The Transport Heritage Grants Program is a NSW Government funded program, administered by the Royal Australian Historical Society (RAHS), and supported by Transport Heritage NSW (THNSW). The grants program aims to help the NSW community rediscover the culture, the events and the people that shaped transport in NSW over the past 160 years, as well as support the restoration and conservation of our valuable heritage assets. It runs on an annual basis to assist eligible organisations and individuals with rail, tram and bus, water based transport like ferries or industrial ships, and aeroplane (mass transit planes) based heritage activities. Any private vehicles (ie not industrial or public transport) like a car, yacht or private plane is not eligible. Please subscribe to our eNewsletter or blog for the latest news on this program.

The 2023 Transport Heritage Grants Program will open on 20 June at 9am and close on 8 August at 5pm

For any enquires please email grants@rahs.org.au


Depending on the type of project (see Grant Categories section below), the following are eligible to apply for grants:

Organisations: Body corporate that is a not-for-profit or charitable institution established with transport heritage and/or NSW history or heritage as one of its objective and purpose;

Individuals: Members of Transport Heritage NSW. For more information on becoming a member of Transport Heritage NSW, visit their website.

Government-owned assets on loan through THNSW are generally not eligible for the THGP – custodians should contact THNSW to discuss other available funding options

Category 1: Restoration, reconstruction or preservation of a heritage transport item (available for eligible organisations only)

For projects which:

  • Directly involve the restoration and/or conservation of a Government or non-Government owned transport heritage asset (rail, tram or bus); AND
  • Are not eligible for other Government funding.

Category 2: Education, publication or interpretation of an event, item/s or person/s that will promote heritage transport (available for eligible organisations only)

For projects which involve educating the community about transport heritage or the operation of transport heritage passenger services. Example programs include:

  • Promoting the history or facilities of the group to local schools and/or community groups; OR
  • Designed for local schools which are developed in conjunction with educational staff, have the written support of local education authorities and contribute to the history curriculum delivered by the school.

Category 3: Study, consultation, report or review that will assist in managing a heritage transport place or item (available for eligible organisations and individuals)

Innovative digital research and print interpretation projects about the people, culture, skills and knowledge and/or events of NSW transport heritage or other applicable historical highlights of NSW transport history.

Completed application forms and supporting documentation must be received by RAHS by the given deadline.  All applicants will be emailed confirmation of receipt of their application by the RAHS.


If you have problems downloading the forms, they can also be emailed or posted to you by contacting the RAHS on (02) 9247 8001.

Applicants are encouraged to submit applications by email. Applicants submitting electronic applications must ensure signatures are in place on the application. An email will be sent to acknowledge that the application has been received.

If you wish to post your application, please send it to: NSW Transport Heritage Grants Coordinator, Royal Australian Historical Society, 133 Macquarie Street, Sydney NSW 2000

The RAHS will disclose the information in your application to Transport for NSW so that your application can be assessed and your grant, if you are successful, recognised.

It is essential to answer all questions. Incomplete applications will not be assessed. If you have an issue downloading the form then please contact the RAHS.

Applicants must read the detailed guidelines before submitting an application to ensure that their project is eligible for funding. If you have any queries please email or call us on (02) 9247 8001. We recommend that, before starting your application form, you discuss your project with RAHS Grants Officer Maryanne Byrne or RAHS General Manager Suzanne Holohan to ensure that it meets the eligibility criteria.

Applications will be assessed by a preliminary review working group and grants will be approved by the Independent Funding and Advisory Panel (IFAP).

Each project application will be evaluated on its merits against the following selection criteria:

  • The project’s transport heritage significance
  • The project’s quality, including its aims, content, rationale and likely benefit
  • The project’s relevance and usefulness to its target audience and to the community more generally
  • The project’s viability, including planning, availability of resources, sustainable governance, financial planning and administration
  • Sustainability of the applicant, including capability and capacity of the applicant to deliver the project (evidence of past project delivery success)
  • Consideration of community participation and engagement with the project

Information about the status of applications will not be released until all applications have been assessed and final decisions reached.


One of the key grant selection criterion is the project’s transport heritage significance. It is therefore important that all applicants understand what ‘significance’ means in a heritage context so they can answer the following questions. The definitions, examples and useful links on this page aim to help applicants answer the following key questions:

  • All Categories – In no more than 500 words, please outline the transport heritage significance of the project;
  • Restoration and Conservation Category only – Please describe the heritage significance of the asset/s.

