Sydney’s local pubs on the path to heritage protection
GML Heritage was thrilled to see Inner West Council vote to commence community engagement on the proposed heritage listing of some of Sydney’s much-loved local pubs.
The Inner West is the former working-class heartland of Sydney and is well known for its pubs, which enjoy widespread popularity for their historical charm and reputation. The pubs of the Inner West are prominent, well-loved and long-standing institutions with considerable value to the local community and beyond.
In 2018, Inner West Council initiated a ‘Pub Protection Program’ and resolved to review the area’s historical pubs to ensure that places of heritage significance were protected. This came after several iconic Inner West pubs were targeted for conversion into other business uses, including turning the historic Town Hall Hotel in Balmain into a gym and massage parlour. An internal review conducted by Council found that many of the 66 pubs in the Inner West had inadequate protection and were vulnerable to closure and change of use.
In 2021 GML was engaged by Council to undertake a heritage study of 29 historical pubs in the Inner West. The aim of the heritage study was to identify the pubs that have heritage value to the Inner West and make recommendations for their heritage listing.
GML consultants inspected the 29 historical pubs, viewing interiors where access was provided by pub owners and managers. A history of each pub was prepared, and preliminary recommendations reviewed by an internal panel of experts at GML. A thematic history of pubs in the Inner West was also prepared to provide background to the growth of pubs in the area and to assist with identifying their significant values. In total GML shortlisted 27 pubs based on our preliminary findings.
GML then undertook a detailed heritage assessment of the 27 shortlisted pubs against the NSW heritage significance assessment criteria. All 27 pubs were found to have heritage significance to the Inner West and were recommended for heritage listing.
GML also prepared individual heritage inventory sheets for each pub, and final recommendations for listing.