While Australia may lack the narrow cobbled streets of medieval England, grand palaces of the French Renaissance and the painted frescos of Italy; we still have a rich history which comes with its own heritage and cultural values.

What is Australia’s Heritage?

Heritage is all the things, such as places, buildings, artefacts, stories and landscapes, that make up our identity (DoEE 2018).  Our heritage is a legacy from the past and is an integral part in defining who we are as a nation and the stories, places and objects we pass on to future generations (DoEE 2018).

WA Heritage

York Post Office, WA – State Registered Place

With European settlement there came buildings, places, stories and events which defined Australia and are components of our heritage.  However, indigenous heritage is also a component of Australian heritage and is a defining feature of us as a nation, whether we identify as Aboriginal or not.

Both Indigenous and European influenced places, sites, buildings and objects are listed on National and State heritage registers and are equally deserving of protection, restoration and passing on to future generations.

Protecting Australia’s Heritage
Heritage Place

Purnululu National Park, WA – World Heritage Place

Places which are deemed to have outstanding significance to the Nation are listed on the National Heritage List; this list includes ‘European and indigenous heritage places (DoEE 2018).  These places are protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (DoEE 2018).  In Western Australia, the Heritage Council establish and maintain a list of heritage places and provide advice to the State Government on Heritage Matters (Heritage Council 2018).  European heritage places on this register are protected under the Heritage of Western Australia Act 1990.  In Western Australia, indigenous heritage places are protected under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 (DPLH 2018).

In addition, the National Trusts are the leading conservation organisations which act to protect and reinstate aspects of heritage.  The National Trusts comprise of eight community based, non-government, not-for-profit organisations.

Celebrating Australia’s Heritage & Culture

Australian Heritage FestivalEach year across April and May The National Trusts hold the Australian Heritage Festival.  This is a national event which runs for 4 weeks with the aim of bringing together events across the nation to celebrate, learn and share Australian heritage and culture (The National Trusts 2019).  Events include song and dance, guided tours of properties, towns, places and spaces, exhibitions, workshops, storytelling and art (The National Trusts 2019).  The theme for 2019 is ‘Connecting People, Places and the Past’ with events focusing on telling the diverse stories and experiences which make up our communities (The National Trusts 2019).  A full list of events happening by State is available on the National Trust website.

Download PDF: ISPL Insight – Australian Heritage Festival


Connors Mill WACity of Fremantle. 2019. Australian Heritage Festival. April 18. Accessed April 18, 2019. https://www.fremantle.wa.gov.au/whats-on/australian-heritage-festival.

DoEE. 2018. About Australia’s Heritage. Accessed April 14, 2019. https://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/about.

DPLH. 2018. Aboriginal Heritage. 11 22. Accessed April 15, 2019. https://www.dplh.wa.gov.au/information-and-services/aboriginal-heritage.

Heritage Council. 2018. Who we are. 06 21. Accessed April 15, 2019. http://www.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/about-us/who-we-are.

The National Trusts. 2019. Australian Heritage Festival. Accessed April 15, 2019. https://www.nationaltrust.org.au/ahf/.