Final Plan released

A new vision for the Tharwa Village

The Tharwa Village Plan aims to foster the preservation and enhancement of Tharwa's unique character and provide a framework to guide its social, environmental and economic sustainability into the future.

The village plan proposes a range of strategies and actions that aim to address the key challenges and opportunities that were identified for the village through earlier community engagement. These focus on the village core, Cuppacumbalong and the river corridor.

Tharwa is important to those who live, work and visit there and the development of this village plan is intended to maintain its village character and strengthen its culture and lifestyle.

Key principles that have been developed for the village include to:

  • Retain and enhance the existing rural village character and identity, by recommending the enhancement of existing village civic spaces and by establishing design guidelines to protect the historic nature of Tharwa Village. Included in the Village Plan, the design guidelines will provide guidance on the desired character for new and redeveloped buildings associated with the limited release of existing vacant residential blocks for development.
  • Provide locally-based economic, tourism and recreational opportunities for the benefit of the community, by recommending the support of existing businesses and entrepreneurial activities in the village and by identifying new opportunities to activate vacant and underutilised community facilities.
  • Ensure Tharwa is accessible and well connected, by recommending the prioritisation to the needs of pedestrians, cyclists and recreational walkers to encourage active travel within the village and by reducing the exposure to high speed traffic.
  • Protect and conserve the environmental value of Tharwa's natural heritage, by recommending the further conservation and enhancement of the riparian zone of the Murrumbidgee River and through the provision of improved access to outdoor recreational facilities to enhance people's enjoyment and experience within the village.
  • Promote sustainability in the built and natural environments, by recommending the improvement and adoption of energy and water efficiency measures for the village and by encouraging initiatives for local food production including community gardens.

Community engagement forms a critical part of the planning process to ensure that the local community has an opportunity to express its needs and desires regarding the way we plan for the village.

Community engagement closed on 22 September 2017.

Key Issues

Two stages of community engagement provided an opportunity for the local residents to express what is important to them, their concerns and aspirations for the future of Tharwa.

Key findings from the community engagement process and background analysis included:

  • The value that the community places in Tharwa's historic and peaceful rural village character.
  • The significance of Tharwa's Aboriginal cultural heritage that recognises early Aboriginal habitation within the area.
  • The significance of the Cuppacumbalong Homestead Precinct as one of Tharwa's most valued historic assets that reflects early European settlement.
  • The importance that the existing independent art and craft businesses and Outward Bound contributes to Tharwa as a destination for potential visitors.
  • That there are opportunities to enhance connections between the Tharwa Village and regional heritage and recreation destinations, such as Lanyon Homestead, Cuppacumbalong Woolshed and Namadgi Visitor Centre.
  • That there are opportunities to take advantage of Tharwa's unique location on the Murrumbidgee River and proximity to Namadgi National Park, which could be enhanced with the provision of additional outdoor recreational and environmental activities.
  • That there is a presence of some vacant land for small scale residential development and existing underutilised facilities, including the Tharwa School, which could potentially be reinvigorated to enhance social and community connections and new opportunities.
  • That there are opportunities to improve the promotion of existing tourist assets and the provision of an increased range of attractions that would encourage more visitors to stop and spend time in Tharwa.

Next Steps

Implementation of the Village Plan will be achieved through draft variation to the Territory Plan No 359 (DV359) to revise the existing Tharwa Precinct Map and Code. DV359 facilitates the implementation of some of the recommendations contained within the village plan, as well as the design guidelines for new buildings in Tharwa.

There will be an opportunity for the community to provide feedback on the changes to the Tharwa Precinct Map and Code documented in DV359 through the six week community consultation process.


About Tharwa and the village plan

Set in the picturesque landscape beside the Murrumbidgee River at the foot of Mount Tennent, Tharwa is Canberra's oldest officially recognised European settlement. It retains many of the built elements of its early rural settlement including Cuppacumbalong Homestead, making it a valued retreat from the suburban edge of Canberra.

The Tharwa Village Plan will provide a shared long term vision and planning framework to allow for the enhancement and sustainable growth of Tharwa. It aims to define what is important about the village and how its character and quality can be maintained and improved.

The village plan process will also provide government and local community the opportunity to consider a range of issues affecting the village, such as aged infrastructure services, a lack of economic activity in the village, and environmental and heritage considerations.

Community engagement has played an important part of the village plan process and will continue to do so. People who live or work in or near the village, or who use the area, have valuable knowledge to contribute to the planning process. Community involvement will be essential in helping develop a successful and achievable village plan.