Revealed: winners of the 2023 National Trust Heritage Awards

The best and brightest in Australian heritage conservation have been celebrated today at this year’s National Trust Heritage Awards, held at Doltone House in Sydney.

A gleaming six-metre sculpture by Aboriginal artist Judy Watson and the restoration of Sydney’s iconic Bondi Pavilion were among the 17 winners recognised at this year’s National Trust Heritage Awards – an annual celebration of outstanding practice in the field of heritage over the past year.

The Awards are a highlight of the heritage industry’s calendar, and a signature event of the Australian Heritage Festival in New South Wales, co-ordinated by the National Trust and proudly supported by the NSW Government through Heritage NSW.

Highlights from the Awards

In a ceremony presented by Richard Morecroft, winners collected trophies for outstanding projects across multiple categories.

The highly sought after Judges’ Choice Award went to the stunning restoration of Bondi Pavilion by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects. Almost 100 years after it first opened, the Bondi Pavilion underwent a major makeover that transformed the heritage landmark from worn-down building to the cultural heart of Bondi. Judges said it was “an absolutely brilliant project for an Australian heritage landmark that will now continue to serve local residents and visitors in a sustained and multi-purposeful way.”

Also taking out top honour, the President’s Prize, was the restoration of Niagara Café in Gundagai, entered by Luke Walton and Kym Fraser. The project breathed new life into one of Australia’s longest-running Greek cafes, while staying true to its original 1938 Art Deco style.

Other major awards went to standout Indigenous and regional projects, including the  bara monument in the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney by Aboriginal artist Judy Watson, and an adaptation of a 1901 water tank into an immersive sound installation in Cobar NSW.

Stonemason Ken Ellis was also honoured with the Heritage Skills award, and heritage architect Ian Stapleton claimed the Lifetime Achievement award.

Bondi Pavilion
The restoration of Bondi Pavilion by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects received this year’s Judges’ Choice Award.

Celebrating heritage

Chief Executive Officer of the National Trust (NSW) Debbie Mills said: “Congratulations to this year’s 17 winners and thank you to all of those who entered the Awards. We saw a huge range of projects, and judges were truly impressed by the dedication and imagination that has gone into preserving special places for everyone.”

Penny Sharpe, Minister for Heritage, said the Awards shine a light on the diversity of heritage right across our state. “These winning projects are a reminder of the many ways we can interpret and protect our shared stories. From Sydney to Gundagai, these projects show that it is possible – and imperative – to bring heritage to life for the people of New South Wales to enjoy and explore.”

“So much skill and time goes into heritage conservation,” said Heritage NSW’s Executive Director, Sam Kidman. “These Awards offer due recognition to the architects, planners, designers, councils and curators, to name a few, who make this work possible. Congratulations to all the winners. These projects will be enjoyed by many communities across New South Wales.”

Matthew Devine presided as Chair of the jury for the National Trust Heritage Awards in 2023. Judges on the panel included: Barrina South, Caitlin Allen, Charles Pickett, David Burdon, Kathryn Pitkin AM and Lisa Harrold.

Left: The Tweed section of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail received the Conservation – Landscape award. Right: A disused water tank transformed into Cobar Sound Chapel took out the award for Adaptive Re-Use.

The 2023 winners are:

Aboriginal Heritage

  • bara Monument for the Eora – entered by Judy Watson, Hetti Perkins, City of Sydney, City Plan Heritage, UAP

Adaptive Re-Use

  • Cobar Sound Chapel – entered by Cobar Sound Chapel Ltd


  • Don’t Block the Rocks – entered by Millers Point Community Resident Action Group Inc. (MPCRAG)

Conservation – Built Heritage

  • ‘Ways Terrace’ 12-20 Point Street, Pyrmont: Conservation and Upgrade Project – entered by Land and Housing Corporation, Department of Planning and Environment
  • Millers Point Townhouse – entered by Design 5 – Architects

Conservation – Interiors and Objects

  • The Yellow Dress Project – entered by National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA)

Conservation – Landscape

  • Northern Rivers Rail Trail – Tweed section – entered by Tweed Shire Council

Education and Interpretation

  • Remembered and Revisited – Victoria Theatre Newcastle – entered by Out of the Square Media, Century Venues and Gavin Patton

Events, Exhibitions and Tours

  • Building Bridges Emu Projection – entered by Clarence Valley Council
  • Mulaa Giilang: Wiradjuri stories of the night sky – entered by Orange Regional Museum

Resources and Publications

  • Storyplace – entered by Museums & Galleries of NSW
  • Gunyah Goondie + Wurley – entered by Thames & Hudson Australia



Judges’ Choice

  • Bondi Pavilion Restoration and Conservation project – entered by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects

President’s Prize

  • Restoration of the Niagara Cafe, Gundagai – entered by Luke Walton and Kym Fraser

Lifetime Achievement

  • Ian Stapleton

Heritage Skills

  • Ken Ellis

Cathy Donnelly Memorial Award

  • Sharon Veale


Highly commended:

Aboriginal Heritage

  • Leaghur Homestead, Mungo National Park – Willandra Lakes Teaching and Learning Centre – entered by NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service
  • Transport Access Program – entered by Transport for NSW

Adaptive Re-Use

  • Former David Jones Building – entered by City Plan Heritage & IRIS Capital
  • 80 Albion – entered by Squillace Architects

Conservation – Built Heritage

  • Restoration of the Niagara Cafe, Gundagai – entered by Luke Walton and Kym Fraser
  • Bondi Pavilion Restoration and Conservation project – entered by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects
  • Hotel Australasia – entered by Core Asset Development (CAD)
  • Archibald Memorial Fountain – entered by City of Sydney

Conservation – Interiors and Objects

  • Central Tablelands Collections Facility – entered by Bathurst Regional Council
  • Stations of the Cross – entered by International Conservation Services (ICS) and St Peter and Paul’s Old Cathedral, Goulburn

Conservation – Landscape

  • Toorale Water Infrastructure Project – entered by Biosis Pty Ltd

Education and Interpretation

  • History Site Study – Marrickville Metro – entered by Inner West Council – Library
  • Macquarie Pier Revitalisation and Interpretation Project – entered by Port Authority of NSW

Events, Exhibitions and Tours

  • SHINE – Shining a Light on our Heritage and Museums – entered by Arts Mid North Coast Inc
  • Unrealised Sydney exhibition – entered by Museums of History NSW
  • CAPTIVATE – entered by National Art School

Resources and Publications

  • CAPTIVATE Stories from the National Art School and Darlinghurst Gaol – entered by National Art School
  • First Knowledges Series: Astronomy and Plants – entered by Thames & Hudson Australia, National Museum of Australia
Winner of the Aboriginal Heritage award: bara Monument for the Eora by artist Judy Watson.


Media contacts:

Susan Darwiche

Double Shot PR – Director

Phone: 0414 706 704



Leah Tasker

Director, Marketing and Communications

National Trust of Australia (NSW)
Phone: 0435 266 924