Protecting Heritage Places
10 steps to help protect the natural and cultural significance of places
Australian Heritage Commission, 2000
Australian Natural Heritage Charter: A voluntary charter first published in 1997 which sets out principles, processes and standards for the conservation of natural heritage places. The Australian Natural Heritage Charter: Standards and Principles for the Conservation of Places of Cultural Significance, is administered by the Australian Committee for IUCN, along with the accompanying volume Natural Heritage Places Handbook: Applying the Australian Natural Heritage Charter to Conserve Places of Natural Significance.
Burra Charter: A voluntary charter first published in 1979 that sets out principles, processes and standards for the conservation of the cultural environment. Its full title is The Burra Charter: The Australia ICOMOS Charter for the conservation of places of cultural significance. A revised version of the charter was released in 1999. It is administered by Australia ICOMOS.
Community:There are many sorts of communities: local communities - the people who live in an area; ethnic communities - people who identify with a particular ethnic or cultural background; special interest communities - people who share an interest in a particular activity; and so on. Different communities may value particular aspects of heritage.
Compatible use: A use which involves no change to the culturally significant fabric, changes which are substantially reversible, or changes which require minimal impact.
Conservation: All the processes of looking after a place to retain its heritage significance. Specific terms defining types of conservation actions are included in the Burra Charter and the Australian Natural Heritage Charter. While these charters use similar terms, the meanings differ slightly between the two charters.
Conservation analysis: Part of a conservation plan, which covers the steps of describing the place, identifying interests, gathering information and assessing significance
Conservation plan: A document which details how to look after the natural and/or cultural significant heritage values of a place. It can be part of a broader management plan.
Consultation: A process of discussion between those proposing a course of action and those likely to be affected by those actions
Cultural landscape: The way in which perceptions, beliefs, stories, experiences and practices give shape, form and meaning to the landscape.
Cultural significance: means aesthetic, historic, scientific, social or spiritual value for past, present or future generations. (Burra Charter -The Australia ICOMOS Charter for the Conservation of Places of Cultural Significance, 1999)
Documentation: Written, visual, audio and even electronic information about a place.
Fabric: means all the physical material of the place including components, fixtures, contents and objects.
Geodiversity: The range of earth features including geological, geomorphological, palaeontological, soil, hydrological and atmospheric features, systems and earth processes.
Heritage: Our natural and cultural inheritance.
Heritage Inventory: A preliminary list of places with potential or known heritage significance that require documenting, assessing and, if appropriate, entering in a heritage register.
Heritage place: Natural and cultural environments that are of special value for the present community and for future generations. It might be a site, area, region, building or other structure (together with associated contents and surroundings) that has heritage value.
History: The study of the human past. Pre-contact history refers to the period before the arrival of Europeans in Australia, and post-contact history refers to the history after the arrival of Europeans in Australia.
ICOMOS: The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) is a professional non-government conservation organisation concerned with the care of places of cultural significance. ICOMOS (International) is affiliated to UNESCO, and advises it on World Heritage matters. Australia ICOMOS has produced the Burra Charter and associated guidelines.
Indigenous heritage: For Indigenous people, the significance of a place is the spiritual, social, historic or other values which the place holds for communities or groups within the community. It may also include the research value of the place. (Draft Guidelines for the Protection, Management, and Use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Heritage Places, 1997)
Interpretation: Interpretation is a means of communicating ideas and feelings which help people enrich their understanding and appreciation of their world and their role within it.
IUCN: International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (World Conservation Union) is an international body concerned with the conservation of natural environments. The Australian Committee for IUCN administers the Australian Natural Heritage Charter.
Maintenance means the continuous protective care of a place (see specific definitions contained within the heritage conservation charters).
Management: Management of a place involves making conscious choices about what happens to the place and taking action to make those things happen. It should ensure that the cultural significance of the place is retained.
Management plan: A document which details how to look after the natural and cultural heritage and non-heritage features of a place. It may contain a conservation plan and/or its components.
Monitoring means the ongoing review, evaluation and assessment to detect changes in condition of the integrity of a place, with reference to a baseline condition.
Natural heritage: A place of natural heritage significance may have ecosystems, biological diversity and geodiversity which are important for their existence or intrinsic value, or for present or future Australians in terms of their scientific, social, aesthetic and life support value. (Australian Natural Heritage Charter: Standards and principles for the conservation of places of natural heritage significance, 1996)
Natural significance: The importance of ecosystems, biological diversity and geodiversity for their existence or intrinsic value, or for present or future generations in terms of their scientific, social, aesthetic and life support value.
Place: Site, area, land, landscape, building or other work, group of buildings or other works, and may include components, contents, spaces and views.
Protection means taking care of a place by maintenance and by managing impacts to ensure that significance is retained.
Research: Systematic investigation or study to gain information about a place.
Significance: Heritage value (see cultural significance, natural significance, above)
State of the Environment: The Commonwealth Government has established a system of State of the Environment reporting which helps Australia meet its international obligations under the Agenda 21 and OECD environment performance reviews. The first independent and comprehensive assessment of Australia's environment, Australia: State of the Environment was released in 1996.
Statement of significance: A set of words explaining simply why a place has value in heritage terms.