than ever, it is important to acknowledge the importance of significant places for the community because these are the places that connect us and provide a sense of belonging and we have missed being able to come together as a community due to COVID-19. It’s given us all newfound appreciation for the role heritage, culture and place has in our lives.


“The National Trust was thrilled to see that, in spite of the obstacles of COVID-19 and the disruption to organisations in every sector – and people’s work – we received a record number of entries for this year’s awards,” said David Burdon, Chair of the National Trust Heritage Awards Jury and the newly appointed Director, Conservation at the National Trust (NSW). “The shortlist is a very exciting one and we look forward to sharing the winners with the community very soon.”


The National Trust Heritage Awards luncheon ceremony was postponed from 8 May 2020 – which is when it is ordinarily a highlight event of the Australian Heritage Festival (the festival was cancelled this year due to COVID-19). The National Trust (NSW) will be announcing the winners via a virtual event to air on the National Trust’s YouTube channel on 12 November from noon.


“The National Trust is committed to ensuring we announce this year’s winners, but we must do so with the health and wellbeing of the community as our top priority,” said Debbie Mills, Chief Executive Officer of the National Trust (NSW). “We look forward to hopefully holding our traditional awards ceremony in 2021.


The National Trust Heritage Awards 2020 shortlist in each category is as follows with the shortlisted projects and initiatives featured here are in no indicative order:


Category: Aboriginal Heritage

Projects that seek to promote understanding, appreciation, conservation and/or awareness of Aboriginal heritage.


  • The Springs; an Aboriginal Journey
  • Yanama budyari gumada research collective
  • untitled (maraong manaouwi)
  • Virtual Warrane @ Wynyard
  • Niiarrnumber Burrai, Our Country Project


Category: Conservation Built Heritage

Projects that relate to 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.


  • ‘Lyndhurst – a conservation project and labour of love.
  • Moyne Farm Cemetery.
  • Old Dromana Grain Silo.
  • Hunter TAFE façade conservation.
  • Leichardt Town Hall.
  • Conservation of Pressure Tunnel shaft buildings number 14 and 17.
  • James St Bridge, Lithgow – Conservation.


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.


  • The Signal Box Pavilion.
  • Level 5 Ballarat House.
  • Installation of Passenger Lift – Hyde Park Barracks.
  • Chelmsford Hall, 6 Montague Street Balmain.
  • Marrickville Library and Community Hub.
  • Bathurst Railway Museum.
  • Bulli Railway Guesthouse Restoration.
  • NPWS Sydney Harbour Cottages Short Stay Accommodation.
  • Dickson Warehouse – 1 Lewis St Mudgee.
  • REVY C.
  • The Bushells Building, Havas Village.


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.


  • Tunks Park bushland rehabilitation and ecological recovery.
  • Mulloon Rehydration Initiative – Stage 1.


Category: Conservation Interiors & Objects

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


  • State theatre conservation of Butterfly Room.
  • Museum Station Conservation of historic signage.
  • Conservation of Vulliamy Clock – Hyde Park Barracks.
  • Conservation of Georgian stone Townhouse.
  • The forgotten works of Pixie O’Harris and Olaf Harris


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.


  • Sydney Trains HIA Masterclass.
  • Cowra Voices.
  • Hyde Park Barracks Renewal.
  • Devoted Service.
  • Museum Station Heritage Interpretation Panels.
  • Marrickville Library & Pavilion, Pateygarang Place.
  • Gosford CBD Interpretation Strategy.
  • Collaborative Students CMP’s.


Category: Heritage Resources & Publications

Resources and publications 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.


  • Redeveloping the NSW War Memorials Register.
  • Timber Truss Bridge Book.
  • Australian Art Deco Hotels.
  • St Clair Villa Publication.
  • Heritage of Hunters Hill.
  • Australia Modern: Architecture, Landscape & Design 1925 – 1975.


Category: Heritage Events, Exhibitions & Tours

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


  • Streets of our Town.
  • Glebe Society Community Celebrations.
  • The Queen’s Album exhibition.
  • The Stranger’s Guide.
  • History & Heritage Program 2019.
  • John Coburn Tapestries Exhibition.
  • Fort Street Tours app.
  • Virtual Tour of Parramatta Park.
  • SHINE – shining a light on the rich heritage and museums of the Mid North Coast.
  • We open the line in 1979 – The ESR Turns 40!


Category: Continuing Tradition

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


  • Marrickville Library.
  • The Yallamundi Rooms, Sydney Opera House.


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.


  • White Cliffs Solar Project.
  • Roxy Theatre Action Group.


Special categories

  • The Judges’ Choice, Lifetime Achievement and Heritage Skills winners will also be announced on 12 November 2020.