Peter Kabaila BSc(Arch), B Arch(UNSW), Dip Ed, BA Hons, PhD(ANU)

Peter’s varied and interesting career path includes the establishment of an architecture and project management practice in Canberra, followed by the completion of a doctorate in historical archaeology from the Australia National University. Peter’s continuing role as a heritage consultant and advisor to New South Wales local government combines his interest in historical townships and his architectural design background.

Peter is the author of several non-fiction books, which include narratives of historic towns in New South Wales and accounts of Aboriginal settlements in the 20th century. Travels include Southeast Asia, Papua New Guinea, Europe and North America. Peter speaks Lithuanian and some Vietnamese, the latter a result of recent pro-bono work and founding of a small charity in central Vietnam.

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Department of Archaeology, ANU.
  • Bachelor of Arts, First Class Honours, Dept. of Archaeology, ANU.
  • Graduate Diploma in Education, (Australian History). Univ. of Canberra.
  • Bachelor of Architecture, University of New South Wales.
  • Bachelor of Science in Architecture, University of New South Wales.
  • First Rate Accredited Energy Assessor, ACT.
  • Council Heritage Adviser Course, Quarantine Station, Manly.
Heritage Advisor (2000-Current)

Advisor to NSW Local government areas centred in Yass, Griffith, Lockhart, Moss Vale Picton, Katoomba, Queanbeyan, Wagga Wagga, Goulburn, Jindabyne, Urana.

Roles include:

  • Restorations
  • Conservation management plans
  • Government Heritage Development Control Plans
  • Museum work
  • Nominations to State Heritage Register
  • Local government area heritage studies
  • Heritage Impact Statements
  • Expert witness for legal disputes

See Appendix below for further details and a full list of projects.


As part of his study of historical archaeology, Peter pioneered an approach for recording the history of Aboriginal settlements. After completion of a PhD, he continues to conduct archaeological surveys for development proposals.

Roles include:

  • Archaeological surveys (Aboriginal & European)
  • Mine Field Heritage Assessment/Rehabilitation
  • Aboriginal Collection Analysis

See Appendix 1 below for a full list of projects and publications.


Peter studied architecture at UNSW, while working as a draftsman part-time. During his graduation year, Peter was one of ten students selected to study under the eminent Australian architect Harry Seidler, and established a consulting practice in Canberra in 1988.

Principal Architect, Black Mountain Projects Pty Ltd

  • Design and project management of a wide range of educational, commercial and residential building projects.
  • Design and administration of contracts for school refurbishments for the Catholic Education Office
  • School refurbishments, consulting to Canberra Catholic Education Office.

Contract architect

  • Department of Housing and Construction, including the Special Services Section, a small design team established to provide personalised office fit-outs to high profile government clients including ASIO and the Department of Defence.
  • Various Canberra architectural firms.
  • Large architectural practices in Hertfordshire (UK); significant projects include Al Kharama Hospital in Baghdad and Salmiya Island Dolphinarium in Kuwait.
  • Landscape Archaeology tutor, Australian National University.
  • Architecture tutor, Canberra Institute of Technology.


  • English tutor for migrants, Canberra Institute of Technology
Books – local histories and landscape archaeologies

  • Home Girls: Cootamundra Aboriginal Home Girls tell their stories. Canprint Publishing, Canberra 2012.
  • Leeton – A thematic history. Canprint Publishing, Canberra 2013.
  • Survival Legacies: Stories from Aboriginal settlements of southeastern Australia, Canprint Publishing, Canberra, 2011.
  • High Country Footprints: Aboriginal pathways and movement in the high country of southeastern Australia. Pirion Publishing, Canberra, 2005.
  • Griffith Heritage. Pirion Publishing, Canberra, 2005.
  • Wiradjuri places Vol 1: the Murrumbidgee River basin. Black Mountain Projects, Canberra, 1995, Revised second edition 1998. Vol 2: The Lachlan River basin, Black Mountain Projects,1996. Vol 3: The Macquarie River basin – and some places revisited, Black Mountain Projects, Canberra, 1998.
  • Belconnen’s Aboriginal past: a glimpse into the archaeology of the Australian Capital Territory. Black Mountain Projects, Canberra, 1997.
  • Associate Member, Australian National University Centre for Archaeological Research.
  • Australian Institute of Architects member of Archicentre Professional Advisory Panel.
  • Member of Marion Griffin Measured Drawing Competition Panel.
  • Associate of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects.
  • C.T. Architects Board
  • S.W. Architects Board
  • Member, Greenpeace.
After a volunteer construction advisor to an orphanage building project in Quang Binh Province, Central Vietnam, Peter founded Friends of Vietnam Orphanages Inc., a charity to improve life in orphanages and villages. Through this charity, Peter combines skills in project management with his passions for motorbike riding, travel and cultural encounter.


