Protecting heritage

Photo of a wooden church surrounded by trees

The Heritage Overlay

Nillumbik Shire Council uses a heritage overlay in the Nillumbik Planning Scheme to protect places of local significance. The Heritage Overlay is a special planning control that applies to particular areas or properties in Nillumbik.

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. 

How local places get included in 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 generally 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 
  • following the principles and processes set out in the Burra Charter to carry out a heritage assessment 
  • assessing the recommended local places using the Heritage Council of Victoria's critieria for inclusion.

To change what local places are included in the Heritage Overlay schedule, Council follows a legal process called a planning scheme amendment.

Nillumbik Heritage Review

Council has recently conducted Stage A of the Nillumbik Heritage Review.

A total of 22 properties have met the threshold for heritage significance protection and are recommended for application of the Heritage Overlay.

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

A Stage B Priority List was adopted on 29 June 2021.

Read Stage B - Priority List(DOCX, 36KB)

Stage B has commenced and notification to owners of places on the Stage B Priority List will occur soon.

More information


Heritage listed places

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

Find out if a place is heritage listed

On the Heritage Victoria website, you can enter an address to find out if a place is heritage listed.

View all heritage listed places in Nillumbik

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

More information


Places with Aboriginal significance

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


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.


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 


Who to contact

Planning controls differ across the Shire of Nillumbik, so it's important to get advice before making changes to your property.

To find out more about heritage protection and how it affects your property, contact:

Planning Services Unit
Tel: 9433 3343