In the days before adequate protection for heritage places was introduced, The National Trust of Australia (Queensland) was once known as the community group who stopped development – their arsenal was picket lines, protests and rallies.

Fast forward two decades and Queensland now has statutory heritage registers, a state wide Heritage Council and requirements to ensure that the demolition of heritage such as ‘Cloudlands’ could never happen again.

In this new environment, the National Trust of Australia (Queensland) is re-defining its role from heritage police to heritage guardians.

CEO Jonathan Fisher says:

“We live in an urban world and it would be remiss of The National Trust to expect that development in our cities will not occur.  At The National Trust, we are encouragers of good and careful development and we showcase the results of this with our annual Heritage Awards and with our new Heritage Heroes program.”

Mr Fisher believes that:

“Good heritage outcomes are intimately linked to good urban design; by encouraging one, we gain the other.  We have to be able to re-purpose our heritage buildings into commercially viable options otherwise in Queensland (the former state of the ‘midnight demolitions’) we will risk losing our precious heritage assets.”

The National Trust is championing a collaborative approach and appreciates the opportunity to be heard:

“We want to work closely with developers, early in their design process, to help them consider how heritage can add value to their project and to assist them with refining their designs so that our heritage is retained and preferably enhanced by the development “ says Mr Fisher.

This is not an easy task – most developments are balancing a myriad of issues and constraints, but The National Trust sees heritage not as a constraint but as an opportunity.   Each development is a chance to promote this new attitude and build a more collaborative model.

The National Trust is now recognising sites which exemplify this approach to heritage.  It takes commitment to best practice to get this recognition from the National Trust.


Howard Smith Wharves in Brisbane is the first site to be named a “Heritage Hero.”  Congratulations Howard Smith Wharves – we are proud to be giving you this recognition!