  • Carrington cottage row, Joadja shale mine field, NSW Southern Highlands.
  • Gundaroo Pioneer Cemetery. Repairs, conservation, new lych gate.
  • Showground Grandstand, Lockhart. Repairs and conservation of a late Victorian period grandstand.
  • Hennessy College Young. Conversion of former convent to College administration building.
  • St Michael’s Cathedral, Wagga Wagga. Replacement of building services and major renovation.
  • Rheinberger Centre, Yarralumla. Conversion for former school building and grounds into a teaching and conference centre.
  • Snowy Hydro Visitor’s Centre, Cooma. Adaptive reuse and additions to original SMEC Visitor s Centre building.

Legal disputes; expert witness

  • Ironlaw Pty Ltd v Wollondilly Shire Council. NSW Land & Environment Court.
  • Multi-unit redevelopment, Neerim, Bowral. NSW Land & Environment Court.
  • Port O Call Hotel, Bowral. NSW Land & Environment Court.
  • Murrumbidgee Flour Mill, Wagga Wagga. NSW Land & Environment Court.
  • Norlex water extraction, Bundanoon. NSW Land & Environment Court.
  • Laidlaw’s Hill subdivision, Yass. NSW Land & Environment Court.
  • Lennox House, Acton. ACT Magistrate’s Court.
  • House, 52 Currong St, Braddon. ACT Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Conservation Management Plans

  • Riversdale, Chevalier College, Burradoo.
  • Aitchison Cottage, Berridale.
  • Rotunda, Belmore Park, Goulburn.
  • St Clair, Goulburn.
  • Wolter’s cottage, kitchen and privy, Tumbarumba.
  • Railway signals gantry, Cootamundra.
  • Adelong Falls Gold Workings, Adelong.
  • Derrendi Cottage, Narrandera.
  • Jarvisfield, Picton.
  • Wolter’s cottage, kitchen and privy, Tumbarumba.
  • Mock Rock Structures, Upper Blue Mountains.
  • George IV Inn, Picton.
  • Five War Memorials, Blue Mountains.
  • Adelong Falls Gold Workings Site.
  • Berrima Market Place (Park).
  • Neighbourhood House, Griffith.
  • Hermit’s Cave Griffith.
  • Gundaroo Catholic Pioneer Cemetery.
  • St Michael’s Cathedral, Wagga Wagga.
  • Railway Precinct, Tumut.
  • Adelong Falls Gold Workings.
  • Bradman’s Birthplace, Cootamundra.
  • George IV Inn, Picton.
  • St Patrick’s Church, Gundagai.
  • Goulburn Waterworks.
  • Belmore Park, Goulburn.
  • Gundagai – St Patrick’s Catholic Church.
  • Lebanese graves, Cootamundra Cemetery, for Australian Lebanese Historical Society.
  • Bluebird Café, Lockhart.
  • Commercial Hotel, Lockhart.
  • St Aiden’s Anglican Church, Lockhart.
  • Maldon Suspension Bridge, Wollondilly Shire.
  • Soldiers Memorial Hall, Urana.

