Heritage planning

Photo of a wooden church surrounded by trees

Local heritage and the Heritage Overlay

Nillumbik Shire Council uses a heritage overlay in the Nillumbik Planning Scheme to protect, conserve and enhance buildings, areas or other places of local heritage significance in accordance with Section 4 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987

The Heritage Overlay sets out the permit requirements and guidelines that Council uses to make decisions about changes to buildings and structures in heritage places. It also includes a schedule that lists all the heritage places that have been identified as locally significant in Nillumbik.

Making changes to the Heritage Overlay

Before a heritage place can be included in the Heritage Overlay it needs to be assessed by Council as locally significant.

The assessment process is generally called a heritage review and includes:

  • engaging a qualified heritage consultant to prepare a heritage study
  • identifying and recommending heritage protection for a particular local place in the heritage study
  • providing a statement of significance for the place which identifies 'what' is important, 'why' it is important and 'how' it is significant 

Once a heritage review is complete, the local place(s) will be included, adjusted or removed from the Heritage Overlay schedule, as recommended by the heritage review. This is carried out via a legal process called a Planning Scheme Amendment.

Previous heritage studies

Nillumbik Shire Council has previously completed the following heritage studies:

  • Gould, Megan, 1992, Shire of Whittlesea Heritage Study
  • Bick, David, 1992, Shire of Eltham Heritage Study
  • Butler, Graeme and associates, 1996, Nillumbik Shire Heritage Study Stage 1, Review, Heritage Survey and Environmental History
  • Butler, Graeme, and associates, 1997, Nillumbik Shire Heritage Study Stage 2, Significant Places
  • Butler, Graeme and associates, 2001, Nillumbik Shire Heritage Study Stage 2 Shire of Eltham Heritage Study 1992 Revision
  • Butler, Graeme and associates, 2006, Heritage Assessments Shire of Nillumbik C13
  • HLCD Pty Ltd, 2009, Shire of Nillumbik Heritage Gap Study Framework – a framework for the assessment of places of potential significance in the Shire of Nillumbik 

Nillumbik Heritage Review

Council completed its latest Heritage Review in 2022.

The next step is for Council to commence a planning scheme amendment to apply the recommendations of the Heritage Review to 66 properties deemed significant. 

Heritage Review Stage A

In early 2021, Council prepared Stage A of the Heritage Review and confirmed that 21 out of 38 potential properties met the threshold for heritage protection at the local level.

The property at 1080 Heidelberg Kinglake Road had the Heritage Overlay applied during this process and was removed from the Stage A recommendation list.

The Eltham War Memorial was assessed and also found to be significant at the local level, bringing the total number of Stage A properties recommended for application of the Heritage Overlay to 21.

Read Stage A - Key Findings and Recommendations(PDF, 29MB)

Heritage Review Stage B

In early 2022, Heritage Review Stage B was prepared. Out of a potential 54 properties, 45 met the threshold for heritage protection and were recommended for application of the Heritage Overlay.

Read Stage B - Key Findings and Recommendations(PDF, 2MB)

The Heritage Watch List

Council is always monitoring and keeping track of existing and new heritage places.

We keep track of these places with the Heritage Watch List and notify owners and occupiers on the list every six months to keep the list up to date and the community informed. When making an enquiry about a property at Council, you will be notified if it is on the watch list.

If you have any suggested places for the watch list, please let us know.

Strategic Planning
Phone: 03 9433 3111
Email: nillumbik@nillumbik.vic.gov.au

More information

Nillumbik Thematic Environmental History

The Thematic Environmental History is an evolving document that is added to over the years in support of our unique heritage environment. It is a resource that explains the history and heritage of Nillumbik. It explores themes that have shaped the area, describing the historic pattern of the region.

Every local government area has a unique history and themes that have influenced land use, development and ‘typologies’ of built form. The most common types of properties which have had the Heritage Overlay applied in Nillumbik are farmhouses and complexes, along with some ‘Eltham Style’ modernist homes. 

The Heritage Review Stage A and B identified a range of typologies including ‘The Eltham Style’, post-war, and more traditional farmhouses.

A Post War Gap Analysis was undertaken to consider the post-war and late twentieth century periods in the Shire of Nillumbik. The report aimed to improve the understanding of post-war development in the Shire, with a focus on the Eltham Style (particularly the work of Alistair Knox) and post-war housing. Following on from this work, an update to the Thematic Environmental History was produced covering this period.

Eltham War Memorial Building Complex

Council acknowledges the importance of the Eltham War Memorial Building Complex as a historically significant group of community buildings that incorporated a range of community services and facilities.

The complex was built in the 1950s and was intended as a ‘living memorial’ to Eltham servicemen killed in the Second World War. The buildings, located at 903-907 Main Road, Eltham, include:

  • Former Infant Welfare Centre building (1950-51);
  • War Memorial Gates (1954);
  • Eltham Preschool (1956);
  • War Memorial Hall (former Children’s Library) (1961);
  • Stone sundial dedicated to Mrs Ada Lyon;
  • Remnant stone rubble garden walls.
Heritage Council review

In 2018, the Eltham War Memorial Buildings were nominated for inclusion in the Victorian Heritage Register.

