The National Trust has the most comprehensive single heritage register in Victoria, covering all types of cultural and natural heritage, including significant trees. This is known as the National Trust Heritage Register. As a community body, listing by the Trust is not legally binding, however it is highly respected and often consulted by statutory bodies.
Heritage Protection Explained (VIC)
Protecting our shared heritage involves retaining and managing places that have importance to the community. In Victoria, there are a number of ways that places of Indigenous, cultural and natural heritage significance are recorded and protected. The main categories of heritage listing are outlined below.
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The Victorian Heritage Register provides legal protection for places and objects that are significant to the state of Victoria, under the Heritage Act 1995. Anyone can nominate a place to the Victorian Heritage Register, which is maintained by Heritage Victoria, a part of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
All municipalities in Victoria are required to identify heritage places, including buildings, objects and precincts, and protect them through their Planning Schemes with a “Heritage Overlay” control. A permit needs to be sought for changes to a place with a Heritage Overlay control. Contact your local Council for more information.
The Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 provides protection for all Aboriginal Cultural Heritage in Victoria. This Act acknowledges Aboriginal people as the primary guardians of Aboriginal cultural heritage, establishes a registration system, and also sets up a Management Plan and Permit system managed through the Department of Premier and Cabinet.
The National Heritage List aims to list and protect cultural and natural places that are considered to be of outstanding importance to Australia, under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Victoria currently has 29 places on the list, which is maintained by the federal Department of the Environment.
The Commonwealth List includes significant places that are owned by the Australian Government, which means they are exempt from local or state control. The list includes natural, Indigenous and historic heritage places, such as places connected to defence, communications, customs and other government activities.
The Register of the National Estate (RNE) was originally established under the Australian Heritage Commission Act 1975, but was closed in 2007 and is no longer a statutory list. The RNE, which included places of local and state significance, is now an archive of information about 13,000 places throughout Australia.
The Heritage Rivers Act 1992 identifies 18 Heritage River Areas in Victoria, in which some activities may be prohibited including constructing barriers that affect the area’s recreational, natural, scenic or cultural heritage values. The Act can also restrict diversion of water, some clearing practices, plantation establishments and domestic animal grazing.
The World Heritage List includes sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common heritage of humanity, and is maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. The only place in Victoria on the list is the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens.
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Search the National Trust Register
Find information about places, buildings, bridges, pipe organs, public art, trees, landscapes and gardens classified by the National Trust of Australia (Victoria).