Protecting Heritage Places

10 steps to help protect the natural and cultural significance of places
Australian Heritage Commission, 2000

Step 4: Why is this place important? (continued)

Examples of heritage values

Many places can have both natural and cultural heritage values. A forested valley, or a coastal landscape or a wetland remnant and their ecological processes may be considered part of our natural heritage. These places may also contain evidence of past human activity and so they may also be part of our cultural heritage.

Different features of a place may have different types of significance. Various groups of people may also attach different importance to the same feature. Here are a few examples of different heritage values.

Natural heritage places and values

  • Remnant vegetation communities or areas that contain a variety of landscape types and ecosystem elements.
  • Places that are the habitat of a rare or threatened plant or animal species.
  • Undisturbed environments or environments demonstrating natural processes at work, for example, wetlands, wilderness areas, coastal estuaries or dune systems.
  • Geodiversity features such as fossil sites and geological outcrops, representative or rare soil types, hydrological and other earth processes.

Indigenous cultural heritage places and values

  • Places of spiritual importance to Indigenous people, for example, landscapes, seascapes and features associated with the Dreamtime or Ilan Kustom (Torres Strait Islands), events and places of special significance to Indigenous people such as ceremonial places, meeting places and places where people are buried and remembered.
  • Evidence of use by Indigenous people for activities such as extraction of raw materials, manufacture of stone tools or trading of materials.
  • Places associated with day-to-day living activities such as campsites, shell middens, hunting grounds or particular food collecting places.
  • Places of contact between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, for example, massacre sites, missions and reserves.

Historic cultural heritage places and values

  • Archaeological remains of buildings, for example the remains of First Government House in Sydney.
  • An architecturally and aesthetically important streetscape containing many individually important buildings
  • Places demonstrating ways of life, customs, land use or designs no longer practiced.
  • A landscape with a range of evidence related to a particular activity, for example, a mining site that includes miners' huts, the mine, poppet head, water races, sheds or Chinese gardens.
  • Places important in the community's history or as a part of local folklore, or associated with work or knowledge of country.