International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property


N.B.: General country data and external links have been provided by the Member State. * Uploaded: 06/2020

General Country data

The main cultural assets of Australia

Australia has one of the oldest continuous cultures in the world, and a rich history of cultural heritage and traditions interwoven into its identity. The heritage of Australia’s Indigenous people plays a defining role in the cultural landscape. Australia is also home to people from all corners of the globe, whose diversity of influences creates a cultural environment that is lively, energised, innovative and outward looking. This unique make-up permeates Australia's culture and how it expresses its identity, including in the creative arts.

Australia has many publicly run galleries, museums and performance spaces, from the World Heritage-listed Opera House in Sydney and world-class national galleries and museums in Canberra, to history museums and galleries in country towns.

The legal framework on cultural heritage conservation

Australia is a signatory to the 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, 2015 Recommendation concerning the Protection and Promotion of Museums and Collections, their Diversity and their Role in Society, 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, and is considering ratifying the 2001 Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage.

These instruments are given effect through the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984, Criminal Code Act 1995, Crimes Act 1914, and Underwater Cultural Heritage Act 2018. Other federal legislation relevant to the protection and preservation of cultural heritage is the Australian Heritage Council Act 2003 and Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Act 2013. This overall legislative framework is supported by state and territory legislation, as the protection of heritage also falls within the jurisdiction of state and territory governments.

The cultural and natural sites on the World Heritage List

The cultural and natural assets of Australia are well represented on the UNESCO World Heritage List. There are currently 20 Australian sites listed.

Australia’s sites on the National Heritage List include natural, historic and Indigenous places of outstanding significance to the nation. Australia’s Heritage: National Treasures is a journey around Australia exploring the stories of some of these National Heritage places.

Australia’s Commonwealth Heritage List is a list of Indigenous, historic and natural heritage places owned or controlled by the Australian Government. It includes places connected to defence, maritime safety, communications, customs and other activities that reflect Australia’s development as a nation.

The List of Overseas Places of Historic Significance to Australia symbolically recognises sites of outstanding historic significance to Australia located outside of the Australian jurisdiction.

The Australian Government works collaboratively with governments and property managers in federal states and territories to fulfil the obligation under the World Heritage Convention to ensure the identification, protection, conservation, presentation and transmission to future generations of the cultural and natural heritage situated on its land.

Adhesion to ICCROM

Australia is a Member State of ICCROM since 26/06/1975


Mandates in ICCROM Council since 1958:

  • 1984-1995: Colin Pearson
  • 1996-2000: Joan Domicelj
  • 2000-2003: Jane Lennon

ICCROM Staff since 1959: 1

Involvement of Australian Nationals

Activities in/with Australia since 2002

Activities details

Activities details

  • 2003 - 1 Mission(s), 1 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2004 - 1 Mission(s)
  • 2005 - 1 Course(s), 3 Mission(s)
  • 2006 - 2 Mission(s)
  • 2007 - 1 Mission(s)
  • 2009 - 1 Course(s), 2 Mission(s)
  • 2010 - 1 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2012 - 1 Mission(s)
  • 2013 - 1 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2014 - 1 Mission(s)
  • 2015 - 1 Mission(s)
  • 2019 - 1 Mission(s)
  • 2021 - 1 Mission(s)
  • 2022 - 1 Mission(s)
  • 2023 - 5 Mission(s), 1 Partnership(s)

External links

Governmental Cultural Institutions

Museums and Cultural Heritage Institutions

* ICCROM reserves the right to moderate the content provided by Member States for country profiles to ensure that they remain within the scope of ICCROM’s mission and pertinent to cultural heritage. However, ICCROM does not take responsibility for the accuracy and validity of the content supplied. The ideas and opinions expressed are those of the Member States.