The 20th Century Heritage Society of NSW was founded in 1995,
with the aim of protecting and promoting 20th Century architectural
and design heritage in the state. It has attracted an impressive
group of heritage practitioners, historians and specialists
- united in their commitment to the conservation of our state's
dwindling stock of heritage items.
The Society's President, Roy Lumby, is a respected authority
on the 1920s and 1930s who completed his Master of Architecture
degree by thesis entitled: An Architecture of Business: Sydney's
Office Buildings of the 1920s and 1930s.
Protecting and promoting architecture and design
Two key elements are fundamental to the Society:
A strong conservation policy, with an emphasis on architecture
- but also embracing sculpture, ceramics, furniture, cinema,
fashion, planes, trains, cars and ships; industrial, commercial
and interior design; the decorative arts and more.
An ongoing educational programme covering walks,
talks and social functions. You can view upcoming events on our Eventbrite page.
Strong international links
The Society is in regular contact with heritage groups both
interstate and overseas. It often calls on these groups for
letters of support in its lobbying for protection of NSW buildings
in danger of demolition or of unsympathetic renovation or
The Society reciprocates by lending its support to these
other groups in their efforts to conserve their own heritage
and built environment. Recently it has helped groups in Western
Australia, Victoria, the Phillipines, Canada, the USA, the
UK, and elswhere.
International Coalition of Art Deco Societies (ICADS)
The World Congress on Art Deco
One of the Society's important interactions is our regular
attendance at the World Congress on Art Deco (a concept
initiated by the late Barbara Baer Capitman - an internationally
respected expert on this important style).
The first such Congress was held in Miami in 1991. Its mission
was to provide a scholarly forum for the exchange and promotion
of ideas and information about Art Deco design.
Since then, venues for this major biennial event have included
Perth in Western Australia (1993), Brighton in England (1995),
and Los Angeles in the USA (1997) - when the Society's first
paper was given by Roy Lumby.
The 5th Congress was held in Napier, New Zealand, in 1999
- when Roy again represented the Society on the international
In 2001, it was held in Tulsa, Oklahoma; in 2003 in Cape
Town; and in 2005, in New York. For 2007 ICADS chose Melbourne,
our southern neighbour in the state of Victoria. In 2009
it was hosted by Montreal, Canada.
In 2011, the World Congress was held in Rio De
Janeiro, Brazil followed by Havana, Cuba in 2013. In 2015 it was held in Shanghai, China, and in Cleveland, Ohio, USA in 2017.
The Congress will be held in Argentina in 2019, followed by Singapore in 2021.
Raising public awareness
During such gatherings, the Art Deco style is promoted, analysed
and identified. Conservation issues are debated, public awareness
is raised and opportunities for cultural tourism are flagged.
Naturally, there is plenty of networking with the many Art
Deco and other heritage societies from around the world.
A voluntary and non-profit organisation
The Twentieth Century Heritage Society of NSW is a non-profit
organisation, run by a voluntary committee, generally meeting
every two months. It publishes a regular newsletter, The
News, with back issues being available for free
We have also started making our walk booklets available
as e-reader publications for iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle
and other devices. Find
out more >
Like what we're doing? Consider making a donation.
Annual membership costs very
little, but even if you don't decide to join, you can make
a donation to help us in our work. Any amount will help, it's
entirely up to you. Just click on the PayPal button to donate
using your VISA or MasterCard:
President: Roy Lumby
Hon. Secretary: Anne Higham
Hon. Treasurer/Public Officer: John
Individual membership is just $65 per year, even less for
Find out more>
Main picture: Willoughby
Incinerator, by Walter Burley Griffin and Eric Nicholls