City of Rockingham

Acknowledgement to Country

The City of Rockingham respectfully acknowledges the traditional owners and custodians of the land on which Rockingham stands today, the Nyoongar people. The City pays its respects to their elders both past and present.

Nyoongar people successfully managed and nurtured the land and water for thousands of generations and an enduring spiritual and physical connection remains today. By showing respect for the land and water in the same way, the City can continue to work towards the sustainability of the environment for future generations.


The City of Rockingham has a proud history. The area now known as the City of Rockingham was originally inhabited in part by the Nyoongar Aboriginal people. The City sits on the boundary of the Whadjuk region and Binjareb - Gnaala Karla Booja region.

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.

We use three devices to record and maintain places having local cultural heritage significance: its Municipal Heritage Inventory, Heritage List, and Heritage Conservation and Development Policy.

Draft Heritage Strategy

The draft Heritage Strategy is a new item that aligns with the City's Strategic Community Plan 2019-2029. Council granted approval at its February 2020 meeting for the City to seek public comment on the draft Heritage Strategy. The strategy is now out for public comment until 17 April 2020.

Heritage strategies are an important tool that help to identify items of significant heritage value in the community.

The draft Heritage Strategy will help shape our approach to the conservation, management and promotion of heritage within the City. It will also play a role in improving the public's understanding of local heritage and will encourage the protection of vital heritage assets.

Importantly, the strategy will guide the City in how we prioritise our heritage projects according to a five-year plan. The community's value on heritage will be central to this, and will dictate the areas that require the greatest action urgently.

In creating the draft Heritage Strategy, we have focused on the connected nature of both Aboriginal and European heritage, as well as the stunning natural landscape that is on display throughout the community.

The draft strategy includes references to natural, maritime, Aboriginal and European heritage, and it's intended that all of these elements are celebrated and recognised equally as a "shared heritage".

Local Heritage Survey

A Local Heritage Survey (previously known as a "Municipal Heritage Inventory") is a list of places and structures which, in the opinion of the City, are, or may become, of cultural heritage significance.

​Local governments were required under section 45 of the original Heritage of Western Australia Act 1990 to prepare a Municipal Heritage Inventory (MHI) to recognise the heritage importance of places to the local community. The City's MHI was first adopted in 1995 and updated in 2012. The MHI was reviewed in 2012 and Council adopted the latest version of the MHI at its meeting held on the 24 April 2018.

'​Cultural heritage significance'​ is the aesthetic, historic, scientific or social significance of a play 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.

The Heritage Act of Western Australia 2018 was passed by Parliament on 12 September 2018 and came into effect with Heritage Regulations 2019 on 1 July 2019.

The key changes in the new Heritage Act of Western Australia include:

  • streamlined process for entering a place in the State Register
  • more certainty for owners wishing to develop their heritage places
  • better protections for important heritage places (including addressing demolition by neglect)
  • increased transparency by publishing the Heritage Council's advice to the Minister for Heritage on the inclusion of a place in the State Register.

Our Municipal Heritage Inventory has become a "Local Heritage Survey" under the 2018 Act. One of the major changes to the Local Heritage Survey is that it can provide more flexibility to governments to include "places" of cultural significance, as opposed to "buildings" (as stated under the previous 1990 Act). Within Part 7 of the 2019 Act, the definition of "place" can refer to things that are in, on or over land, including for instance, a tree or group of trees or land under water.

Heritage List

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. We include 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).

Heritage Conservation and Development Policy

The Heritage Conservation and Development Policy provides guidance on how we deal with proposals to extend, alter, redevelop or demolish places on the Heritage List.

The policy:

  • applies the development control principles contained in the State Planning Policy 3.5 Historic Heritage Conservation
  • provides development and design guidance for development 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 Development 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?

When we use the word "heritage", we are talking about natural heritage, Aboriginal heritage, European heritage; and tangible (i.e. an old map) and intangible heritage (i.e. traditional custodians of Lake Richmond).

We define Aboriginal heritage as Aboriginal sites of immense cultural, scientific, educational and historic interest and provide Aboriginal people with an important link to their present and past culture.

We define historic sites 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. We wish 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.

How is a place identified as an Aboriginal site or an historic site?

An Aboriginal site can be an object associated with the traditional cultural life of the Aboriginal people, past or present, any sacred, ritual or ceremonial site, or any place which is of historical, anthropological, archaeological or ethnographical interest of importance and significance to the cultural heritage of the State. We have a variety of Aboriginal sites in Rockingham such as Lake Richmond and scar trees in reserves.

An historic site can be a place of "cultural heritage significance" which has aesthetic, historic, scientific or social significance as a place for present and future generations. These are derived from the Burra Charter adopted by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) as a way of developing an understanding of the theory and practice of cultural heritage management.

