Thematic studies

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the Act) requires the Australian Heritage Council to prepare and provide to the Minister a proposed list of places that it recommends as a priority for assessment for both the National and Commonwealth Heritage Lists.

In order to develop these priority assessment lists, the Council commissions studies by independent experts on key themes relating to Australia's national heritage. These thematic studies are designed to assist in raising public awareness of Australia's special heritage places and to help Council in identifying places for possible future consideration for inclusion in the National and Commonwealth Heritage Lists.

Current studies

Thematic studies that are underway or nearing completion include:

Thematic Study Overview of Study
Australia’s Urban Planning
By Professor Robert Freestone
Little of Australia has not been planned. Its numerous cultural landscapes are products of a range of rational intentions, even if blinkered on occasion.
This manuscript provides a history of Australian urban planning as shaped by broader forces such as economics, urban and social development, and technological change.
It covers the major design ideas and paradigms that have influenced over two centuries of Australian urban planning and design.
The Places of Politics: The Buildings of Australian Democracy
By Professor John Hirst
This study by renowned historian Professor John Hirst follows the creation and operation of a democracy through the buildings and places where politics happened. It deals with protests, elections, law-making and governing in all its aspects.
Filled with interesting anecdotes the book examines a range of sites with some of the buildings well known – like government houses and parliament houses – and others we pass without knowing that in the past they were sites of important political struggles.
Inspirational Landscapes
By Chris Johnston
The manuscript explores eight types of inspirational landscapes: sacred, cultural, contemplative, inspired, powerful, stories, uncommon and defining images, and creative expression.
From Segregation to Assimilation  
Karsts and Pseudokarsts  

Future priorities

Agreed priority areas for future thematic studies include:

Theme study:

  • Heritage rivers
  • Islands of Australia
  • Migration
  • Spiritual life
  • Government institutions
  • Communications facilities
  • Geoheritage