The Heritage Council of Victoria (HCV) and the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council (VAHC) are working together to ensure our heritage systems better reflect a holistic view of Victoria’s history.
Traditionally, our systems of heritage recognition and management have separated places with ‘Aboriginal’ and ‘non-Aboriginal’ values. However, the Councils recognise that many places hold significant history to both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, and very often this history is a shared one. For example, places of early contact, exchange, conflict and interaction between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people do not fit neatly into either the Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal system.
A more inclusive approach would seek to recognise that every place in Victoria has an Aboriginal history, and acknowledge places with a shared history, recognising that stories and memory about events and places may sometimes be divergent or conflicting.
What are we doing?
The two Councils have commenced a Shared Heritage Project.
As the first part of this project, the two Councils have been working to ensure cultural heritage values of significance to Aboriginal people and other Victorians are accurately described in the Victorian Heritage Register (VHR).
Why are we doing this?
Both Councils believe that an understanding of shared values is fundamental to the protection of Victoria’s heritage and that the Aboriginal and shared cultural heritage values that exist in many places throughout the State should be better recognised in the Victorian Heritage Register.
What has the Project achieved so far?
To date, our Shared Heritage Project has:
• developed a framework to assist in identifying places in Victoria with Aboriginal and shared heritage values;
• established a method for documenting Aboriginal and shared heritage values through research and engagement with relevant Aboriginal people;
• created an extensive bibliography of primary and secondary sources to support assessment of places with Aboriginal and shared heritage values.
As a result of this work, two places have now been added to the VHR recognising their Aboriginal, non-Aboriginal, and shared values.
Selected Project Documents
Below are the Registration Reports for the first places added to the VHR using the method we have developed for documenting Aboriginal and shared heritage values.
The Thematic Framework augments Victoria’s Framework of Historical Themes.
We welcome your feedback on these documents.
This Framework is a working document and may be updated.
Please note that this is a working document and may be updated.