These values have been applied in the preparation of the City's Local Heritage Survey, an assessment criteria to evaluate the importance of a place for the local government area.

What other types of heritage lists are there?

Heritage lists occur on a world, national and state level. The Federal 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.

The Australian Government Heritage website includes the following lists:

  • World Heritage List
  • National Heritage List
  • Commonwealth Heritage List
  • Australasian Underwater Cultural Heritage Database
  • List of Overseas Places of Historic Significance to Australia
  • Register of the National Estate

The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage website includes details on Aboriginal heritage.

What Aboriginal heritage and State-registered places are there in the City?

There are 10 registered Aboriginal sites in the City of Rockingham, all of which are included on the City's Heritage Survey 2018, as follows:

Place No.NameType
3471Rotary Park, RockinghamMythological
3519Golden Bay Camp 1Camp, Water Source
3568Wally's CampCamp
3582Serpentine RiverCeremonial, Mythological
7323Gas Pipeline 82Artefacts/Scatter
352Lake Richmond, Rockingham (also State heritage listed)Ceremonial, Camp, Other: Spiritual significance
22888Mooribirdup Ceremonial Grounds (Cape Peron)Ceremonial, Camp, Named Place, Plant Resource
31265Sister Kate's Children's Home Summer CampHistorical, Camp, Mission, Water Source
31742RIZ 12-01 (via Chesterfield Road)Artefacts/Scatter
17307Paganoni Swamp (Berong)Mythological, Camp, Hunting Place, Water Source

There are also other lodged but not assessed places which also have the same protection under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972.

The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage website includes details on the State Register of Heritage Places and other types of heritage listings used in WA.

Of the 2,366 State-registered places in Western Australia, seven of these are within the City of Rockingham:

Place No. NameAddressRegistered
2329Bells Cottage (ruin)371 Mandurah Road, Rockingham2002
2325Chesterfield InnChesterfield Road, Rockingham2003
2320Hymus House and outbuildings303 Mandurah Road, Rockingham2006
18483Lake RichmondRichmond Avenue, Rockingham2017
4015Day CottageDay Road, Rockingham2001
3365Cape Peron K Battery ComplexPoint Peron Road, Cape Peron2019
2326Chesterfield Inn StablesChesterfield Road, Rockingham2003

(source: Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage, December 2019)

The Western Australian Museum includes maritime archaeology.

Why do we have a Local Heritage Survey?

The Heritage Act 2018 requires all local government authorities in Western Australia to prepare a survey of places in its district which in its opinion are of cultural heritage significance. The former Heritage Act 1990 used the term "Municipal Heritage Inventory". In 1995, the City's Municipal Heritage Inventory was adopted. The inventory was prepared by a qualified Heritage Advisor in consultation with the City’s Heritage Advisory Committee and was reviewed in 1998, 2008, 2012 and reviewed in 2018.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the Act, the City's Local Heritage Survey assists us to:

  • provide a cultural and historic record of the local district
  • determine our heritage conservation policies
  • provide information about local heritage that may be required under our Town Planning Scheme No.2
  • achieve the heritage conservation objectives of town planning in the City.
Does entry in the City's Local Heritage Survey offer legal protection?

The City of Rockingham Local Heritage Survey simply provides recognition of a place's importance to the local community. Places entered in the Local Heritage Survey do not have legal protection, unless they are listed in the City’s Heritage List under Town Planning Scheme No.2, or have been entered in the State Register of Heritage Places, or are protected under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972, whether registered, lodged but not assessed, or not yet identified.

What are Local Heritage Survey Management Categories?

All places identified on the City's Local Heritage Survey and Heritage List are of cultural heritage significance. Some places may be more important to the community than others and some places 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 us as to the kind of care that should be taken for each place.

Each place entered into the Local Heritage Survey is afforded a Management Category between A and E, with A being the most significant, D being the least significant, and E being an historic site only (i.e. with no remaining structures).

Management CategoryLevel of SignificanceDescriptionDesired Outcome
AExceptional SignificanceEssential to the heritage of the locality. Rare or outstanding example. Recommended for inclusion on the State Register of Heritage Places.

The place should be retained and conserved.

Any alterations or extensions should reinforce the significance of the place, and be in accordance with a Conservation Plan (if one exists for the place).

BConsiderable Significance

Very important to the heritage of the locality.

High degree of integrity/authenticity.

Conservation of the place is highly desirable. Any alterations or extensions should reinforce the significance of the place.
CSome/Moderate SignificanceContributes to the heritage of the locality. Has some altered or modified elements, not necessarily detracting from the overall significance of the item.Conservation of the place is desirable. Any alterations or extensions should reinforce the significance of the place, and original fabric should be retained wherever feasible.
DLittle SignificanceSignificant but not essential to the understanding of the district.

