Learn About Heritage


Preserving Ballarat's Heritage Strategy

The Preserving Ballarat's Heritage Strategy outlines positive initiatives and actions that Council is undertaking, in partnership with the community, to assist owners of heritage properties preserve an important part of Ballarat’s identity.

The strategy was earmarked in the Council Plan 2009-13 to minimise the incidence of ‘demolition by neglect’ and encourage conservation of heritage buildings.

In 2011, the Heritage Council of Victoria awarded the City of Ballarat the Heritage Council Award in recognition of the city's outstanding and innovative heritage strategy, "Preserving Ballarat's Heritage"

In 2010, the Victorian Division of Australia's peak planning professional organisation, the Planning Institute of Australia, has recognised the quality of the City of Ballarat's work with an award for planning excellence in Heritage for the"Preserving Ballarat's Heritage" strategy.

Click here to download a summary of the Preserving Ballarat's Heritage Strategy (182KB).
Click here to download the full version of the Preserving Ballarat's Heritage Strategy (261KB).

What is Heritage? Top of document.

Heritage is something that gives us a sense of place and informs us about who we are and how our society has developed over time. Heritage can be something valued by a single person or it can be part of a wider group's sense of identity and character.

The Burra Charter provides the methodological basis for the assessment and management of heritage places.

Heritage can be related to:

  • Individuals (personal heritage)
  • families
  • groups like schools or sporting clubs
  • a place and its people

A heritage place could include a site, area, building, group of buildings, structure, archaeological site, tree, garden, geological formation, fossil site, habitat or other natural or cultural significance and its associated land.  It may be significant for scientific, aesthetic, architectural or historical reasons or for any other special cultural value.

Heritage is something that is passed down through the generations. When we think about Ballarat's history, stories and buildings we call it cultural heritage.  In launching the Victorian Heritage Strategy, the then Premier of Victoria, The Hon Steve Bracks made the following statement which describes the range of aspects covered by the term "heritage".

"Victoria has a wonderfully rich and diverse heritage.  It comprises many different layers of history and meaning, from magnificent natural wilderness areas to rich Aboriginal traditions past and present, as well as the places created by early settlers and recent migrants from varied backgrounds and locations. Our heritage is a precious and diverse tapestry which Victorians celebrate and enjoy in many different ways.

Victoria's heritage is more than just places; objects, collections, records and stories also comprise our heritage.  Heritage includes the traditions, celebrations and special local characteristics that build community pride. Heritage can create opportunities for cultural enrichment and it is a significant factor in attracting visitors and tourists to our State.

Heritage is about identity - the past contributes to our sense of who we are today and is an important factor in determining our future aspirations.  Heritage places and collections open a window between the past and the future and enable us to unlock stories and connect with traditions and celebrations that we may otherwise know little about. Heritage can help us to experience a little of others' lives.  Our shared heritage can help us understand the richness and complexity of our identity as Victorians, as well as that of our own local communities."

Education Kit Top of document.

In 2006 City of Ballarat produced an education kit for upper primary school children. The kit consists of a CD with seven powerpoint slide presentations on the following topics:

  • Overview of heritage
  • Examples of Heritage
  • Uses of heritage buildings
  • Skills used in heritage
  • Examples of unusual heritage places
  • Culture school work and medicine
  • Life at the time

The Heritage Education Kit is available to schools free of charge on the HUL Ballarat website.

Galleries/Museums Top of document.

Ballarat has a wide range of heritage sites and collections for locals and visitors to visit that our history was shaped by gold and Eureka but extends beyond that era. Heritage events as well as museums and galleries play an important role in telling the story of Ballarat and its people.

Heritage opportunities in Ballarat include historical societies, the Art Gallery of Ballarat, Gold Museum, Ballarat Mechanics Institute, Sovereign Hill, Eureka Centre, Ballarat Tram Museum, Ballarat and Buninyong Botanical Gardens, Ballarat aerodrome its museums, Sturt Street Gardens, the Australiana collection at the Central Highlands Library and Her Majesty's theatre.

Visitors and residents alike can access many heritage sites and objects whilst wandering through the central business area. There are events such as theBallarat Heritage Weekend or the Central Highlands Historical Association Expo where other sites are open to the public, tours are run, talks presented and publications available for purchase.

This section provides information and links to heritage tourism and event opportunities in Ballarat.

Links to Historical Associations and Museums

Some of the galleries, museums and collections, events and tourism information available is listed below under the categories of Galleries and Museums; Events and Tourist Information. Links to external webpages are provided where available.  Researching Heritage has information on how you can research heritage buildings or family history.

Galleries and Museums

Links to tourism information