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Heritage identification and protection

South Australia


Heritage Act 1993, amended 2005

Development Act 1993

Historic Shipwrecks Act 1981

Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988

Heritage Council

The State Heritage Council is an independent body of seven to nine members with expertise in history, archaeology, architecture, the natural sciences, heritage conservation, public administration, urban and regional planning and property development. The Council, supported by Heritage South Australia staff, offers advice to the Minister on heritage matters, administers the State Heritage Register and is responsible for adding and removing places in the Register.



The State Heritage Register lists places of state significance. It is maintained as a computerised database. Printouts are available for public inspection at the Heritage Branch, 1 Richmond Road, Keswick, South Australia during normal office hours. Copies of relevant entries are also routinely provided to local councils. Selected information on State Heritage Places is available on-line.


The South Australian Heritage Places Database is an online search tool to assist people to find information about Heritage Places in South Australia, including locality maps. Click here to access the SA Heritage Places Database Online Search Tool


The SA Heritage Places Database is a comprehensive listing of:


The Heritage Places Act 1993 allows for the identification and protection of places and areas of heritage significance to the State. A State Heritage Place is a place entered in the SA Heritage Register or contained within an area established as a State Heritage Area. Once registered, State Heritage Places are protected under both the Heritage Places Act and the Development Act 1993.


The Development Act 1993 enables local councils to identify and list places of local heritage value in Development Plans. Amendments to the Development Plan creating a local heritage place must be supported by appropriate investigations, generally containing the findings of a heritage survey, and places must meet at least one of the criteria in section 23(4) of the Development Act.


As at 1 July 2009 there were 2208 confirmed State Heritage Places entered in the Register. In addition, seventeen State Heritage Areas have been designated, thirteen under the now repealed South Australian Heritage Act 1978 and four under the Development Act 1993.


Individuals or organisations can nominate a place for entry as a place of State significance in the South Australian Heritage Register. The nomination form (50Kb PDF) is available on-line or by contacting the Heritage Branch of the Department for Environment and Heritage (DEH).


What is included on the Register

South Australia’s State Heritage Register includes such places as wells, monuments, mine sites, shipwrecks and cemeteries as well as buildings. Significant geological, archaeological and palaeontological areas can also be protected.


Criteria for inclusion on the Register

A place must meet at least one of the following criteria to be eligible for entry.

More information about nominating a place can be found on the web site and web page about entering a place on the register.


The Heritage Branch is responsible for the development of strategies and polices relating to the Department Environment and Heritage’s Heritage program. It aims to identify, protect, conserve and promote State Heritage Places and Maritime Heritage within the context of relevant legislation - the Heritage Places Act 1993, the State Historic Shipwrecks Act 1981 and the Australian Government Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976.


The Heritage Branch:


Manages the South Australian Heritage Register which:


lists places and related objects of State significance that meet one or more of the criteria specified in Section 16 of the Heritage Places Act 1993

records other categories of heritage places in South Australia (including local, national and world heritage places) which are protected under other legislation


Helps to identify, assess and conserve built heritage by:


managing a survey and assessment program

assessing and advising on the impact of development proposals on State Heritage Places

providing advice about how best to conserve State Heritage Places.


Helps to identify, assess and conserve our maritime heritage by:


conducting regional surveys and collecting information from the community to identify South Australia's land-based and underwater maritime heritage sites.

researching and surveying sites to assess their significance and developing conservation management plans for their protection

providing a broader historical perspective through interpretation in the form of brochures, booklets, exhibitions and maritime heritage trails.


Informs the community about South Australia's heritage by:


producing a bi-annual newsletter, other publications and a web site

organising lectures, seminars and events

developing and supporting education programs for schools

interpreting significant sites and structures.


Government heritage grant programs

The Heritage Branch of the Department for Environment and Heritage (DEH) administers the South Australian Heritage Fund to assist in the conservation of heritage places. Applications are invited from State Heritage Place owners, for one grant, per place, per year. Grants are paid subject to satisfactory project completion reports. All owners and managers of State Heritage Places and places located within a State Heritage Area.

