Timeline for Heritage status

LEP – Local Environment Plan. This document includes listing of heritage places.
DA = Development Application. A DA is required for all development work on the site.

1998:    

Shoalhaven Heritage Study, prepared by Peter Freeman Pty Ltd for Shoalhaven City Council, included ‘Holy Trinity Anglican Church Group’.

1999:    

‘Holy Trinity Heritage Group’, recorded in State Heritage Register, SHI Number 239389. This is not a formal listing, but an indication of early interest in the heritage of the site.

2001:  

Anglican church contacts Shoalhaven City Council urging it not to list the property.

2005:    

Draft LEP lodged with Dept of Planning included ‘Holy Trinity Anglican Church Group.’

Following representations from the Anglican Church, Shoalhaven City Council commenced steps to have it removed from the Draft LEP.[1]

February 16: Extraordinary Meeting of Shoalhaven City Council resolved to seek return of Draft LEP Plan 1985, from the NSW Minister to enable Council to review it.



June 7: Greg Watson, Mayor, to GRS Kyngdon, assistant to the Bishop of Wollongong: ‘I have taken steps to have this building removed from the Draft LEP and I would strongly suggest that you make representations to the Minister…as she has the Heritage LEP on her desk.’ (The Minister was Diane Beamer).

August 23: Shoalhaven City Council voted to remove many proposed items from the draft LEP, including ‘Holy Trinity Anglican Church Group.’ Over half the number of items for removal were in Huskisson.

2006:    

May: Dept of Planning wrote to Shoalhaven City Council advising that NSW Heritage Council ‘strongly objected’ to removal of items, including the church site.

 August: Shoalhaven City Council justified its decision on two grounds: a. ‘sufficient similar items’ (Victoria Gothic Carpenter Style, Sussex Inlet and Victorian Gothic Revival Style church, Milton); b. listing may inhibit plans for Huskisson as a tourist gateway…;

2007:    

February. Anglican Church informed Shoalhaven City Council it didn’t want the listing.

LEP gazetted, without the church group. Numerous Huskisson items recommended by staff were deleted by the elected Council.

A heated debate in Council. Concern that so many items deleted were in Huskisson. Watson said that unless items were ‘extremely significant’ the wishes of the owner should be given precedence.[2]

   July:

Community enquiries made to NSW Heritage Branch. Informal advice given that community could apply for an IHO as the Blacket church may be of State significance.[3]  Community members decide not to pursue this after the local church wardens write to allay public concerns that it would sell the property, claiming ‘wardens have always recognized that there is significant cultural heritage in the main Huskisson Church building and that this is an important factor for many members of our congregations and the local community.’

2012: 

Special Development Meeting of Shoalhaven City Council. Once more staff recommend heritage listing of the church site. [4]

2014: 

Updated LEP gazetted, without the church. Listings for Huskisson confined to the Huskisson Hotel, the Literary Institute (now picture theatre) The Lady Denman ferry and several private cottages.

2018:    

August 23: SCC Strategic planner, Gordon Clark, to Cr Levett:  ‘because it is not listed does not mean that the heritage significance of the Church group will not require closer consideration or raise issues/concerns as part of any future rezoning or DA…Graves on site may be ‘relics’ under the NSW Heritage Act.’             

September 12: Maureen Webb made a submission to the NSW Heritage Council requesting an Interim Heritage Order over the site.

September 13: Community petition commenced calling on the Shoalhaven City Council to do everything in its power to preserve the (former) Holy Trinity Church Group.

September 27: DA18/2102 submitted to Shoalhaven City Council – The developer Stephen Bartlett, acting for the Anglican Church proposes DEMOLITION of the church and other buildings on the site. Attachments to this DA include a document Heritage Management Strategy – commissioned from GB Heritage. This developer funded report argues the church can be demolished.

October 8:  Local CCB (Community Consultative Body) ‘Huskisson -Woollamia Community Voice’ voted 21 – 6 endorsing ‘the community petition (See wording above)

October 16: Extraordinary Meeting of Shoalhaven City Council reaffirms its ‘strong opposition’ to listing of the Anglican Church and Council votes to resend a 2006 letter to NSW Heritage Office, to inform NSW Heritage Council of its continuing opposition to listing of the site. (Motion moved by Cl. Watson.)

October 18: Developer Stephen Bartlett amends DA to demolish, to now propose ‘temporary’ movement of the Blacket Church to a new location on the site.  

October 21: Save Husky Church campaign sends information to NSW Heritage Office of burial on the site of James Golding, King Budd Billy II, King of Jervis Bay.  

November 7: NSW Heritage Council recommends that the Minister place an Interim Heritage Order (IHO) over the property for 12 months to give all parties time to establish the facts.

November 22: National Trust NSW informs Shoalhaven City Council it intends to list the property on its Register.

December: GB Heritage submits a second study, ‘Heritage Assessment’, that alters the storyline. This new study appears to favour the changing needs of the developer and use the new knowledge established by the Save Husky Church group.
NSW Heritage Minister Gabriel Upton requests the NSW Heritage Council to ‘reconsider’ its recommendation to place an IHO over the site.

2019:    

February 5: The NSW Heritage Branch informs the Shoalhaven City Council of the Minister’s opposition to the IHO. It also suggests that Council reconsider its opposition to listing on the LEP and urges it to consult with its community, including its Indigenous community. 

February 6: NSW Heritage Council withdraws recommendation for an IHO.

