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Heritage identification and protection

Western Australia


Heritage of Western Australia Act 1990

Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972

Heritage Council

The Heritage Council was established under the Heritage of Western Australia Act 1990 as the State’s advisory body on heritage matters. The Council provides for and encourages the conservation of places with cultural heritage significance to Western Australia.


The Heritage Council has three main functions:

The Heritage Council of WA operates several committees, including the Heritage Council (Board), Register Committee, Development Committee and Grants Committee. The Heritage Council has nine members - a chairman, four community representatives, and representatives of local government, professional associations, property owners and the National Trust of Australia (WA). People appointed to these positions are professionals with relevant expertise.


The Heritage Council of WA has a newly established Local Government Services Unit, dedicated to assisting local governments with heritage planning, maintaining local heritage inventories and the development of grants and incentives for heritage conservation.


The Local Government Heritage Assistance Program has been established to assist local governments to increase their capacity to carry out their assessment and planning responsibilities relating to heritage places.

Eligible projects will generally include works or schemes that assist the local government to undertake heritage projects, with a focus on planning issues.


The Heritage Council maintains the State Register to protect and recognise places of cultural heritage significance within our State. Entry is assessed on aesthetic, historic, scientific and social values, rarity and representativeness.


Nomination of a place to the State Register can be made by a member of the public, an organisation or local government. Nomination forms are available from the offices of the Heritage Council or you can download one by clicking here. The State Register can be searched.

What is included on the Register

The State Register of Heritage Places is a list of places that have heritage value and includes buildings, structures, gardens, cemeteries, landscapes and archaeological sites. A place could also be an historic precinct, where the combination of landscape, building, streets or spaces of an area has cultural heritage value because of their grouping and their relationship to each other.


To locate items on the register, use the Heritage Council home page then click on Place register or go to the Quick search web page.

Criteria for inclusion on the register

1. Aesthetic value

It is significant in exhibiting particular aesthetic characteristics.

1.1 Importance to a community for aesthetic characteristics.

1.2 Importance for its creative, design or artistic excellence, innovation or achievement.

1.3 Importance for its contribution to the aesthetic values of the setting demonstrated by a landmark quality or having impact on important vistas or otherwise contributing to the identified aesthetic qualities of the cultural environs or the natural landscape within which it is located.

1.4 In the case of an historic precinct, importance for the aesthetic character created by the individual components which collectively form a significant streetscape, townscape or cultural environment.

2. Historic value

It is significant in the evolution or pattern of the history of Western Australia.

2.1 Importance for the density or diversity of cultural features illustrating the human occupation and evolution of the locality, region or the State.

2.2 Importance in relation to an event, phase or activity of historic importance in the locality, the region or the State.

2.3 Importance for close association with an individual or individuals whose life, works or activities have been significant within the history of the nation, State or region.

2.4 Importance as an example of technical, creative, design or artistic excellence, innovation or achievement in a particular period.

3. Scientific value

It has demonstrable potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of the natural or cultural history of Western Australia.

3.1 Importance for information contributing to a wider understanding of natural or cultural history by virtue of its use as a research site, teaching site, type locality, reference or benchmark site.

3.2 Importance for its potential to yield information contributing to a wider understanding of the history of human occupation of the locality, region or the State.

It is significant in demonstrating a high degree of technical innovation or achievement.

3.3 Importance for its technical innovation or achievement.

4. Social value

It is significant through association with a community or cultural group in Western Australia for social, cultural, educational or spiritual reasons.

4.1 Importance as a place highly valued by a community or cultural group for reasons of social, cultural; religious, spiritual, aesthetic or educational associations.

4.2 Importance in contributing to a community’s sense of place.

5. Rarity

It demonstrates rare, uncommon or endangered aspects of the cultural heritage of Western Australia.

5.1 Importance for rare, endangered or uncommon structures, landscapes or phenomena.

5.2 Importance in demonstrating a distinctive way of life, custom, process, land-use, function or design no longer practised in, or in danger of being lost from, or of exceptional interest to, the locality, region or the State.

6. Representativeness

It is significant in demonstrating the characteristics of a class of cultural places or environments in the State.

6.1 Importance in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a range of landscapes or environments, the attributes of which identify it as being characteristic of its class.

6.2 Importance in demonstrating the principal characteristic of the range of human activities (including way of life, philosophy, custom, process, land-use, function, design or technique) in the environment of the locality, region or the State.


The physical condition, integrity and authenticity of places are also taken into account in the assessment of cultural heritage significance. It is possible for a place of poor condition or integrity to be entered in the State Register where other values, such as historic or rarity values, are high. It is also possible for a place to be assessed as having only one of the above values to be entered in the State Register.


The Criteria and information above can be found on page 7 and 8 of the nomination form.


The day-to-day activities of administering the Act are undertaken by professional and administrative staff within the Office of Heritage. The staff maintain the State Register of Heritage Places, assess development applications, provide advice to the Council and the Minister for Heritage, run educational programs, promote heritage tourism, liaise with local governments, curate a library and more.


