Australia’s heritage listing practices only evolved in the mid 1970s having followed the trajectory of certain international developments. By 1980, an ICOMOS publication noted that the concept of an isolated historic building (or ‘monument’) would need to be replaced by a recognition of the historic building being an intrinsic part of its setting or of a group of buildings belonging to a neighborhood. Out of this developed the notion of ‘conservation areas’ which take in whole neighbourhoods or towns as part a recognition that such area contain intrinsic uniqueness and special qualities making them worthy of protection.
The concept of a ‘heritage site’ has expanded to include historic gardens and cultural landscapes. Vernacular and industrial buildings are commonly included in the panoply of heritage types. A broader range of disciplines contribute to our understanding of cultural heritage.
Listing of heritage items is now an accepted means by communities, governments and corporations to protect endangered historic heritage places against unsympathetic development and change. This is reflected in the formation of a wide range of official and non-official listing authorities including local, state and nation governments as well the National Trust of Australia. These in turn are supported by a myriad of concerned historical societies and precinct communities who take an active interest in the likely impact that any new development might have upon them (Rappoport,2010
|Nation-wide, Australia has approximately 150,000 listed items including Federal, Territory, State and locally listed items. More than 90% of these is privately owned.|