April 2: Shoalhaven City Council – letter tabled from Frank Howarth, Chair of NSW Heritage Council, urging consideration of listing on LEP, and of consulting with community, including Indigenous community. This is similar to the earlier letter (5 Feb.), but stronger. Shoalhaven City Council, with several Councillors absent, votes to begin process to heritage list property on LEP (This decision rescinded at the April 30th Council meeting)

April 30: Community petition signed by 2851 people in favour of a heritage listing over the site tabled at Shoalhaven City Council. Council ignores this and votes to rescind 2nd April motion. Motions passed stating that there be no heritage listing of this site at either state or local level.

May 13:  Jerrinja Local Aboriginal Council put in a submission to DA 18/2102 asking for 6 months to establish what graves are where and to do family oral investigation. This is ignored by Shoalhaven City Council.

June 4: Shoalhaven City Council approves DA 18/2102 to move the 1931 Blacket church onsite and demolish the Church Hall (which incorporates the original Union Church). Documentation attached to the DA includes information relevant to the intended final development of the site – 4 storey buildings, conference centre, commercial space. The community believes this development could not occur without substantial demolitions, removal of vegetation, ground disturbance, desecration of graves and overall destruction of the heritage of the site.

This DA specifically stated that no vegetation would be destroyed, and no ground disturbance made in areas where ground penetrating radar had not been undertaken.

Any movements could interfere with graves because despite his claims the developer does not yet know where all the graves are, and ground penetration radar surveys have been partial. The hall is probably the oldest building in Huskisson, and its specific heritage values had yet to be determined.

Subsequent actions on the block included felling of trees using the 45-degree rule and soil disturbance. The apparent protections in the Consent were meaningless.


July 22: Huskisson Heritage Association again requests NSW Heritage Council and/or Minister for Aboriginal Affairs to list the property and place a stop work order over the property as demolition of the church hall is imminent. Refused.

October 9: Owners initiate Planning Proposal (PP) application to rezone the site for development of 4/5 storey Hotel etc. This would have destroyed all Heritage Significance.

November 27: HHA makes a formal deputation to Planning NSW with concerns about the PP.

2020:    

January 20:  Shoalhaven City Council votes to progress Planning Proposal (PP050) to Gateway stage. This proposes heights up to 16 metres. Council ignores advice of its planning staff to undertake consultation, get independent reports etc. before progressing.

April 30: State Planning asks for new studies and surveys, including a full ground penetrating radar survey of the site.

c.June: Jerrinja Local Aboriginal Land Council made application to the Commonwealth government under the ‘Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act’ ‘seeking long term preservation & protection of the whole block as a significant Aboriginal area…under threat of injury or desecration.’ Minister Sussan Ley did not respond to the application or to the extensive formal public consultation.

2021:

June 26: HHA reapplied to the NSW Heritage Council to list the property on the State Heritage Register or to recommend local listing. This re-application followed receipt by the Shoalhaven City Council of a Ground Penetration Radar survey (Hunter Geophysics, March 2021) that found ‘a total of fifty-eight areas have been identified that are likely to be unmarked graves, along with an additional fifteen areas that may also be unmarked graves.’ [p.22]

June 30: HHA applied to NSW Heritage Council not to grant Shoalhaven City Council an excavation permit under the NSW Heritage Act. This will permit machinery onto the land to excavate (‘scrape’ to a depth of 300mm) where graves have been indicated, in order to ‘prove’ their presence.

August 21: National Trust (NSW) lists the Huskisson Anglican Church and Cemetery

2022:

March 14: NSW Heritage Council grants Shoalhaven City Council permission to scrape.

April 11: Shoalhaven City Council resolves to investigate heritage listing the site not to permit excavation.


July 11: The PP is withdrawn by the owner.

August 31: The private developers go over the head of the Shoalhaven City Council and NSW Heritage Council issues them with their own Excavation Permit to ‘scrape’, but only after consultation with the local Indigenous community.

September 20: SCC votes to immediately commence the process of Heritage Listing the site. Extent Heritage was then commissioned to prepare a Statement of Heritage Significance.

November 11: Survey pegs were observed to be in place and the developer’s archaeologist had been observed at the site making final preparations to use the permit.


November 15: Federal government places a temporary (30 Day) protection order over the site.

2023:

January: Owners give back the Excavation Permit to the State Government, and surrenders back to Shoalhaven Council the DA to move the Church within the site. This meant that the Federal Government no longer had cause to protect the site and the owners have no permissions to do anything on the site.

May: Extent Heritage Statement of Heritage Significance completed. This report recommended heritage listing not only the former Anglican land but also the adjoining land owned by the Jerrinja Local Aboriginal Land Council.

May 12: SCC submits PP068 Heritage Listing: Former Anglican Church and Site to State Government.

June 3: State Government determines the Council should proceed to list the site on the LEP.

July-August: PP068 to heritage list the site goes on public exhibition.

2024:

March 11: Council votes to Heritage List the site.



[1] GRS Kyngdon to Mayor Watson, 2nd June 2005, Shoalhaven City Council1106-05

[2] Alex Arnold, South Coast Register, 11th July 2007

[3] Phone advice from Bronwyn Hanna, NSW Heritage Office, info contained in e-mail, Bronwyn Oliver to Maureen Webb, 16 July 2007.

[4] Shoalhaven City Council, Special Development Meeting, 21st May 2012, to consider Draft SLEP 2009- 21, Issue 4 Huskisson Church. Proposed zoning SP2 -place of worship. (Current documentation, July 2019 lists SP2 as ‘infrastructure’ and Current DCP allows development on the site of similar density to main street.