Photographically recorded prior to major development or demolition.

Recognise and interpret the site if possible.

EHistoric Site

Historic site.

Recognise - for example, with a plaque, place name, or acknowledge in new urban or architectural design.

Recognise and interpret the site if possible.


How do I know if my property is listed on the City's Local Heritage Survey or on other lists?

The City's Local Heritage Survey link is above or you can access it at any City library or at the City's Administration Offices. 

You can also search the State Heritage Office's Places database available on its website, which provides information on places entered on the State Register of Heritage Places, Local Heritage Survey, National Trust List of Classified Places and other heritage lists.

How can I nominate a place on the City's Local Heritage Survey?

Anyone can nominate a place onto the City's Local Heritage Survey at any time. However, the City will usually advertise in the local newspapers calling for nominations from the public for entry onto the City's Local Heritage Survey as this is more coordinated and cost effective to assess nominations at the same time. If you are nominating a place, please make sure you put your nomination in writing to the City and include as much information as possible, including information sources, photographs with dates and anything you think might be relevant. To assess nominations, the City engages a qualified Heritage Consultant to inspect, assess, and research the place to then make recommendations to the City on whether a place is of cultural heritage significance.

During a Local Heritage Survey and Heritage List review, the City follows a process of consultation with owners of nominated places and invites public submissions and also considers advice from its Heritage Reference Group. The Council will then consider any public submissions received and make a decision on whether to include a place on the Local Heritage Survey. If an owner objects to a heritage listing it does not guarantee that a place won't be heritage listed. Heritage listing will be determined by Council based on whether a place has cultural heritage significance.

Does inclusion on the City's Local Heritage Survey 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, external painting (if different colour), or demolition where the building is entered on the Heritage List under the City’s Town Planning Scheme No.2.  Our 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 No.2, development approval is required for demolition of a building. Our Heritage Conservation and Development Policy provides further information and guidance on the demolition of a heritage-listed place.

General maintenance and minor works

You can carry out maintenance work that does not involve removing or altering significant elements on your property or if you are simply replacing like-for-like materials.

General maintenance includes:

  • cleaning gutters and downpipes
  • repainting using the same colour scheme in accordance with the Heritage Council Policy and Practice Note for Painting Heritage Places as attached.
  • cleaning that is low pressure, non-abrasive and non-chemical
  • replacing missing or deteriorated fittings or building materials, such as loose roof sheeting, with like-for-like materials.

Maintenance can also involve replacing electrical wiring or other utility services.

Similarly, gardening or landscape maintenance does not need to be referred unless there is a danger of disturbing archeological sites.

Other minor works include installing electronic security systems as long as the works do not damage the building or place.

If you are unsure whether the work you propose to carry out needs to be referred, please contact the City's Planning Team for advice on 9528 0333.

Is financial assistance available?

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 our Community Grants Program. Information about the incentive programs is available from the following websites:

Does a heritage listing affect property values?

The impact of a heritage listing on resale value is a common concern for owners and buyers of a heritage listed residential property.

Various studies have shown that heritage listing has no effect on property values in most cases and sometimes improve resale values, which rebuts the common perception. Heritage listed residences with well-maintained heritage features have at times been found to attract a premium price compared to equivalent non-listed places in independent studies. Property value could, however, be affected for a heritage listed building that is being used for a purpose well below the most commercially valuable use permitted by the zoning.

Property values generally for both heritage and non-heritage buildings are determined by many factors including:

  • location and condition of property
  • its unique features
  • prevailing trends in the 'market cycle'
  • its zoning and other planning requirements
  • lot size
  • types of surrounding properties
  • level of amenities and services in the surrounding area
  • tenancy opportunities
  • social profile of the area and
  • quality and maintenance of individual buildings.

No one factor determines property value either positively or negatively.

There is also an aspect of rarity and authenticity in heritage places that can't be recreated. Heritage listed buildings are often quality buildings with a special appeal.

Some links to Australian studies, study evaluations and case law has concluded listing has a positive or no effect on property values and economic viability.


What advice or assistance is available?

Our Planning Services team can answer any queries relating to the Municipal Heritage Inventory or Heritage List.

Publications from the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage 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.

Historical maps

The State Records Office links below show some fascinating early survey maps from Thomas Peel in 1841 through to the earyl establishment of the Rockingham Town.

For people who love viewing old maps, which are generally in date order.

Past memories

The City has collected a series of photographs which show the historical development of the City through the decades.

Go to Top of the page