The Heritage Council provides a Regional Heritage Advisory Service to assist owners and local governments in the conservation of heritage listed places in regional areas. Regional Heritage Advisers can also provide advice on the proposed development of non-registered places.

Government heritage grant programs

The Heritage Grants Program aims to encourage private owners to conserve built places of cultural heritage significance.


Funds are available to assist private owners with conservation planning for places entered in the State’s Register of Heritage Places, or for places eligible for entry in the State Register, and for conservation works to places entered in the State’s Register of Heritage Places.


All persons and corporations are eligible to apply except State Government instrumentalities, local governments, and not-for-profit corporations that are eligible for Lotterywest funding. (Religious institutions, which demonstrate a conscientious objection to receiving funds from Lotterywest may also apply).


An applicant’s personal contribution to the work applied for will be taken into account. Lower priority will be given to movable heritage (unless an integral part of a place with heritage significance), reconstruction projects, and projects associated with relocation of or relocated buildings.


Work that has already been funded by other grants program may not be considered eligible, and applications for administrative costs and general maintenance works will also not be considered. Other ineligible projects and places include retrospective funding, educations activities, Municipal Inventory projects, natural heritage places, publications and acquisitions.


The Heritage Loan Subsidy Scheme is administered by the WA Local Government Association (WALGA) and the Heritage Council of WA. The scheme subsidies interest rates on loans for conservation works by 4%, offering owners significant savings. Loans can be arranged through the financial institution of the owner’s choice.


Conservation works undertaken through the scheme are wide-ranging, and may include works to verandahs, fencing, chimneys, tuck pointing and wall restoration.


To be eligible properties must be within a participating local government area and be listed on one of the followings lists, the local government heritage list, State Register of Heritage Place, Commonwealth Register of the National Estate or the National Trust’s List of Classified Places.


For further information regarding the scheme and a list of participating local governments, please visit Heritage Loan Subsidy Scheme.

Lotterywest heritage grant programs

Valuing Our State’s Heritage Grants support the care of important aspects of Western Australia’s heritage, recognising our State’s unique natural environment and heritage places, and acknowledging our diverse cultural identities.


These grants may support heritage proposals for:


Lotterywest’s Community Histories Grants aim to help communities record and share their history, as a way of maintaining their sense of identity and heritage. A project may record the history of people living in a particular place or may focus on a community of interest. It could look at a local theme or the local experience of a broader event or movement. The history of an organisation, activity or event that made a significant contribution to, or had a significant impact on, your community will also be considered. Grants can be considered towards the cost of research, writing, collation and production. We can also support the cost of obtaining professional advice to guide the early stages of the project.


Applicants will need to demonstrate that:


All applicants are encouraged to discuss their proposal with a member of our grants team.

Web page(s) and government agency addresses

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


Visit the Heritage Council’s home page, click on the links to the right of the logo, then the sub-menu tabs for further information.

The Heritage Council’s Financial assistance web page provides grant information.

To search the State heritage register visit the web page and click on either quick search or advanced search.

This web page explains the different lists including the Municipal Inventories.

For more information write to Heritage Council of Western Australia, PO Box 6201, East Perth WA 6892 or ring either (08) 9221 4177 or 1800 644 177.

Other statutory listings

Municipal Inventories are local council listings of buildings of heritage importance to the community. While local councils are required to prepare such a list, there are no statutory implications other than a requirement for the list to be sent to the Heritage Council for public information. Although the decision to enter a place into the Municipal Inventory rests with the local government authority, a prime objective of the process is to have the list prepared with public consultation and to achieve community consensus on the result. Places on the municipal inventory may be selected for inclusion in the town-planning scheme and may be eligible for entry in the Register of Heritage Places.


The Department of Indigenous Affairs maintains a Register of some 15,000 Aboriginal sites throughout Western Australia and aims to protect and maintain Aboriginal heritage and culture. As one of the few oldest living cultures on Earth, the culture of Aboriginal Australians is rich, complex and enduring. The wellbeing of Aboriginal people is connected to the land. DIA works with Aboriginal people to promote their culture and to protect and manage places and objects of significance to Aboriginal heritage. Visit the Heritage and culture web page for information about Indigenous heritage and culture, heritage management and resources. The web page Aboriginal heritage provides a definition on heritage.

Non-statutory registers

National Trust of Australia (WA) is the pre-eminent community based heritage organisation in Western Australia. Established through an act of parliament in 1959, and with a large and active membership, the National Trust plays a pivotal role in heritage education and advocacy as well as the management of heritage sites throughout WA. Their web page Valuing heritage has some interesting links. For more information about the Trust visit The Old Observatory, 4 Havelock St, West Perth Western Australia 6005, write to PO Box 1162, West Perth WA 6872, ring (08) 9321 6088 or send an email to

Other agencies and grants

Check with your local government authority for community grants, other relevant funding and what helpful publications they might have.