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Nan Tien temple
Photograph: Vanessa Pike-Russell/ Flickr

NSW's beloved Nan Tien Temple near Sydney is up for heritage list status

If all goes to plan, it'll be the second-youngest heritage site in NSW

Maya Skidmore
Written by
Maya Skidmore

Nan Tien Temple has long been one of NSW’s most beloved and special locations, and now it’s looking like this sentiment could be about to be made official. Heritage NSW is currently considering Nan Tien Temple for heritage listing – and if it goes ahead, the iconic landmark on the Princes Highway will become the state’s second-youngest heritage listed site, behind the millennium Olympic Cauldron

Nan Tien Temple has been a fixture of the drive down from Sydney to Wollongong since the 1990s, with its spectacular eight-storey pagoda transforming the highway into something magical and unexpected. After Wollongong City Council donated 26 hectares of land to the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order, charging an annual rent of just $1 for 100 years (yes, you read that right), Nan Tien was built in 1993. 

Ever since it opened its doors in 1997, the temple has been a 50-hectare oasis of sacred grounds, spirituality and greenery for people, with it being a particularly important space for Buddhists to connect with their culture, one another and other visitors. 

Nan Tien was originally invited by Heritage NSW to submit a nomination to be listed on the State Heritage Legislature in 2019, and is now calling for public submissions before it will get passed along to NSW Heritage Minister, Penny Sharpe for final consideration.

NSW Heritage Sites get chosen if they meet two of the council’s seven points of criteria – and given how important Nan Tien Temple has been for connecting multicultural communities and celebrating NSW’s Asian-Australian population, a it’s pretty clear that this beloved building deserves to be protected forever. 


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