Web page(s) and government agency addresses

Heritage organisations in SA is lists state government heritage agencies, database, legislation and non-statutory heritage sites with links to them.

DEH FAQ web page provides many answers to common questions.

The Guide to heritage places in SA has useful links to other relevant web pages.

For more information write to Heritage Branch, GPO Box 1047, Adelaide 5001, phone 08 8124 4960 or send an email or


Other statutory listings

Aboriginal heritage includes Aboriginal sites, objects and remains, and is protected via the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988. The Act is currently managed by the Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Division of the Department of Premier and Cabinet.


The many types of natural heritage, including wilderness, coastlines and estuaries, native vegetation and threatened species, are managed and protected by a wide variety of legislative frameworks and bodies. At the State level, agencies responsible for natural heritage conservation include the Department for Environment and Heritage and the Department of Water Land and Biodiversity Conservation.


Local councils can protect places of local heritage value by listing them in their Development Plans.

Non-Statutory registers

The National Trust South Australia lobbies to conserve and preserve the states heritage and works in strategic partnership with local, state and federal government on heritage based tourism and community facilities. In 1983, the Trust established a Significant Tree Register to help identify and conserve trees of important to the South Australian community. The Trust can be contacted by writing to Beaumont House, 361 Glynburn Road, Beaumont SA 5066 or phoning (08) 8202 9200 or email


History SA

History SA (formerly the History Trust of South Australia) is unique in Australia, with a brief to research, preserve and present the state’s history. History SA’s vision is to inspire South Australians to reflect on the present and imagine the future, through an active engagement with their past.


One of History SA’s primary responsibilities is care of the State Historical Collection, selections of which are displayed in History SA’s three museums: the Migration Museum, the South Australian Maritime Museum and the National Motor Museum.


History SA also works closely with community organisations in many aspects of our work. Our community history programs include the Community Museums Program (a program of assistance to community museums), the South Australian History Fund (which assists historical researchers and historical societies), SA History Week and the annual State History Conference.


The South Australian History Fund supports:




Well-written and well-researched histories which have a South Australian focus, in particular a regional, local or specialist focus, in the form of books, pamphlets, booklets, CDs, historical walking and driving tours




Marking of heritage trails

Conservation work on significant items related to a community’s history

Purchase of equipment for oral history projects

Employment of a professional historian or editor to assist in research or preparation of a history publication

Interpretation projects

Digitising locally significant photographic or document collections

Regional collaborative history projects




One to three year major research projects that lead to a scholarly publication about South Australian history


For general information about the Fund please call the Community History Programs on 8203 9888.


The History SA Community History Directory has links to many community, local and specialist museums across South Australia.


For more information about History SA and its activities visit Torrens Parade Ground, Victoria Drive, Adelaide, SA 5000, write to GPO Box 1836, Adelaide, SA 5001, ring 08 8203 9888 or email

Other agencies and grants

Under the Development Act 1993 all development applications affecting places listed on the State Heritage must obtain a formal Development Approval from their local Council. The Development Act 1993 contains special provisions relating to State Heritage Places, defines what constitutes development and nominates the Council as the relevant authority. If you believe that Development Approval might not be required, discuss the matter with your local Heritage Adviser. If they agree that the work can proceed without a formal Development Approval, you should obtain written confirmation of this from Council.


Remember some local authorities will have their own heritage grants. Adelaide City Council has a heritage grants incentive and so does the Mount Barker District Council and the City of Charles Sturt.


The City of Port Adelaide Enfield has a significant place within the metropolitan area having a large number of places and areas of historic conservation significance. Many of these places and areas have been identified by heritage assessments and surveys, with several places currently protected by their inclusion within the Port Adelaide State Heritage Area. The purpose of the Heritage Incentive Grants Scheme Policy is to achieve conservation aims and to assist and support the viability of new development associated with the conservation of local heritage places and contributory places.