If you are developing a property that has a heritage overlay you must get a planning permit for all external changes. You can read more about what this involves on our When you need a planning permit page.
Obtaining more information about a heritage-listed property
If your property is located within a heritage overlay and you would like more information about the significance of the property, see the Victorian Heritage Database on the Victorian Heritage Council website.
The Victorian Heritage Database, managed by Heritage Victoria, is an online database containing information about Victorian Heritage Places and Precincts including statements of significance, physical descriptions, historical information, builder, architectural style, photographs, and heritage overlay number.
How heritage places are selected
What is a heritage 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.
A heritage place can be:
- a site
- an area
- a landscape
- building(s) or other work
- places of historical events
- urban areas
- industrial places
- archaeological sites
- spiritual and religious places.
Cultural heritage significance means a place with aesthetic, historic, scientific, social or spiritual value for past, present or future generations.
Council has a strong commitment to protect and enhance the rich historical fabric of the City which forms an important part of the identity of Merri-bek.
Identifying heritage places in Merri-bek
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.
Heritage assessments are carried out by qualified and experienced professionals in accordance with the principles of the Burra Charter. Assessment reports (citations) include a statement of significance that identifies the what, how and why of heritage protection.
Sometimes new heritage sites are identified in Merri-bek. After public consultation, the Merri-bek Planning Scheme may be amended to include and protect new heritage sites. You can learn more about this on our Merri-bek Planning Scheme page.
Protection of heritage places
Local heritage places are protected in the Merri-bek Planning Scheme through heritage overlays, which require a planning permit to alter a heritage place.
A heritage overlay conserves and enhances heritage. An overlay shows how your land can be used and developed. All heritage overlays are recorded in the Merri-bek Planning Scheme. 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. Heritage sites are protected in one of two ways:
Heritage overlays applied to an individual site, building, or object
Individual heritage overlays can have controls that require you to get a planning permit to make changes.
A place with its own heritage overlay is an important heritage site. Examples in Merri-bek are the Pentridge Prison Complex, Wiseman House, Glenroy, Hoffman’s Brick and Pottery Works, Brunswick.
Heritage overlay applied to a broader precinct area
Most 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 heritage value. These places have a heritage overlay so that new development does not have a negative impact on the heritage significance of the whole area.
Examples of some heritage precincts in Merri-bek are Barkly Street, Brunswick East, Newlands Estate Precinct, Coburg, and Turner Street Precinct, Pascoe Vale.
Where can I find out more about heritage sites in Merri-bek?
You can find a list of all individually listed heritage sites and all properties in a heritage precinct overlay in the Merri-bek Planning Scheme on the Victorian Environment, Land, Water and Planning website.
Moreland heritage studies
Council's heritage studies record the heritage significance of the heritage precincts as well as individual places.
The City of Merri-bek Heritage Review, Allom Lovell and Associates, Volumes 1 to 5, January 1999
- Moreland Heritage Review - Volume 1 - Thematic History (PDF 1.3MB)
- Moreland Heritage Review - Volume 2 Part 1 - Building Citations - A to K (PDF 4.0MB)
- Moreland Heritage Review - Volume 2 Part 2 - Building Citations - L to Z (PDF 3.9MB)
- Moreland Heritage Review - Volume 3 - Heritage Overlay Precincts (PDF 2.9MB)
- Moreland Heritage Review - Volume 4 - Heritage Overlay Guide (PDF 230.2kB)
- Moreland Heritage Review - Volume 5 - Landscape Citations (PDF 1.5MB)
- Moreland Heritage Review - Additional Heritage Overlay Precincts (PDF 10.4Mb), September 2001
- Moreland Heritage Review - Additional Building Citations (PDF 4.7Mb, September 2001
North of Bell Street Heritage Study, Context Pty Ltd for Merri-bek City Council, Volumes 1 and 2, 2013
- North of Bell Street Heritage Study - Volume 1 (PDF 2.7MB)
- North of Bell Street Heritage Study - Volume 2 (PDF 6.8MB)
Moreland Heritage Gap Study, Context Pty Ltd for Merri-bek City Council, Volumes 1-3, 2019
eeping Brunswick’s Heritage: A Report on the Review of the Brunswick Conservation Study, Context Pty Ltd, Volumes 1 to 4, 1990
- Keeping Brunswick's Heritage - Volume 1 (PDF 20.9MB)
- Keeping Brunswick's Heritage - Volume 2 (PDF 10.7MB)
- Keeping Brunswick's Heritage - Volume 3 (PDF 34.8MB)
- Keeping Brunswick's Heritage - Volume 4 (PDF 15.1MB)
The City of Coburg Heritage Conservation and Streetscape Study, Timothy Hubbard Pty Ltd, in five parts, October 1990 – March 1991
- Coburg Heritage Conservation and Streetscape Study - Volume 1 - Text, October 1990 (PDF 17.2MB)
- Coburg Heritage Conservation and Streetscape Study - Volume 2 - Data sheets (A to Ra), March 1991 (PDF 13MB)
- Coburg Heritage Conservation and Streetscape Study - Volume 3 - Data Sheets (Re to Z), October 1990 (PDF 4MB)
- Coburg Heritage Conservation and Streetscape Study - Extract - Building Guidelines (PDF 13.0MB)
- Coburg Heritage Conservation and Streetscape Study - Extract - Guidelines for Public Works (PDF 35.4MB)
Northern Suburbes Factory Study, Gary Vines and Matthew Churchward, 1992
The City of Merri-bek Thematic History addresses the history of the physical development of the municipality since post contact occupation.
It explains how and why the municipality looks like it does today. It identifies and explains those aspects and themes that help us understand the area and its historic physical fabric.
The Thematic History is centred around themes, such as agriculture, industry, governance, and migration, that have shaped the municipality and provides a framework for identifying and assessing potential heritage places.
It does not provide a chronological account of everything that happened in the municipality. It is not a record of all the individuals, events, schools, sporting clubs, institutions that may have left their mark on the municipality or study area.
The Thematic History is essential in being able to identify potential heritage places and ultimately assess and determine their heritage significance. It highlights the importance of protecting Merri-bek’s heritage places as it identifies a number of significant heritage places that have been lost over the years due to these places not being protected under the provisions of a Heritage Overlay in the Merri-bek Planning Scheme.
You can download a copy:
You can also ask to see Council's heritage studies at the Moreland Civic Centre. You can find out more about the Customer Service Centre at Merri-bek Civic Centre on our Contact us page.