The City of Rockingham has a proud history. The area now known as the City of Rockingham was originally inhabited in part by the Nyungar Aboriginal people. The City was first settled by Europeans when Sulphur Town was established on Garden Island in 1829, with the East Rockingham area also containing a number of early pioneers. Rockingham Town developed as a timber port in the 1870s, however, when the viability of loading timber declined, Rockingham became known as a tourist destination for day-trippers from Perth. Rockingham began to grow steadily in the 1950s following the development of nearby Kwinana as a major industrial area.
The history of Rockingham is celebrated by the Rockingham District Historical Society which manages the Rockingham Museum.
A more detailed historical overview of Rockingham is contained within the Municipal Heritage Inventory.
The City uses three devices to record and maintain places having local cultural heritage significance: its Municipal Heritage Inventory, Heritage List, and Heritage Conservation and Development Policy.
Municipal Heritage Inventory
A Municipal Heritage Inventory is a list of places and structures which, in the opinion of the City of Rockingham, are, or may become, of cultural heritage significance.
Local governments are required under section 45 of the Heritage of Western Australia Act 1990 to prepare a Municipal Inventory to recognise the heritage importance of places to the local community.
'Cultural heritage significance' is the aesthetic, historic, scientific or social significance a place may have for present and future generations. This term has been defined by the Heritage Council of Western Australia and is used as assessment criteria in the preparation of a MHI to evaluate the importance of a place.
A Heritage List is a list of places compiled under the City's Town Planning Scheme No.2 for which Development Approval will be required for demolition, alterations or other development affecting the cultural heritage significance of the place.
Heritage Lists must be compiled with regard to the Municipal Heritage Inventory, but do not necessarily include all places in the Municipal Heritage Inventory. The City includes all places on the Municipal Heritage Inventory with a Management Category of "D" or higher on the list, but excludes historic sites (where the structure is gone) and places outside of the jurisdiction of the City's Town Planning Scheme (such as Garden Island and Penguin Island).
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Heritage Conservation and Development Policy
The Heritage Conservation and Development Policy provides guidance on how the City deals with proposals to extend, alter, redevelop or demolish places on the Heritage List.
- applies the development control principles contained in the State Planning Policy 3.5 Historic Heritage Conservation
- provides development and design guidance for development of places on the Heritage List
- details procedures for making application for approval of heritage-related development.
The objectives of the Heritage Conservation and Development Policy are:
- to conserve and protect places of cultural heritage significance within the City
- to ensure that development does not adversely affect the significance of heritage places
- to ensure that heritage significance is given due consideration in determining applications for planning approval
- to provide greater certainty to landowners and the community about the planning processes for heritage identification and protection in the City.
Conservation Management Plans
A Conservation Management Plan (CMP) is described by the State Heritage Office as a principle guiding document for the conservation and management of a heritage place. The main objective of the CMP is to ensure that decisions are made with regard to the cultural heritage significance of a heritage place. A CMP describes the heritage significance of the place and provides clear policies for the sustainable future of the place.
A CMP is a management tool and provides guidance for not only the maintenance of the place but also for changes proposed for the place. They are also a good social and historical record of the place before changes occur.
Frequently asked questions
What is heritage?
The nature of heritage often confuses people, as the word ‘heritage’ has a number of meanings. The City defines heritage as "Aspects of our past that we want to keep: a site which has played an important part in our history, a building which is special because of its architectural style or association with a person, or a natural feature such as a rock formation, fossil site or landscape - things which we would like future generations to enjoy."
Why is heritage important?
Heritage is important in understanding the story of both Western Australia and the local community - its history, identity and diversity. The City wishes to protect these places so that future generations will be able to enjoy a rich and diverse cultural environment and to understand what came before them.
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How is a place identified as having cultural heritage significance?
