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Below are some of your frequently asked heritage questions. You can also contact our Planning Department for free heritage advice from our Heritage Advisor on 5434 6355.
Cultural heritage is the shared inheritance of a community. A heritage place could be a building or a road, a bridge or a landscape. It might be a garden or a mine shaft, a lamppost or a cathedral. Heritage can be grand and beautiful, but it can be simple and austere just the same. It can be physical objects that can be seen and touched, both immovable and moveable, and it can be intangible as well – such as stories or dances of a community.
Heritage is the places that are important to a community. There are many reasons why a place could be important. It could be the site of an historical event. It could be a proud building, showing off the wealth and grandeur of ages, or it could be a rare survivor of old, showing where a community came from and where it might be going.
Cultural heritage plays a vital role in any community and it is important for that community to protect it.
Heritage helps shape community identity and local pride. It creates a sense of place that enables us today to get a impression of the past. Protecting heritage promotes environmental responsibility and cues economic development. And among many other things, it provides a learning experience for our children – things may happen but if those before us were able to survive, so can we.
A heritage place could include a site, area, building, group of buildings, structure, road, archaeological site, tree, garden, geological formation, fossil site, landscape, or other place of natural or cultural significance and its associated land. Heritage places are considered to be of World, National, State or Local significance.
In the past, the concept of heritage was traditionally associated with grand or beautiful buildings such as churches, mansions and Victorian era public buildings. However, it is now recognised that these types of buildings represent only one aspect of the history of an area and there are often other types of heritage places that are equally important.
Heritage places can include buildings or sites that may be simple or plain in appearance. They may even be considered unattractive. It is important to remember that the significance of places does not have to lie in their beauty. People individually and collectively create meaningful relationships to places through life and interaction. A school recital, a first date, a business deal, all happened in a place, and it is often those connections that are important.
Industrial and archaeological sites are two examples of places that may not always be visually appealing but nonetheless may be significant. They represent a key part of the Shire’s history and could have information that helps us in understanding our past. This could be in relation to building techniques, like a rare surviving example of construction displaying hand-wrought timber framing, or as an early aspect of our history, such as lone pioneer grave sites.
The primary instrument Councils use to achieve protection of heritage places is by applying a Heritage Overlay within their local planning scheme. The Heritage Overlay is a type of planning control that requires property owners to get a planning permit for certain works.
As stated in the Burra Charter, the pre-eminent document on best practice heritage conservation in Australia, “places of cultural significance enrich people’s lives, often providing a deep and inspirational sense of connection to community and landscape, to the past and to lived experiences. They are historical records, that are important as tangible expressions of Australian identity and experience. Places of cultural significance reflect the diversity of our communities, telling us about who we are and the past that has formed us and the Australian landscape. They are irreplaceable and precious.” (Australia ICOMOS)
There are many other reasons why we protected our heritage places:
Moreover, Council protects heritage, simply, because it has to. As identified in the Planning and Environment Act 1987, all local Councils have a responsibility ‘to conserve and enhance those buildings, areas or other places which are of scientific, aesthetic, architectural or historical interest, or otherwise of special cultural value’. Municipalities have a responsibility to the community at large, not any single developer be they a multi-national corporation or a rate payer seeking to double their lot. A property may belong to an owner, but heritage belongs to the whole community.
Please see the Heritage Studies FAQ for more information
The Planning Scheme of each municipality guides development through the use of policies, zones, overlays and provisions. A Heritage Overlay is one of the many mechanisms used to achieve a desired outcome for a city. Places within a Heritage Overlay usually require additional planning permits for proposed works to ensure that heritage places are protected and new works maintain the significance of a heritage place.
The primary purpose of the Heritage Overlay is to protect the heritage significance of a place. Because of that, additional planning permits are required for certain works. Change to a heritage place can occur but the objective is to ensure that the change is appropriate to the significance, character and appearance of the heritage place.
Please see the Heritage Overlay FAQ for more information
Heritage places of State significance are listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. The Heritage Council and Heritage Victoria are responsible for maintaining this register and issuing heritage permits under the Heritage Act (1995). Heritage Victoria also maintains a register of non-Aboriginal archaeological sites in the Heritage Inventory. Any works that may affect an archaeological site (older than fifty years) must first be approved by Heritage Victoria. Further information is available from Heritage Victoria at www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/heritage.
The National Trust of Autralia (Vic) is a community organisation that works towards preserving and protecting heritage places. The identification and classification of heritage places by the National Trust does not constitute legal recognition of their significance. Although the National Trust plays an important role in advocating for heritage protection, it is not responsible for issuing heritage or planning permits. Further information is available from www.nattrust.com.au.
Generally, the Heritage Overlay does not provide protection for Aboriginal heritage sites. Broad protection of Aboriginal heritage is provided under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006. Further information is available from Aboriginal Affairs Victoria at www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/indigenous or on 1800 762 003.
A small sample of what is available at the Bendigo Goldfields Library
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Updated: 3:35 PM, 7 August 2012
195-229 Lyttleton Terrace
Bendigo Victoria 3550
PO Box 733
Bendigo Victoria 3552
Telephone: (+61 3) 5434 6000
Fax: (+61 3) 5434 6200
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