21 May 2024

Nan Tien Temple, a sprawling Buddhist Temple complex located in Unanderra, has been listed on the NSW State Heritage Register as an exceptional example of Buddhist architecture.

A cultural and spiritual landmark, Nan Tien Temple is a testament to the growth of Buddhism in late-20th century Australia, and a symbol of interfaith harmony.

It is the largest Buddhist temple in NSW is an example of the Chinese Imperial Palace and T’ang Dynasty architectural styles.

Its unique features include two temple shrines, an eight storey pagoda and expansive landscaped gardens designed for reflection and meditation.

Designed by Australian architects Jones Brewster Regan and predominantly constructed between 1992 and 1995, its 417-square-metre Main Shrine is dedicated to the Five Directions, housing five three-metre Buddha statues encircled by 10,000 smaller Buddha statues within its walls.

The heritage listing recognises Nan Tien Temple as a place of worship and a spiritual home for Buddhist migrants and Australian-born Buddhists to connect and uphold their traditions and culture.

Nan Tien Temple has also become a vital space for cultural, educational, and tourist endeavours, welcoming all, regardless of religious background.

As the first pagoda and the only Buddhist Temple on the State Heritage Register, this recognition emphasises the value of Nan Tien Temple as a significant cultural site.

Anyone can nominate an item for listing. For more information on Nan Tien Temple and the nomination process visit https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/heritage/search-heritage-databases/state-heritage-inventory.


Quote attributable to Minister for Heritage Penny Sharpe:

“The addition of the Nan Tien Temple to the State Heritage Register is a celebration of our rich cultural tapestry.

“The Nan Tien temple is one of a kind in NSW. This heritage listing recognises and celebrates not just the architectural values of this place, but also the important cultural and spiritual role the temple and shrine played for our booming Buddhist population in the 1970s.

“The NSW Government is committed to protecting, preserving and creating history in a way that expands our definition of heritage. This listing ensures the State Heritage Register reflects and fosters our multicultural society.”


Quote attributable to Paul Scully, Member for Wollongong:

“Wollongong is proud to host Nan Tien Temple and welcome the 200,000 visitors it attracts each year.

“It is a one of a kind complex in NSW and one of the largest Buddhist temples in the southern hemisphere which is worthy of recognition with this listing.

“It will now continue to be protected as a testament to the growth of Buddhism in Australia, uniting diverse communities and fostering cultural exchange.”


Quote attributable to the Venerable Miao You, Nan Tien Temple:

“Nan Tien Temple is honoured to be recognised by the Heritage Council of NSW. 

“Nan Tien aims to serve as an educational hub and provide spiritual sanctuary for people from all walks of life.

“Our inclusion on the State Heritage Register will ensure the preservation of our unique architecture, artistic culture, surrounding environment, and gardens so everyone may enjoy them for many years to come.”


Quote attributable to Heritage Council of NSW Chair Frank Howarth:

"Nan Tien Temple, a symbol of interfaith harmony and cultural richness, has now been granted protection with its listing on the State Heritage Register.

“The inclusion of Nan Tien Temple highlights the invaluable contribution of many cultural and religious communities to Australian society.”