Frequently Asked Questions

Read a few FAQs about this project before you provide your feedback.

A country's heritage is all the qualities, traditions, or features of life there that have continued over many years and have been passed on from one generation to another. (Source - Collins Dictionary)

A heritage place may be a site, area, building, group of buildings, structure, archaeological site, tree, garden, geological formation, fossil site or other place of natural or cultural significance and its associated land. Heritage objects may include furniture, shipwrecks, relics, archaeological artefacts, equipment, transport vehicles and everyday articles that contribute to an understanding of Victoria's history. (Source – Department of Environment Land Water and Planning) Our heritage is the link to our past and tells us where we have come from. Wyndham contains a lot of physical evidence that tells us about our past.

Respect for our cultural heritage involves retaining and managing places that have importance to us as a community. The protection and enhancement of significant heritage sites within Wyndham will help residents appreciate the history and development of their local area, providing historic continuity and a sense of place.

The Australia ICOMOS ‘Charter for the Conservation of Places of Cultural Significance’, known as the “Burra Charter” and first adopted at Burra, South Australia in 1979, is a set of principles that have been adopted to create a nationally accepted standard for heritage conservation practice in Australia. The Burra Charter defines the basic principles and procedures to be followed in the conservation of heritage places. Read more about the Charter here.

The Heritage Overlay is a planning control within the Victoria Planning Provisions and is found at Clause 43.01 of all planning schemes in Victoria. A Heritage Overlay is applied to areas (or precincts), or individual buildings, land, gardens, trees or other items that have been determined to be of cultural heritage significance.

The schedule to the Heritage Overlay contains the list of places covered by a Heritage Overlay.

The purpose of the Overlay is to ensure that heritage places are conserved and enhanced, and that development does not negatively impact the significance of the heritage place. The intention of the Heritage Overlay is to ‘conserve and enhance’. It’s a tool to manage change rather than to prohibit development or the continued use of heritage places.

What the Heritage Overlay protects will depend on which features of your property are considered significant. You should check the Statement of Significance and HO Schedule, which will state which elements are significant. A Heritage Overlay will also cover the setting, being the immediate and extended environment of a place that is part of or contributes to its cultural significance and distinctive character.

The control contains different triggers for a planning permit, such as demolition, subdivision and

works which change the appearance of the heritage place.

A planning permit isn’t required for maintenance general maintenance and repairs to a heritage place, provision of services such as water tanks, air conditioning units or other dwelling services which are not visible from the street, repainting or repairing a building in the same materials and colours, or internal alterations of buildings (unless stated in the schedule to the Heritage Overlay).

Providing your land is being used in a legal way, either with an approved permit or where a permit is not required for that use, you may continue to use the land in this way.

Heritage controls do not prohibit development but require that a planning permit is obtained so that the impact of any proposed development on the heritage values of the place can be properly considered.

Place means a geographically defined area. It may include elements, objects, spaces and views.

A heritage place may be a site, area, building, group of buildings, structure, archaeological site, tree, garden, geological formation, fossil site or other place of natural or cultural significance and its associated land. Heritage objects may include furniture, shipwrecks, relics, archaeological artefacts, equipment, transport vehicles and everyday articles that contribute to an understanding of a place’s history. A heritage place may be privately or publicly owned. It may have historic, aesthetic, archaeological, architectural, cultural, scientific or social values. It may have tangible and intangible dimensions.

A heritage precinct is an area comprising heritage places that are historically related or share common characteristics. These are generally residential or commercial groupings of properties, however can include other heritage place groupings such as the Werribee South boatsheds.

Places which are in precincts can be graded either Significant, Contributory or Non-Contributory.

Significant heritage places are individually important places of state, municipal or local cultural heritage significance.

Contributory buildings contribute to the significance of the heritage precinct that they are located in. They are not considered to be individually places of significance, however, when combined with other significant and/or contributory heritage places, they play an integral role in demonstrating the cultural heritage significance of a precinct.

Non-Contributory places are places within a heritage precinct that have no identifiable cultural heritage significance. They are included within a Heritage Overlay because any development of the place may impact on the cultural heritage significance of the precinct or adjacent 'significant' or 'contributory' heritage places. Landowners may be able to remove, alter or develop Non-Contributory elements or sites, provided that development occurs in a manner appropriate to the significance, character and appearance of the heritage area.

Heritage Study

Heritage studies are conducted by Councils to investigate places that may have heritage significance and therefore warrant protection. A Heritage Study generally details “what, why, and how” a Heritage Place is significant. Heritage studies are prepared by a qualified heritage expert engaged by Council. The preparation of a heritage study will include research into historical information, including community nominations, previous heritage studies and resources, a review of the Thematic Environmental History, a survey of the study area which may identify heritage places and precincts for research, a detailed assessment of shortlisted places and precincts, through historical research into building history and comparative analysis,

Heritage citation

Citations are contained within a heritage study and are also known as data sheets. Citations contains a statement of significance of a heritage place, a description of the heritage place and setting, history, comparative analysis with other similar places within the study, an assessment of integrity or intactness, and heritage management recommendations.

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) Planning Practice Note 1 “Applying the Heritage Overlay” (2018) PPN01.

