About Australia's heritage

About Australia's heritage

Heritage includes places, values, traditions, events and experiences that capture where we've come from, where we are now and gives context to where we are headed as a community.

Our heritage gives us understanding and conveys the stories of our development as a nation, our spirit and ingenuity, and our unique, living landscapes. Heritage is an inheritance that helps define our future.

By identifying, protecting and managing our heritage we are conserving a valuable asset and ensuring that those places will continue to be experienced and enjoyed by future generations.

Our heritage is managed by various levels of government and peak bodies that identify and list places for their heritage values. Significant heritage places are identified and grouped (by type) into lists that guide the protection and management of heritage values.

World heritage

Find out about Australia's world heritage places. The World Heritage List identifies heritage that is of outstanding universal value.

National heritage

Find out about Australia's national heritage, comprising natural and cultural places of outstanding heritage value to the nation.

Indigenous heritage

Indigenous heritage is an important part of Australian heritage. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a long historical and ongoing link with the land.

Commonwealth heritage

Commonwealth Heritage comprises natural, Indigenous and historic heritage places on Commonwealth lands and waters or under Australian Government control.

Historic shipwrecks

More than 6500 historic shipwrecks lie beyond Australia's shores. Each has a unique story and an important place in our heritage.

Movable cultural heritage

Objects that people create or collect can be an important part of our cultural heritage and must be protected from illegal sale and export.

Overseas places of historic significance

Overseas sites that have a special place in Australia's history are symbolically recognised on the List of Overseas Places of Historic Significance to Australia (LOPHSA).

State, territory and local lists

Australia's states and territories maintain lists or registers of heritage places that have particular importance to the people who reside there.

How is heritage protected?

Find out about the many government and private sector organisations and resources available to help protect Australia's heritage places.

Heritage economics

The value of heritage and questions of how and when the economic costs and benefits of heritage can be quantified and integrated into decision making remains a challenge for government. In October 2007 the department hosted a workshop, The economics of heritage Integrating the costs and benefits of heritage into government decision making, to explore ways to improve how costs and benefits are taken into account when heritage decisions are made.

Sydney Opera House.


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