Government Heritage Development Control Plans

  • NSW Local government Development Control Plans for: Berrima Village, Queanbeyan City, Menangle Village, Yass Valley Shire, Griffith City, Lockhart Shire, Greater Hume Shire, Cootamundra Shire, Leeton Shire, Snowy River Shire, Urana Shire.
  • ACT Galvanised Roof Policy, contracted to Peter Freeman.
  • Canberra Front Fence Policy Revision, contracted to LFA.

Property Surveys

  • Griffith City Properties Heritage Audit.
  • S diplomatic residences, Canberra, contracted to LFA.

Museum Work

  • Exhibition Preparation – Warangesda Mission Commemoration (Griffith Art Gallery).
  • Darlington Point Aboriginal gallery and tourist info centre (design concept).
  • Rusten engine relocation project, Oaklands.
  • Oaklands Vintage Collection, museum policy documents.
  • Urana Courthouse Museum, policy documents.
  • Lockhart Historical Museum, application for federal funding and CMP.
  • Cootamundra Heritage Centre, entrance ramp design.
  • Significance statements for Migration Heritage Centre, Sydney Powerhouse Museum, objects at Griffith Italian Cultural Museum.

Nominations to State Heritage Register

  • Soldiers Memorial Hall, Urana.
  • St Michael’s Cathedral, Wagga Wagga.
  • Bradman’s Birthplace, Cootamundra.
  • Hermit’s Cave, Griffith.
  • Queen Victoria Home for Consumptives, Wentworth Falls.
  • Warangesda Aboriginal Mission Site, Darlington Point, for NSW Heritage Office.

Local government area heritage studies

Heritage studies for NSW Shire Councils: Leeton, Cootamundra, Greater Hume, Lockhart Shire, Griffith City, Wollondilly (completion), Balranald, Urana.

Heritage Impact Statements

  • Tocumwal cottage, 52 Miller St O’Connor.
  • Mercy Hospital, Young.
  • Birch’s Store, Young.
  • Chapel Hill, Jamberoo, 30 lot subdivision.
  • Dual Occupancy at 3 Karabar St, Queanbeyan.
  • Additions at 52 Currong St, Braddon.
  • Adelong Falls Viewing Platform.
  • Demolition at 22 Broughton Pl, Queanbeyan.
  • Hotel Queanbeyan.
  • Oriental Hotel, Tumut.
  • Demolition of Cameron’s Garage, Harden.
  • Relocation of Railway Gantry, Cootamundra.
  • Repairs to Railway Station, Leeton.
  • Additions to Police Station, Narrandera.
  • Wolter’s cottage, kitchen and privy, Tumbarumba.
  • Railway signals gantry, Cootamundra.
  • Adelong Falls Gold Workings, Adelong.
  • Demolition, 19-21 Munro Rd Queanbeyan.
  • Demolition of 4 houses for redevelopment, 53, 55, and 57 Canberra Ave and 3 Broughton Pl, Queanbeyan.
  • Demolition of 2 cottages, 19-21 Henderson Rd Queanbeyan.
  • Dual Occupancy, 3 McHeanie St Queanbeyan.
  • Lime Leaf Restaurant, 24 Lowe St Queanbeyan.
  • Demolition or subdivision, Birchs Store, 7 Chillingworks Rd, Young.
  • Garage replacement, 54 Miller St O’Connor.

Fire Damage Assessment

  • Cantles Cottage, Booth St, Queanbeyan.

Archaeological surveys (Aboriginal & European)

