The Burra Charter

To Australians, the Burra Charter is probably the most significant document of the last thirty years on the basic principles Burra Charter Coverand procedures for the conservation of heritage places. It provides a guiding philosophy for the care of our heritage and has been widely adopted as the standard guidelines for heritage conservation practice not only in this county, but also in other parts of the world.

The principles set out in the Charter are:

  • Heritage places are worth keeping because they enrich our lives – by helping us understand the past, contributing to the richness of the present environment and because they will be of value to future generations.
  • The cultural significance of a place is embodied in its:

> fabric
> setting
> contents
> use
> associated documents
> meaning to people through their use and associations with it

  • The cultural significance of a place are best understood by a process of collecting and analysing information before making decisions
  • Keeping accurate records about decisions and changes to the place helps in its care, management and interpretation.

The aims of the Burra Charter are to ensure that people involved in the conservation of heritage places:

  • Make decisions on the future of a heritage place based on an understanding of the place, its cultural significance and its meaning to people
  • Involve the communities associated with the place
  • Care for the significant fabric and other attributes, taking into account of all aspects of significance
  • Care for the place’s setting
  • Find an appropriate use for it
  • Provide security for the place

To download a copy of the Charter visit the Australia ICOMOS web site downloads page here [PDF 5 MB]

Click here to find out more about the history of the Burra Charter.