Heritage home grants

Heritage home in Ku-ring-gai

Ku-ring-gai’s Heritage Home Grant program is an annual heritage incentive, which is open for applications between 1 April and 31 May each year.

The program assists and encourages owners to conserve their heritage place, primarily through repairs and restoration.

Who is eligible

Owners and recognised managers of listed heritage items or contributory properties within heritage conservation areas can apply for these grants, where they have not received Heritage Home Grant funding in the past 5 years.

What projects are funded

Grants are allocated for projects that will commence and be completed in the following financial year.

Funding is available for approved conservation works to original and significant fabric. This includes works to roofs, building structures, verandahs, windows, façade brickwork, fences or other significant features.

The priority is for works that protect or improve the heritage significance of listed buildings and public appreciation for their heritage value. It does not include routine maintenance, relocation, modern additions, monuments, purchases or flood-lighting. For painting, please provide your colour selection for approval as appropriate to the period of the building or restoring an original colour scheme.

Retrospective funding will not be granted for works already commenced or completed. 

What are conservation works?

Conservation works enhance the distinct and authentic qualities of old buildings that a new build cannot reproduce. Conservation works funded through these grants differ to ordinary property maintenance. The main difference is that conservation works seek to preserve the existing historic building materials (referred to as ‘fabric’) or to accurately restore lost original features. This is because the significance and history of an old building is embodied in its old fabric and features.

Old building materials and buildings of other architectural periods have different needs and considerations than newer materials and contemporary construction. The former Heritage Office, now known as Heritage NSW, has helpful publications on how to carry out works to heritage buildings and sites, and other information in the links below. Maintaining historic buildings in use, in good condition and functional is important. Some key priorities for conservation works to achieve this sympathetically include:

  1. Retain fabric: The first priority is to minimise loss or damage to historic building materials. This means completing essential ongoing maintenance such as repairing roof leaks and painting timberwork to prevent damage or deterioration. When undertaking repairs, this also means repairing and reusing as much of the original building materials as possible. Take extra care with planning these works according to the Heritage NSW guidelines to avoid unintended damage or issues, such as by exacerbating rising damp.
  2. Match the old: Where repair and retention of existing original fabric is not possible, match the original fabric and decorative elements as closely as possible with like-for-like materials, finishes, colours and details. Take care to retain and restore original decorative details. It is only for new additions that are not funded through heritage grants where it is best practice to differentiate new work from the old with different materials or details.
  3. Enhance historic appearance: After retention, the next priority is to maintain or enhance the original appearance of historic features. This can include repairing damaged or deteriorated building features. It can also include removing unsympathetic changes and reconstruction of lost original building details, such as restoration of a sympathetic fence. Painting already painted surfaces in colour schemes that are original or appropriate to the architectural style also achieve this goal.
  4. Research building and style: Before planning works, you may need to research or investigate the history of the property, such as searching for historic photographs or other early records, and closely inspect the building fabric. Both types of investigation are to determine what building features, materials and finishes are original or otherwise significant. For instance, paint scrapes may reveal the original colour scheme. If this does not help you determine the original details for your building, you can then research sympathetic details based on the building’s historic architectural style in available library references. A good starting guide for appropriate colour schemes for different styles is ‘Colour Schemes for Old Australian Houses’ and others by Ian Evans, Clive Lucas and Ian Stapleton. Another useful reference, Ian Stapleton’s ‘How to Restore the Old Aussie House’ details typical architectural details for Victorian and Federation styles.
  5. Guidance: Conservation works may need conservation guidance. Where not closely matching like-for-like original materials and finishes or for more complex projects, you may need to seek advice on works from a heritage architect or consultant to ensure these works are appropriate conservation, will not cause unintended damage or other issues, and to assist with any necessary development application process. The Heritage NSW consultants directory is below, noting that these are not government recommended or endorsed.
  6. Approval: Some conservation works need applications for Council’s development approval. This process is to ensure works have an acceptable impact on the heritage significance of the listed place. The application process is described at Development controls and approvals.

For more information and guidance see the Heritage NSW guidelines and directories:

How much is granted

Grants are allocated on a dollar for dollar basis for a minimum of $1,000 and a maximum of $5,000. This means that if the maximum funding is granted, Council contributes $5,000 and the applicant contributes at least $5,000.

How to apply 

The online application form is available during the application period.

To apply you will need to provide:

  • Completed application, submitted during the application period.
  • Quotations for the proposed work (two required).
  • Photographs of existing structures.
  • Samples of proposed colours and materials.
  • Plans/sketches of the proposed works (if required). 

or post to: Heritage Home Grants S11080, Ku-ring-gai Council Locked Bag 1006, Gordon NSW 2072.

Application assessment

All eligible applications are referred to the Ku-ring-gai Heritage Reference Committee for their advice before the beginning of each financial year.

The allocation of funding is generally considered by Council in July.

Applicants will be advised of the grant decision by 31 July for works to commence in that financial year.

Timeline for funded works

  • 1 April -31 May: Grant application submitted.
  • 31 July: Council’s funding offer, including conditions for timing and conservation, sent to successful applicants. Owners accept offered grant by returning signed funding agreement.
  • 1 August: Owners to seek development consent, where required, and commence works. Owners to notify Council on commencement; first owner update.
  • 1 December: Second owner update due to Council on progress of grant approved works.
  • 1 April (next year): Third owner update due to Council on progress of grant approved works.
  • 31 May (next year): Owner deadline to submit receipts for completed works to claim approved grants for current financial year.

Please contact Council’s Heritage Specialist Planner for further information on 9424 0000.