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Key messages

Why historic heritage is important

Heritage places are central to our community’s character and identity—allowing us to trace our history and feel connected to the important stories about our progress.

Protecting, conserving and promoting heritage places and their stories plays an important role in creating community identity, sustaining local economies and contributing to Queensland’s cultural heritage tourism industry.

State and local heritage

The Queensland Heritage Register is a comprehensive and representative statewide record of Queensland’s most significant historic heritage places. This diverse heritage includes buildings and structures, cemeteries, archaeological sites, gardens and landscapes.

Local heritage comprises places from the past that communities respect, want to keep, and pass on to future generations. Identifying places in a local heritage register or local planning scheme helps protect heritage places that are important to local communities.

Historic shipwrecks

Ships played a vital role in the development of the colony and State of Queensland, bringing immigrants from the rest of the world and exporting goods that made Queensland wealthy. The many wrecks found in Queensland waters reflect the diverse stories of adventure, industry, disaster and ingenuity that stem from our maritime heritage. Many wrecks continue to serve the economy as recreational diving locations.

Open House events

The Open House initiative connects Queenslanders and visitors with our rich history and diverse built environment.

Each Open House event unlocks a region’s significant buildings, allowing the community to explore and gain a greater appreciation of some of our iconic heritage places.

Heritage buildings feature in each of the Open House events held in Queensland—and every year they are amongst the most popular places to visit on the itinerary.

Key Findings


Queensland heritage places

Since 2012, 66 Queensland Heritage Places have been entered in the Queensland Heritage Register. Five places have been removed from the Register in line with new provisions introduced in 2011.

Local heritage places and areas

The majority of local governments identify and protect local heritage places and areas through a planning scheme.

Historic shipwrecks and aircraft wrecks

Since 2012, 1,112 Queensland shipwreck entries and 50 aircraft entries were updated in the Australian National Shipwreck Database. The term ‘historic shipwreck’ has been replaced in the Queensland Heritage Act 1992 with ‘underwater cultural heritage artefact’ to broaden the range of artefacts covered.

Queensland open house events

Since 2010, Open House events have been staged in four Queensland cities: beginning with Brisbane and expanding to Maryborough, Toowoomba and, in 2015, the Gold Coast. The global Open House movement highlights history and architecture and offers a range of satellite events for the public in each city.


Queensland heritage places destroyed

No State Heritage Places were destroyed between 2012 and 2015; however five places destroyed prior to 2012 have been removed from the Queensland Heritage Register.


Queensland Heritage Register

The Queensland Heritage Register is a list of Queensland’s significant heritage places. The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection manages the details about places on the Queensland Heritage Register, but the Queensland Heritage Council makes decisions about which places are entered in or removed from it, and when substantial changes are made to those entry documents.

Underwater Cultural Heritage Program

Popular and vulnerable historic shipwrecks are periodically inspected by government agencies to ensure they have not deteriorated quickly due to environmental or human impacts. Site monitoring and compliance checks also ensure site restrictions are enforced. Inspection results are recorded in internal database and site conditions and information updated on the Australian National Shipwreck Database.

Open House Events Queensland

At each event throughout the state, volunteers collect visitor numbers for each featured building, including heritage places. After the event, Open House Event managers collate the statistics and supply a report on the outcomes to the department.

Digitally-mapped terrestrial and maritime heritage sites

Innovation in digital scanning and mapping and the use of drones contributes to the conservation, management and interpretation of heritage sites.