'Cultural heritage significance' is the aesthetic, historic, scientific or social significance a place may have for present and future generations. These values have been defined by the Heritage Council of Western Australia and, in the preparation of a Municipal Heritage Inventory, are used as assessment criteria to evaluate the importance of a place for the local government area.
Heritage identification also occurs at the national and state levels using similar criteria. The Commonwealth government lists places at the national level, and the State Government lists places at the state level. In Western Australia, state-significant places are entered onto the Heritage Council of Western Australia’s State Register of Heritage Places.
Why do we have a Municipal Heritage Inventory?
The Heritage of Western Australia Act 1990 requires all local government authorities in Western Australia to compile, and periodically update and review, a Municipal Heritage Inventory. The City responded positively to the Act, and by 1995 had compiled the City of Rockingham Municipal Heritage Inventory. The Inventory was prepared by a qualified Heritage Advisor in consultation with the City’s Heritage Advisory Committee and was reviewed in 1998. In 2008 the City updated its Inventory.
In addition to meeting the requirements of the Act, the Municipal Heritage Inventory can assist the City to:
- Provide a cultural and historic record of the local district
- Determine the City's heritage conservation policies
- Provide information about local heritage that may be required under the City’s Town Planning Scheme No.2
- Achieve the heritage conservation objectives of town planning in the City.
Does entry in the Municipal Heritage Inventory offer legal protection?
The City of Rockingham Municipal Heritage Inventory simply provides recognition of a place's importance to the local community. Places entered in the Inventory do not have legal protection, unless they are also listed in the City’s Heritage List under Town Planning Scheme No.2, or have been entered in the State Register of Heritage Places.
What are Management Categories?
Some places are more important to the community than others and some buildings have been lost over time, with only the site remaining. Management Categories recognise the levels of significance and intactness of heritage places and provide recommendations to the City as to the kind of care that should be taken for each place.
Each place entered onto the Municipal Heritage Inventory is afforded a Management Category between A and E, with A being the most significant, D being the least significant, and E being a historic site only (i.e. with no remaining structures).
How do I know if my property is listed in a Municipal Heritage Inventory or on other lists?
The City will keep a copy of the Municipal Heritage Inventory and Heritage List for public access. You can also search the State Heritage Office's Places Database available on its website, which provides information on places entered in the State Register of Heritage Places, Municipal Inventories, National Trust's List of Classified Places and other heritage lists.
Does inclusion on the Municipal Inventory or Heritage List affect ownership and/or permit public access?
No. The place remains the sole property of the owner. Normal access arrangements will remain in place; that is, any person accessing the property without the owner’s consent will be a trespasser.
Can I still make changes to my property?
Yes, but Development Approval is required for alterations, extensions, change of use or demolition where the building is entered on the Heritage List under the City’s Town Planning Scheme No.2. The City’s Heritage Conservation and Development Policy provides further information on making an application for works on a heritage-listed property along with the development incentives that may apply.
Is demolition prohibited?
Where a place is entered on the Heritage List under the City's Town Planning Scheme, Development Approval is required for demolition of a building. The City's Heritage Conservation and Development Policy provides further information and guidance on the demolition of heritage-listed places.
Is maintenance required?
There is no legal obligation to maintain a heritage listed property in any way other than under existing regulations.
Is financial assistance available?
Where an application for development has been submitted, the City will consider waiving the following application fees for conservation works:
- Planning Services fee for development proposals
- Building Permit fee.
Incentives provided by other organisations, such as grants and tax rebates, may apply for proposals to conserve heritage places. These are offered by the Heritage Council of Western Australia, the Federal Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Lotterywest and The National Trust of Australia (WA). Community groups may also be eligible for funding under the City's Community Grants Program. Information about the incentive programs is available from the following websites:
What advice or assistance is available?
The City's Planning Services can answer any queries relating to the Municipal Heritage Inventory or Heritage List.
Publications from the State Heritage Office's website have been used as the source for some of the above information. Additional details and other general and technical information can be downloaded from this site.