Willoughby Incinerator

Conservation Management Plan
Interpretation Plan
Feasibility Study
Heritage Asset
Management Strategy
Adaptive Re-use

Willoughby City Council

Willoughby, NSW
Cammeraygal Country

The Willoughby Incinerator is a rare example of early Australian Industrial heritage and a local landmark of state heritage significance.

Completed in 1934, the Willoughby Incinerator is one of two remaining municipal buildings in New South Wales designed by the internationally renowned architect Walter Burley Griffin and his partner Eric Nicholls.

It was used as an incinerator for over 40 years, but by 2005 the building had fallen into a state of disrepair and required urgent conservation works. To secure its future, finding a viable new use for the building and stabilising its heritage fabric were paramount.

Willoughby City Council engaged GML to prepare a feasibility analysis, informed by a conservation management plan, to help analyse future options for the building. After in-depth community consultation, these options were tested and council resolved to adapt the incinerator as a community arts centre and cafe.

GML guided the building’s conservation, interpretation, and adaptive re-use. Working with architects SJB, engineers Hughes Trueman and other specialists, GML helped guide the stabilisation of the incinerator’s concrete structure and the removal of intrusive additions. The chimney was restored to its full height and architectural detail.

The adaptive re-use of the incinerator as a community arts centre, gallery space and café has meant a new lease on life for Willoughby Incinerator.

GML continues to provide heritage advice for ongoing conversation and repair works for this important industrial site.


2011, National Trust (NSW) Heritage Awards, Highly Commended