What does ‘significance’ mean?

In 2009, the Collection Council of Australia published Significance 2.0 – a guide to assessing the significance of collections. This document provided a definition of significance that is now commonly accepted by heritage and collection management professionals.

‘Significance’ refers to the values and meanings that items and collections have for people and communities. At a simple level, significance is a way of telling compelling stories about items and collections, explaining why they are important. Significance may also be defined as the historic, artistic, scientific and social or spiritual values that items and collections have for past, present and future generations.

Project’s heritage significance – some things to consider:

Some questions that applicants may find useful to consider when describing the heritage significance of their project are:

  • Is your project associated with a particular person, group, event, place or activity and how is this important?
  • What does your project say about an historic theme, process, or pattern of life?
  • How does your project contribute to understanding a period, place, activity, industry, person or event?

Statements of heritage significance for assets

Applicants who are applying for Restoration and Conservation grants will need to assess the heritage significance of the asset. The main aim in assessing significance is to produce a succinct statement of significance, which summarises an item’s heritage values.

The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage has established a number of criteria that are used to assess whether an item has heritage significance:

  1. An item is important in the course, or pattern, of NSW’s cultural or natural history (or the cultural or natural history of the local area);
  2. An item has strong or special association with the life or works of a person, or group of persons, of importance in NSW’s cultural or natural history (or the cultural or natural history of the local area);
  3. An item is important in demonstrating aesthetic characteristics and/or a high degree of creative or technical achievement in NSW (or the local area);
  4. An item has strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group in NSW (or the local area) for social, cultural or spiritual reasons;
  5. An item has potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of NSW’s cultural or natural history (or the cultural or natural history of the local area);
  6. An item possesses uncommon, rare or endangered aspects of NSW’s cultural or natural history (or the cultural or natural history of the local area);
  7. An item is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a class of NSW’s cultural or natural places.

Assessing Heritage Significance, prepared by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, contains samples of heritage significance statements for each of the different types of criterion.

Samples of Significance Statements for transport items on NSW Heritage Listed Items

The recipients of the Transport Heritage Grants are announced at the Transport Heritage NSW Conferences.

1.0 Eligibility

Question: Can an organisation submit more than one grant application?

Yes. If you are applying for multiple projects then things to consider are:

  • Capacity of your organisation to deliver multiple projects on time and within budget;
  • If applicable, highlight any linkages between projects. Please note that you must be able to complete each individual project on a standalone basis.

Question: Are joint applications acceptable?

Yes. For example, a rail heritage organisation and a local library/historical society/heritage organisation may choose to submit an Education Interpretation project.

 2.0 Types of projects

Question: Is funding available to publish books connected to rail heritage if the research and written component is complete? 

Yes. Funding is available for this type of project. The project plan should focus on how it contributes to understanding transport heritage, the audience/potential readership of the publication and details of the publication type (e.g. printed/eBook/hardback, proposed chapters, sources).

Question: Would the following conservation and restoration projects be considered - retention toilets for heritage trains; tool costs to maintain heritage machinery; repairs to steam boilers 

All these projects would be eligible. Please note the following:

  • Applications that involve the purchases of tools to maintain machinery should specify the benefits of ownership, and care/custodianship of these items;
  • Applications that focus on safety/improving service to the public must show how this benefits transport heritage e.g. asset sustainability, increased public access and enjoyment;
  • Applications for urgent repairs should address the impact this work has on the heritage of the asset, and demonstrate an understanding of the Burra Charter (or equivalent).  To download a copy of the Burra Charter visit the Australia International Council on Monuments and Sites' website: click here

Question: Would a reprint on an existing publication be considered suitable for a grant? 

This would only be considered if

  • Original publication has historic merit for reproduction
  • Additional research material of historical and heritage significance was added to the original work

 3.0 Selection Criteria

Question: How do applications for producing publication meet the selection criteria ‘community participation and engagement with project'.

The following is a list of examples of how an application to produce a publication may meet this requirement. Please contact the RAHS if you require further clarification:

  • Sourcing historical records from local groups;
  • Collating oral histories to supplement archival research;
  • Including in the application the audiences for print interpretation and how they will access materials;
  • Including in the application publicity plans as to how you will share the project outputs with the public.

The RAHS Library contains a variety of resources on the history of transport in New South Wales, several examples of which can be explored below.