  • Due Diligence Heritage Assessment of Sportsground, Bargo, for Wollondilly Shire Council.
  • Due Diligence Heritage Assessment of Wyadra Station at Hillston, NSW Lots 11, 12, 13, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, DP 752985, a report to Booth Associates Pty Ltd Agribusiness and Environmental Consultants, for Carrathool Shire Council.
  • Archaeological Heritage Assessment of Artificial Water Body at Hillston, NSW, Lots 12,13,17,23 DP 752971, a report to Booth Associates Pty Ltd, Agribusiness and Environmental Consultants, for Carrathool Shire Council.
  • Archaeological Heritage Assessment of Auscott Cotton Gin at Hay, NSW, Lot 21, DP 756797, a report to SMK Consultants, for Hay Shire Council.
  • Archaeological Heritage Assessment of Service Line to Auscott Cotton Gin at Hay, NSW, Lot 21, DP 756797, a report to SMK Consultants, for Hay Shire Council.
  • Stage 1 Levee Upgrade at Hay, NSW, a report to Booth Associates Pty Ltd, Agribusiness and Environmental Consultants, for Hay Shire Council.
  • Due Diligence Aboriginal Heritage Assessment for Proposed Drainage Channel, Lake Talbot Crown Reserve, Narrandera, NSW, for Narrandera Shire Council.
  • 200-Lot Residential Subdivision at Lot 2 DP1071622, Lot 2 DP 1068127, Lake Wyangan, Griffith, for Griffith City Council.
  • Tharbogang Quarry and Landfill Expansion, Slopes Road, Lot 202 DP 756035, Tharbogang, for Griffith City Council.
  • Oallen Ford Bridge, Oallen Ford, for Goulburn Mulwaree Council.
  • Long Tunnel Creek Bridge, Gundagai, for Gundagai Shire Council.
  • Adjungbilly Creek Bridge, Gundagai, for Gundagai Shire Council.
  • Lawson Golf Course site, Blue Mountains, for Blue Mountains City Council.
  • Perry Sandhills, Wentworth for UNSW.
  • Dolphin Point for UNSW.

Mine Field Heritage Assessment/Rehabilitation

  • Burraga Copper Mine Field for SMEC.
  • Joadja shale mine field, NSW Southern Highlands.

Aboriginal Collection Analysis

  • Artefact identification – Urana Courthouse Museum.
  • Artefact identification – Lockhart Historical Museum.
  • Skeletal analysis of burial remains – Riverina Museum of Wagga Wagga.
  • Aboriginal object identification – Riverina Museum of Wagga Wagga.

Publications – Research

  • Warangesda: archaeological reconstruction of an Aboriginal mission. BA Honours thesis. Australian National University, Canberra, 1993.
  • Cootamundra: the Aboriginal Girls Home. AIATSIS, 1994.
  • Cootamundra Girls Home: four eras of occupation, Journal of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. 1:30-9,1995.
  • Archaeological aspects of Aboriginal settlement of the period 1870-1970 in the Wiradjuri region. PhD thesis. Australian National University, Canberra, 1999.
  • Aboriginal life in the region: eight generations of Wiradjuri and European interaction in B. Robinson and G. England (eds). People of Weddin Shire, 2001.
  • Book review of Memmott, Paul (ed) Take 2 Housing design in indigenous Australia, Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 2003


  • Pacific Formwork Office and warehouses, Hume.
  • Jemena warehouse and offices, Hume.
  • King & Wilson warehouse and offices, Hume.
  • Design of Unisys offices, Canberra, on contract to Godfrey Spowers.

Housing Estates

  • Houses for 7 lot subdivision at Latham, for Five Star Homes.
  • Terrace house row at Gungahlin, for Five Star Homes.

Visitor/conference centres

  • Snowy Hydro Visitors Centre, Cooma.
  • Rheinberger Conference Centre, Yarralumla.
  • Penola Visitors Centre (design competition entry).
  • Aboriginal meeting place and community radio building, Lake Cargelligo.
  • Community Centre, O’Connor.


  • Ladybird Jewellery, Woden Plaza.
  • Bells Dry Cleaners and Black & White Formal Hire, Westfield Belconnen.
  • Oz Nails, Gungahlin, Canberra.
  • TD Alterations, Canberra Outlet Centre (DFO).
  • 2008 – Fostered 18 Australian Defence Force Academy students as part of ADFA Foster Scheme.
  • 2010 – Annual travel to Vietnam to undertake voluntary work at orphanages and shelters.
  • 1984-2009 – Raised three children: now a Veterinarian, Australian Army Captain and Registered Nurse.
  • Worked and lived in England as an architect.
  • Built two houses as an owner-builder: practical skills in building.
  • Associated with Lithuanian, Vietnamese and Catholic communities in Canberra.