Project update

The Thematic History for the Northern Beaches is almost complete and is going through the final review by the consultants. We are hoping to get it endosed by Council by June 2021.


A Thematic History provides a broad overview of European settlement and development of an area, structured around 35 themes established by the Heritage Office of NSW. It determines which historical themes are relevant for an area and uses these themes to write a history for an area, detailing its physical development over time.

The project will identify all relevant historical themes associated with the development of the Northern Beaches to prepare a comprehensive, consolidated history of the area. Not only current and established themes will be identified, but also additional themes will be identified.

The Thematic History of the Northern Beaches will form a fundamental component of Council’s heritage planning program and will inform any future heritage management decisions. It will provide a framework for the identification and assessment of potential heritage places.

This project will begin by reviewing and summarising all existing thematic histories, followed by consultation with the Thematic History Community Advisory Group and broader community and key stakeholders. The work will draw on the wealth of heritage knowledge within our local community, including that within established historical societies, with local historians and within Council’s own Local Studies collections.

Consultants, GML Heritage have been engaged to prepare this Thematic History. GML Heritage are a large, specialised, consultancy who have in-house historians and a wide range of experience in preparing histories and all types of heritage documents.



Thank you for your stories.

An initial draft of the Thematic History has been completed by GML Heritage and Council staff have undertaken a comprehensive review of the document in conjunction with the Local Studies team.

GML are currently working on addressing the feedback provided by Council staff and we anticipate a revised draft to be submitted by November 2019.

We want to hear your stories about what life was like growing up on the Northern Beaches and to discover those less well known, hidden stories about the area.

  • What do you think is significant about the history of the Northern Beaches?
  • What people have played a role in this history?
  • What are the most important local places (natural, historical and architectural)?

Share your story here.

All information gathered will be provided to our consultants, GML Heritage, to assist them in the writing of the Northern Beaches Thematic History. The information will also be forwarded to our Local Studies Unit, to add to their valuable collection of resources on the history of the Northern Beaches.

Comments close Sunday 16 December 2018

Thank you for your interest in the Community Advisory Group for this project. Nominations have now closed.

The Community Advisory Group held its first meeting on 23 October 2018. The Group considered a number of questions on the history of the Northern Beaches.

View Community Advisory Group - Meeting #1 Discussion Notes

To assist the consultants, GML Heritage, with the collation and interpretation of the historical information, we are establishing a Community Advisory Group. The group will also contribute to the identification of local historical themes for the Northern Beaches.

If you have expertise or knowledge on the history of development of the Northern Beaches area, you are invited to nominate for a position on this Community Advisory Group.

The Advisory Group will meet four times over the course of the project with the initial meeting in the middle of October.

If interested, please read the Terms of Reference which contain detailed information about the membership, purpose and activities of the group, as well as the information you need to provide with your nomination.

After reading the Terms of Reference you can nominate either:

  • Online - closed
  • By email marked ‘Nomination - Thematic History Community Advisory Group’ or
  • In writing to the CEO, Northern Beaches Council, PO Box 82, Manly NSW 1655, marked ‘Nomination - Thematic History Community Advisory Group’

If you have any questions about this project, or how to apply, please contact Janine Formica, Heritage Planner, on 9942 2662.

Nominations close Monday 1 October 2018 at 5pm


  • Timeline item 1 - complete

    Stage 1 - Consultant Appointed

  • Timeline item 2 - complete

    Stage 2 - Establishment of Thematic History Community Advisory Group

  • Timeline item 3 - complete

    Stage 3 - Community Consultation

  • Timeline item 4 - active

    Stage 4 - Draft Report preparation

  • Timeline item 5 - incomplete

    Stage 5 - Draft Report to Council

Janine Formica

Heritage Planner

Northern Beaches Council

9942 2662 or email

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