Indigo Shire is renowned for its natural beauty and preserved historic character. Throughout the Shire are a number of places of both State and National Heritage significance. The shire is made up of a collection of historic towns dating back to the gold rush era and boasts a diverse range of attractions including built heritage, significant natural landscape features and Koori cultural heritage sites.

Planning is an essential resource in the conservation of heritage features within the Shire and seeks to ensure these places are protected. The maintenance and enhancement of built and cultural heritage is not only important on a social and environmental basis, it also serves as a vital economic base for the Shire's tourism industry.


What is heritage?

A heritage place can be a site, area, land, landscape, building(s) or other work, memorials, trees, gardens, parks, places of historical events, urban areas, towns, industrial places, archaeological sites and spiritual and religious places.

Cultural heritage significance means a place with aesthetic, historic, scientific, social or spiritual value for past, present or future generations.

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Identifying heritage places

All municipalities contain heritage places. Local councils have a role to play in identifying and protecting places of heritage significance. Most local heritage places are identified through a municipal heritage study, carried out by an experienced heritage consultant.

During the initial stages of the study, the community and local historical societies are encouraged to nominate sites and places of potential heritage significance. A nominated place then undergoes a heritage assessment to determine if it is of local or State significance and therefore warrants statutory heritage protection.

Indigo Shire’s Heritage Overlay contains over 800 sites and precincts and was informed by the Indigo Shire Heritage Study (Stage 1) Vols. 1 & 2 1998 and the Indigo Shire Heritage Study (Stage 2) 2002 which followed studies carried out by the former Beechworth, Rutherglen, Yackandandah and Chiltern Shires.

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What house is that?

The Heritage Council of Victoria has created an enlarged, interactive online version of its 2007 "What house is that?" booklet, featuring interviews with architects, historians and residents, and a

social history of Victoria's housing and the development of our suburbs.

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Protection of Heritage Places

In the Indigo Planning Scheme, local heritage places are protected through the Heritage Overlay, which requires a planning permit to alter a heritage place.

Importantly, the Heritage Overlay does not preclude development; it simply makes sure that any new works do not adversely affect the heritage significance of the place.

In August 1979, the Burra Charter was adopted by the Australian National Committee of International Committee of Monuments and Sites. This charter provides guidance for the identification, conservation and management of places with cultural heritage significance.

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What is a heritage overlay?

A Heritage Overlay seeks to conserve and enhance the fabric and culture of a heritage place or item. Heritage sites are identified and protected in two ways - by a heritage overlay applied to an individual site, building or object or by a heritage overlay applied to a broader precinct area.

Some individual heritage overlays can have controls that require you to get a planning permit to make changes inside a building, paint a building and to remove, destroy, prune or lop a tree on the site.

Some heritage sites do not have their own individual heritage overlay. Instead they are identified and protected within a heritage overlay control that applies over a wider precinct area that may include all the houses in a street or group of streets.

A heritage precinct overlay can also include places with no individual heritage value. These places have a heritage overlay so that new development on them protects the heritage significance of the whole precinct.

Council has heritage studies that record the heritage significance of the heritage precincts as well as individual places.

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Does my property have a heritage overlay?

The Indigo Planning Scheme online lists all individually listed heritage sites and all properties in a heritage precinct overlay. You can also obtain a free property report to see if your home or building is a heritage site or is located in a heritage precinct overlay.


External Links

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Developing a property with a heritage overlay

A heritage overlay on a property means you must get a planning permit for all external changes, including front fences, and sometimes for painting, internal alterations and removing or pruning trees.

A permit is required to:

  • Subdivide land.
  • Demolish or remove a building.
  • Construct a building or construct or carry out works, including:
    • Domestic services normal to a dwelling if the services are visible from a street (other than a lane) or public park.
    • A solar energy facility attached to a building that primarily services the land on which it is situated if the services are visible from a street (other than a lane) or public park.
    • A rainwater tank if the rainwater tank is visible from a street (other than a lane) or public park.
    • A fence.
    • A domestic swimming pool or spa and associated mechanical and safety equipment.
    • A pergola or verandah.
    • A deck.
    • Non-domestic disabled access.
  • Externally alter a building by structural work, rendering, sandblasting or in any other way.
  • Construct or display a sign.
  • Externally paint a building.
  • Externally paint an unpainted surface.
  • Carry out works, repairs and routine maintenance which change the appearance of a heritage place or which are not undertaken to the same details, specifications and materials.
  • Remove, destroy or lop a tree if the schedule to the overlay identifies the heritage place as one where tree controls apply.

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Pre-Application Heritage Advice

Before you develop or demolish property in a heritage overlay you should seek advice from Council's Heritage Advisor. The heritage advisor can tell you what parts of your property should be protected.

This service is free.

Looking for Planning Advice? Use this form

Postal Address
E-mail Address

The Land

Council Property Number (CPN) - see rates notice *
Street Number
Street Name *
Suburb *


Please provide full details of your proposal: *
Briefly describe how the land is developed now:

Additional Information

Attachment 1
Attachment 2
Attachment 3
Attachment 4
Attachment 5

Please click here for the types of information Council may need to enable timely and accurate advice.

It is important to provide full details of your proposal and the land to enable adequate research and an informed response. The more detail provided allows Council to provide you with better advice.

You can also get advice from a private heritage architect.

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    External Links

      Last updated: 03 April 2018