After carrying out their assessment, in May 2020 the Executive Director of Heritage Victoria made a recommendation to the Heritage Council that the buildings not be included in the Victorian Heritage Register. You can read the recommendation here.(PDF, 2MB)

In May 2021, the Heritage Council determined that the Eltham War Memorial Buildings are not of ‘State significance’ and as such they would not be included in the Victorian Heritage Register.

The Heritage Council report did indicate that the Eltham War Memorial Buildings may be of potential local significance. The Heritage Council recommended that Nillumbik Shire Council, as the relevant planning authority, consider an amendment to the Nillumbik Planning Scheme to include the buildings in the Heritage Overlay.

Nillumbik Shire Council review

Council have undertaken a number of heritage studies to determine the specific heritage values of the Eltham War Memorial Buildings - both as independent buildings or ‘objects’, and as a complex.

Council engaged heritage consultants ‘Context’ as part of our response to the formal review process undertaken by the Heritage Council.

The independent heritage advice prepared for Council by Context concluded that the complex is of local heritage significance, in line with the recommendation of the Heritage Council.

A more detailed explanation of the local significance of the Eltham War Memorial Buildings can be found in the draft citation prepared by Context, which includes:

  • Historical context
  • Place history
  • Comparative analysis

In particular, the Statement of Significance (page 35) includes:

  • What is significant
  • How and why it is significant

You can read the draft citation here.(PDF, 8MB)

Next steps

Council will undertake a planning scheme amendment to the Nillumbik Planning Scheme to apply the Heritage Overlay to implement Stage A and Stage B Heritage Reviews, which will include the application of the Heritage Overlay to the Eltham War Memorial Buildings.

State heritage

Places that are significant to the history and development of Victoria (not just a local area), are protected by Heritage Victoria. These places are listed in the Victorian Heritage Register.

Anything included in the Victorian Heritage Register is protected by law. This means you:

  • need approval from Heritage Victoria to make any changes to a heritage place or object
  • must maintain and conserve your heritage place or object
  • must notify Heritage Victoria if you intend to sell

More information

Cultural heritage

All Aboriginal heritage in Victoria, known or otherwise, is protected by the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 (Vic) and the Aboriginal Heritage Regulations 2018 (Vic).

It is Nillumbik Shire Council policy to:

  • provide for the identification of sites of Aboriginal cultural significance and the appropriate level of management in consultation with the local Aboriginal community
  • ensure new uses, developments and works do not impede on or detract from sites and features of Aboriginal cultural heritage and archaeological significance. (Local Planning Policy Framework, Clause 22.05)

Council has completed four studies into Aboriginal heritage. The content of the studies is not available to the public as it identifies known sites of Aboriginal heritage.

  • Ellender, I, 1989, The Plenty Valley Corridor: The Archaeological Survey of Aboriginal Sites
  • Ellender, I, 1994, The Aboriginal Heritage of the Shire of Eltham
  • Du Cros and Associates, 1996, Nillumbik Shire Council Aboriginal Heritage Study
  • Tardis Enterprises, 2006, Nillumbik Shire Heritage Review

More information

Is my place heritage listed?

If you want to find out if a place is heritage listed, you can search for an address using Heritage Victoria's interactive map.

Search for your address

If your place is heritage listed it will have a citation associated with it. The heritage citation will tell you about the history of the property and what elements of your heritage place are significant.

You can find all of Nillumbik’s heritage citations at the Victorian Heritage Council's website.

View all heritage listed places in Nillumbik

The Victorian Heritage Database lists all places and objects of significance in the Shire of Nillumbik.

Heritage and property development

Protection and preservation of heritage is a requirement under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (the Act).

Council is compelled under legislation to protect places of heritage significance and follow due process as set out in the Act. We do this by assessing places of potential heritage significance and seeking to apply the Heritage Overlay under the Act where appropriate.

It’s important to note that heritage controls such as the Heritage Overlay often apply to properties that look ‘old’, but can also apply to those that don’t. For example, architectural styles from the 60s and 70s (such as Alistair Knox) are now considered of heritage and cultural significance, so you are always advised to check with Council.

You might come across a property or place you think should be protected, and we encourage you to let us know.

If you are purchasing a property, it’s important to note that an S32 document (or Vendor’s Statement) will not contain details about potential strategies or amendments, eg a future rezoning or a current planning scheme amendment. 

Renovating or developing a heritage place

If you’re thinking of undertaking any kind of works including renovating, landscaping or demolition of your property you need to check if a heritage overlay applies to it. This will help you understand what can and can’t be done with the property and if you need a planning permit.

Check for a heritage overlay

If the Heritage Overlay applies to your property

A Heritage Overlay does not require an owner to restore or return a property to its original appearance, and does not necessarily mean that development is prohibited.

Where a Heritage Overlay applies, most types of proposed buildings and works will require a planning permit. The purpose of the planning permit is to ensure that the proposed development does not detract from the heritage significance. View more guidance on the Heritage Victoria website.

Council encourages the conservation and protection of our heritage places. Before you apply for a planning permit, you are strongly encouraged to take advantage of our pre-application service, free of charge, to help clarify the development process and provide guidance.

If you are considering the purchase, renovation, demolition or development of a property, you are strongly encouraged to get in touch with Council and check all the attributable planning requirements.