Australian heritage is all the things that make up our identity. It is our unique landscapes, historic buildings, and the stories of our past (DAWE, 2021). Under the WA Heritage Act 2018, a heritage place is an identifiable area of land which may include archaeological remains, an area of untouched natural environment, a historic building or structure, or an area of cultural significance.

Heritage Listings

Heritage places can be recorded under many different heritage listing frameworks. Statutory listings are issued by government organisations and may provide legal protection, while other places may be listed under unofficial or semi-official designations, often arising from local or community-based surveys (DPLH, 2021). This insight focuses on the different types of heritage listings and their level of protection.

Table of Heritage Listing Types

List of Overseas Places of Historic Significance to Australia

The List of Overseas Places of Historic Significance (LOPHSA) recognises sites of outstanding historical significance to Australia outside of the Australian jurisdiction. The LOPHSA was established by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 on January 1 2007. Although not within Australia, this list includes three places that tell a story of the most significant parts of Australia’s history. These include:

  • Anzac Cove, Gallipoli
  • Kokoda Track, Papua New Guinea
  • Howard Florey’s Laboratory, Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, UK

With this new list, Australia can recognise and celebrate those overseas places of greatest importance to the development of our nation in a way that is respectful of the rights and sovereignty of other nations (DAWE, 2021).

Brown's River Historic Significance
Battalions crossing Brown’s River
Source: National Museum Australia (NMA, 2021)

World Heritage

World Heritage sites belong to everyone, irrespective of where they are located around the world. The World Heritage Convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) aims to promote cooperation among nations to protect heritage worldwide. World heritage sites have been nominated by UNESCO for having cultural, historical, scientific or another form of significance that is of outstanding universal value. Australia currently has 20 properties on the World Heritage List (DAWE, 2021).

World Heritage Uluru
Uluru (Tourism NT, 2021)
Source: Australia’s Northern Territory

National and Commonwealth Heritage

The Australian Heritage Council is the primary adviser to the Australian Government on heritage matters, including nominations for the National Heritage List and the Commonwealth Heritage List (DAWE, 2021). Both lists are protected under the EPBC Act. Approval is required to be obtained before any action takes place that could have a significant impact on the national heritage values of a listed place.

  • National heritage list: The National Heritage List comprises natural, historic and Indigenous places of outstanding heritage value and contributes to Australia’s national identity (DAWE, 2021).
  • Commonwealth Heritage List: The Commonwealth Heritage List is a list of natural, historic and Indigenous places of heritage significance specifically owned or controlled by the Australian Government (DAWE, 2021).

Heritage Council of WA

State Register of Heritage Places

The State Register of Heritage Places is a comprehensive list of places representing Western Australia’s history (Heritage Council, 2019). Due to the high cultural heritage significance, places included in the State Register are protected by the Western Australian Heritage Act 2018. Information about heritage places in Western Australia can be found at inHerit.

Protection order

Protection Orders are issued under the Heritage Act 2018 (WA) by the Minister for Heritage to provide special protection to places of cultural heritage significance within Western Australia. Notices and orders may be issued to heritage property owners to ensure our heritage places are adequately protected from damage or neglect (DPLH, 2021).

Heritage agreement

The Heritage Council of WA or another public authority may enter into a Heritage Agreement with a landowner on behalf of the State. The lands to which a heritage agreement may relate includes a registered place, a place that is the subject of a protection order, a place included in a heritage list or heritage area under a local planning scheme, or any other place the Heritage Council has approved necessary for a heritage agreement. The agreement may authorise planning approval subject to commitments and obligations regarding conservation of the land or other concessions granted to the owner.

Local Heritage Surveys

The Heritage Act 2018 (WA) requires each Local Government to identify places that are, or that might become, of cultural heritage significance. This list of places is known as a local heritage survey (LHS), while previously referred to as local heritage inventories or municipal inventories. The LHS has no direct statutory role in respect of the Planning and Development Act 2005 (WA) and therefore has minimal influence on the decision-making for development proposals (Heritage Council, 2019). However, places added to the LHS are assigned a level of significance, with those places at a higher level being subject to planning controls:

Table of Level of Significance to the Local Area

Ultimately the Local Government will determine the level of control that will be implemented for places listed under the LHS.

Other Heritage Groups

Many other national heritage organisations compile their own lists of heritage places, including the Australian Council of National Trusts (ACNT) and the Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology (AIMA).  As these are non-government organisations, they do not offer legal protection for heritage places (Heritage Council, 2019).

The ACNT has been assessing and Classifying places since the late 1960s.  There are currently over 1700 Classified items on the list, including buildings, cemeteries, natural landscapes, geological monuments, and railway vehicles. The ACNT works to promote and conserve Australia’s indigenous, natural and historic heritage  (National Trust, 2021).

The AIMA is based in Australia and sponsors the preservation of underwater cultural heritage throughout Australia, Asia, and the Indian and Pacific Ocean regions (AIMA, 2021).

Amphibious Tractor
Amphibious Tractor
Source: Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology (AIMA, 2021)

Our team at Integrate Sustainability develops procedures and plans to assist with managing and preserving heritage sites. If you require assistance with heritage matters, please contact us via or phone 9468 0338.


AIMA. (2021, Noevmeber 11). Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology. Retrieved from Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology:

DAWE. (2021, November 8). Australian Heritage Council. Retrieved from Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment:

DAWE. (2021, November 8). Australia’s World Heritage. Retrieved from Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment:

DAWE. (2021, August 17). Heritage. Retrieved from Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment:

DAWE. (2021, November 5). Heritage Places and Lists. Retrieved from Department of Agriculture Water and the Environment:

DAWE. (2021, August 20). List of Overseas Places of Historic Significance to Australia. Retrieved from Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment:

DPLH. (2021, November 11). Heritage Protection and Repair Orders and Notices. Retrieved from

DPLH. (2021, August 19). The State Register and other heritage listings. Retrieved from

Heritage Council. (2019, July). Guidelines for Local Heritage Surveys. Retrieved from

Heritage Council. (2019, June). State Register of Heritage Places. Retrieved from Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage :

Heritage Council. (2019, July). The State Register and other heritage listings. Retrieved from

National Trust. (2021, August 20). Heritage Register WA. Retrieved from National Trust:

NMA. (2021, August 31). Defining Moments: Kokoda Trail. Retrieved from National Museum Australia:

Summit Bunbury. (2021, November 12). Historic Bunbury Building . Retrieved from Summit Realty South West:

Tourism NT. (2021, November 12). Uluru region guide. Retrieved from Australia’s Northern Territory: