May 13, 2013

Cultural Landscapes Training Manual: A guide for historical societies

e-BULLETIN No. 111 – 11 May 2013 

The Federation's new manual for historians, entitled Cultural landscapes training manual: a guide for historical societies covers environmental history with common terminology defined, cultural landscapes, and assessing the significance of a cultural landscape, managing cultural landscapes, and interpreting cultural landscapes. It was developed by a Victorian historian, Robyn Ballinger in 2012.

The Federation is keen for historical societies to publicise the landscapes manual which assists in work on these newer areas of research and activity.

(Source: FAHS - 8 May 2013)
The Introduction page is shown below and the complete manual (52 pages, 3.4 MB) can be viewed/downloaded here.

 1. Introduction 

Cultural landscapes are all around us. We drive, walk and cycle through them every day. So familiar are they to us that we often don't even notice them. 

Heritage studies have tended to assess elements of the cultural landscape as isolated elements: for example, a dam, a garden, a residence, a fence, or items of machinery. Through exploring the cultural landscape as an integration of both natural and cultural heritage, this training manual takes a different approach. It has been prepared to assist members of historical societies across Australia to identify, assess, manage and interpret landscapes that are mainly significant for their cultural heritage values.

The manual focuses on European post-contact landscapes, but acknowledges that there is no Australian landscape that has not been shaped by Aboriginal occupation. It is therefore imperative that Aboriginal heritage values be incorporated in the process of identifying and assessing landscapes. A useful resource for doing this is Ask First: a guide to respecting Indigenous heritage places and values (Australian Heritage Commission, Canberra, 2002) available from

Information in the training manual is based on precedents developed by UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention, the Australia ICOMOS Burra Charter 1999, the Australian Heritage Commission’s standards, and other reference documents.

Case studies that illustrate the processes involved in identifying, assessing, managing and interpreting cultural landscapes are presented throughout the manual. 'Further information' boxes provide details about useful published sources.


An excellent resource that expands upon the ideas in this training manual is Protecting Local Heritage Places: A Guide for Communities by Lisa Rogers (Australian Heritage Commission, Canberra, 2000). It is available at local-heritage-places.pdf

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