This practice note provides guidance about the functions of the Heritage Overlay (HO) including: which places should be included in the Heritage Overlay, recognised heritage criteria, drafting the HO Schedule, how individual and heritage precincts and areas are treated in the HO schedule, writing a Statements of Significance, mapping heritage places, recognising Aboriginal heritage places in the HO schedule, allowing prohibited uses, and applying paint, tree and internal alteration controls.

The Interwar and Post war period is generally considered to be between 1918 -1939 (Inter war) and 1945-1965 (Post war).

Inter-war Houses

Single storey detached houses predominate during this period. Set well back from the street on fairly large blocks, they exhibit simplicity of style that reflects both economic stringency and the move towards modernism. Porches replace verandahs. Building forms are simple and fairly austere with limited embellishment, although the influence of a number of decorative styles such as Spanish Mission, Georgian Revival and Art Deco is apparent.


Post-war Houses

After World War Two, the change from austerity to prosperity is reflected in increasing house sizes and a growth in home ownership. Often characterised by the triple-fronted brick-veneer, houses are comfortable and designed for family living. Although more traditional than Modern houses, Post-war design is usually single-storeyed with interconnected living rooms. Mass-produced windows foster a greater use of glass.

The Heritage Council of Victoria, together with Heritage Victoria and the Building Commission of Victoria have prepared “What house is that? A guide to Victoria’s Housing Styles” which an describes the main styles of houses still present in Melbourne, including their cultural background and key exterior and interior features and colours.


A Thematic Environmental History is an essential part in a municipal heritage study, helping ensure that the places that reflect and represent the historical development of the municipality are recognised.

A Thematic Environmental History sets out the key activity and development themes that have influenced the historical development of a municipality and helping to explain how and why the built and human‐influenced environments of that municipality looks as they do today. The Thematic Environmental History must use the Framework of Historical Themes (2010) set out by Heritage Victoria. A review of Wyndham’s 1997 Thematic Framework was carried out during Stage 1 and has brought this up to current standards.

The preparation of an updated Thematic Environmental History of the City of Wyndham will guide Stage 2 detailed heritage studies. This document remains in draft and is updated as Stage 2 Studies are carried out in accordance with the relevant themes. Once all Stage 2 Studies are complete, the final Thematic Environmental History will be adopted.

The documentation for each place must include a statement of significance that clearly establishes the importance of the place and addresses the heritage criteria. For every heritage place (that is, a precinct or individual place) a statement of significance should be prepared using the three-part format of ‘What is significant?’; ‘How is it significant?’ and ‘Why is it significant?’.

What is significant? – Identifies features or elements that are significant about the place, for example, house, outbuildings, garden, plantings, ruins, archaeological sites, interiors as a guide to future decision makers.

How is it significant? – Using the heritage criteria, how the place is important. This could be because of its historical significance, its rarity, its research potential, its representativeness, its aesthetic significance, its technical significance and/or its associative significance. This will indicate the threshold for which the place is considered important.

Why is it significant? – The importance of the place needs to be justified against each of the heritage criteria.

Significance means the importance, meaning and value we place on a landscape, site, building, object, collection or installation in the past, now and in the future. Cultural significance is assessed in terms of historic, aesthetic, scientific, social and spiritual values.

Criteria and thresholds are used to help decide the level of protection that is warranted.

The following list is the nationally recognised heritage criteria used for the assessment of the heritage values of a place, comprising the model criteria developed at the National Heritage Convention (HERCON) in Canberra, 1998:

  • Criterion A – historical significance: Importance to the course or pattern of our cultural or natural history.
  • Criterion B - rarity: Possession of uncommon, rare or endangered aspects of our cultural or natural history.
  • Criterion C – research potential: Potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of our cultural or natural history.
  • Criterion D - representativeness: Importance in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a class of cultural or natural places or environments.
  • Criterion E – aesthetic significance: Importance in exhibiting particular aesthetic characteristics.
  • Criterion F – technical significance: Importance in demonstrating a high degree of creative or technical achievement at a particular period.
  • Criterion G – social significance: Strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group for social, cultural or spiritual reasons. This includes the significance of a place to Indigenous peoples as part of their continuing and developing cultural traditions.
  • Criterion H – associative significance: Special association with the life or works of a person, or group of persons, of importance in our history.

A ‘threshold’ is the level of cultural significance that a place must have before it can be recommended for inclusion in the planning scheme. The significance threshold determines the level of cultural heritage significance a place or object has and what mechanisms can therefore be used to protect and manage it. The significance threshold can be defined as: the minimum level of cultural heritage significance that a place or object must possess to justify its inclusion on the relevant local, state, national or world heritage list.

As a general principle:

  • A place that is of heritage value to a locality or municipality has the potential to be recognised as being of local cultural heritage significance (and protected under the Planning and Environment Act (1987) through inclusion in the Schedule to the Heritage Overlay of the Wyndham Planning Scheme)
  • A place or object that is of heritage value to wider Victoria has the potential to be recognised as being of State level cultural heritage significance (and protected by the Heritage Act (2017) (Vic) and included in the Victorian Heritage Register (VHR)
  • A place with outstanding heritage value to the nation has the potential to be recognised as being of national heritage significance (and may be included in the National Heritage List); and
  • A place that is of outstanding universal value has the potential to be recognised as being of world heritage significance (and may be inscribed on the World Heritage List).