What is Heritage?

1. What is Heritage?

By definition heritage is something that is transmitted from the past or handed down by tradition. This very broad definition can extend to buildings, archaeological sites, sites of important events, ruins, cemeteries, shipwrecks, trees, landscapes, gardens and precincts.

Mornington Peninsula Shire Council is responsible for managing many forms of ‘heritage’. The information on this page relates only to places that are protected by Heritage Overlays in the local planning scheme. This generally means places that are part of the Peninsula’s history since European settlement. It includes buildings and other structures, gardens, historic sites, and a small number of historic trees.

For information on natural heritage (bushland reserves, natural features and the like) please visit our section on Bushland Reserves 

2. Aboriginal Heritage

Aboriginal Heritage on the Peninsula is overseen by the following public authorities: 

  • The Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation is a Registered Aboriginal Party and incorporated association representing the descendants of the Boon Wurrung Aboriginal people. The Land Council covers the former Boon Wurrung traditional lands along the eastern side of Port Phillip Bay, including Mornington Peninsula, Western Port and South Gippsland. The Bunurong Land Council provides cultural heritage and environmental land management advice and is the approval body for Cultural Heritage Management Plans.
  •  Aboriginal heritage matters are often referred to Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council or assessed using the tools their website provides.

To find out more about aboriginal history of the Shire, we recommend the Fossil Beach Cement Works Heritage Study (Biosis, 2011) as an interesting and informative read. 

Download: (PDF, 4MB)Fossil Beach Cement Works Heritage Study Biosis 2011(PDF, 4MB)


3. The Heritage Overlay

Heritage places are listed in the Heritage Overlay of the planning scheme.

In essence, listing in the Heritage Overlay means that permit approval is required for demolition and for external changes to the appearance of the place. Depending on the nature of the heritage place the controls could extend to vegetation removal, external painting and changes to the interior.

As with any permit application, parties dissatisfied with the Shire’s decision may appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. If the heritage place is included in the Victorian Heritage Register approval is required through Heritage Victoria.

To check if a property is listed in the Heritage Overlay refer the Schedule to the Heritage Overlay (Schedule is ordered alphabetically by street name) and the Mornington Peninsula Planning Scheme Maps.

For information on applying for a planning permit, please refer to our section Planning Forms, Fees & Checklists 

If you require assistance in submitting a planning permit application for a heritage place, please contact the Shire's Heritage Planner on 5950 1953.

Owners of a heritage place are strongly advised to speak to our Heritage Planner before lodging an application.


4. Other Heritage Listings

Victorian Heritage Register

Places of State significance are listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. This applies to a limited number of places on the Mornington Peninsula. All of these places also have a Heritage Overlay (local planning control) applied.

Alteration or development of a property on the Victorian Heritage Register requires a heritage permit issued by Heritage Victoria (part of the current planning department in State Government).

Council planning staff can confirm for you if a place is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register but you must obtain the permit through Heritage Victoria.

A Council planning permit is not required unless there are other overlays or provisions applying to the site. Contact Statutory Planning on 5950 1010 to determine if a planning permit is required.

Find more about the VHR on the following web page: https://heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/heritage-protection/levels-of-protection/

The National Trust Heritage Register 

The National Trust is a largest community-based heritage advocacy organisation actively working towards conserving and protecting our heritage for future generations to enjoy.

It is an independent and privately funded organisation that operates many historic properties which are open to the public.

The National Trust Heritage Register includes all types of cultural and natural heritage, including buildings, trees, landscapes, gardens, public art,  pipe organs…

To find out more about the Trust, follow this link: https://www.nationaltrust.org.au/vic/

Where can I find the listings?

The most comprehensive heritage database is Victorian Heritage Database.

It includes:

  • Places on the Victorian Heritage Register
  • Places and objects classified by the National Trust
  • Places and objects included in the Victorian War Heritage inventory

You can find and explore the Victorian Heritage Database on the following link: http://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/