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Heritage identification and protection

Australian capital Territory


Heritage Act 2004 (Heritage Act)


The ACT heritage home page has links to Aboriginal heritage, ACT Heritage and the ACT Heritage Council, grants and much more.

Heritage Council

The Heritage Act 2004 (Heritage Act) establishes the ACT Heritage Council as the ACT Government’s key advisory body on heritage issues. The Council’s roles are:


The Heritage Register only includes those places and objects that have been identified and registered to date.

Anyone can nominate a place or object to the Heritage Register.

What is included on the Register

Included on the register are natural, Aboriginal and historic places and objects of cultural heritage. The register can be searched and downloaded.

Criteria for inclusion on the register

A place or object has ‘heritage significance’ if it satisfies one or more of the following heritage significance criteria:

(a) it demonstrates a high degree of technical or creative achievement (or both), by showing qualities of innovation, discovery, invention or an exceptionally fine level of application of existing techniques or approaches;

(b) it exhibits outstanding design or aesthetic qualities valued by the community or a cultural group;

(c) it is important as evidence of a distinctive way of life, taste, tradition, religion, land use, custom, process, design or function that is no longer practised, is in danger of being lost or is of exceptional interest;

(d) it is highly valued by the community or a cultural group for reasons of strong or special religious, spiritual, cultural, educational or social associations;

(e) it is significant to the ACT because of its importance as part of local Aboriginal tradition;

(f) it is a rare or unique example of its kind, or is rare or unique in its comparative intactness;

(g) it is a notable example of a kind of place or object and demonstrates the main characteristics of that kind;

(h) it has strong or special associations with a person, group, event, development or cultural phase in local or national history;

(i) it is significant for understanding the evolution of natural landscapes, including significant geological features, landforms, biota or natural processes;

(j) it has provided, or is likely to provide, information that will contribute significantly to a wider understanding of the natural or cultural history of the ACT because of its use or potential use as a research site or object, teaching site or object, type locality or benchmark site;

(k) for a place—it exhibits unusual richness, diversity or significant transitions of flora, fauna or natural landscapes and their elements;

(l) for a place—it is a significant ecological community, habitat or locality for any of the following:

(i) the life cycle of native species;

(ii) rare, threatened or uncommon species;

(iii) species at the limits of their natural range;

(iv) distinct occurrences of species.

The web page provides definitions of places, objects, Aboriginal place or object and trees and criteria for assessing cultural heritage significance.


Under the Heritage Act 2004 (Heritage Act) the ACT Heritage Council is responsible for keeping a register of heritage places and objects in the ACT. The Heritage Register aims to represent and protect the rich natural and cultural heritage of the ACT, encompassing both Aboriginal and post European cultural values.


What does it mean for a heritage item to be listed on the Heritage Register?


Listing on the ACT Heritage Register means that the place or object is:


Government heritage grant programs

The ACT Heritage Grants Program is an annual ACT Government funded program administered by the Department of Territory and Municipal Services (TAMS) to assist the community in working to conserve and promote the heritage of the ACT. The ACT Heritage Unit administers the grant program on behalf of the Minister responsible for Heritage, who makes the final decision on the grants funded, based on advice from the ACT Heritage Council.


In 2008-2009, the program funded numerous worthwhile projects from all sectors of the community. Many are now producing a variety of materials including reports, books, events, conservation of sites, research into heritage listings and much more. Generally, funded projects are under $10,000 and have some financial or in-kind support from applicants as a demonstration of their commitment to the project. Where a profit may be made from a project, the applicant should provide matching funding.


Electronic copies of the application form are available from the Territory and Municipal Services website at: or by contacting the ACT Heritage Unit on 6207 2160.


Individuals, community groups, and any incorporated non-profit or private organisation may apply for an ACT Heritage Grant.  Applicants do not need to be residents of the ACT, but the project must focus on the heritage of the ACT and its community.


Web page(s) and government agency addresses

Heritage organisations in the ACT lists the territory government heritage agencies, database, legislation and non-statutory heritage sites with links to them.


ACT Heritage provides information about celebrating, caring for and conserving the Tasmania’s Cultural Heritage, information on local Aboriginal Heritage, The Heritage Council, Grants, Register, Assets, Legislation, Reports, Projects and related Links. Information on the ACT Heritage grants programme.


For more information write to the ACT Heritage Council, GPO Box 158, CANBERRA ACT 2602, or visit The ACT Heritage Council, ℅ Heritage Unit, Level 2 Annexe, Macarthur House, 12 Wattle Street, Lyneham or phone ACT Heritage Unit, phone 13 2281, or email

Non-statutory registers

The National Trust of Australia (ACT) maintains a list of Classified and Recorded places in the ACT. The National Trust no longer classifies heritage sites, but instead directs possible classifications to the ACT Heritage Council for sites of ACT significance for addition to the ACT Heritage Register , and nominates to the National Heritage List sites considered to be of national significance and to the Commonwealth Heritage List for places controlled by the Commonwealth Government.


The main ways National Trust (ACT) promote education about conservation of heritage are:


For more information about the Trust write to PO Box 1144, Civic Square, ACT, 2608, phone (02) 6230 0533 or send an email to .