Burra Charter

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The Burra Charter defines the basic principles and procedures to be followed in the conservation of Australian heritage places.

Burra Charter
The Burra Charter edition 7.jpg
Burra Charter ed.7
Author Meredith Walker
Country Australia
Language English
Genre Non Fiction
Published 2013
Publisher Australia/ICOMOS Peter Marquis-Kyle
Media type Print (paperback)
ISBN 0-9578528-2-7

In 1979, the Australia ICOMOS Charter for the Conservation of Places of Cultural Significance was adopted at a meeting of Australia ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) at the historic mining town of Burra, South Australia.[1] It was given the short title of The Burra Charter.

The Burra Charter accepted the philosophy and concepts of the ICOMOS Venice Charter, but wrote them in a form which would be practical and useful in Australia. The Charter was revised in 1999 and has since been adopted by the Australian Heritage Council (December 2004), the Heritage Council of New South Wales (December 2004), the Queensland Heritage Council (January 2005) and the Heritage Council of Victoria (July 2010).[2] It is also recommended by the Heritage Council of Western Australia[3] and the Tasmanian Heritage Council.[4]


The Burra Charter is recognised as having pioneered the understanding of cultural heritage as going beyond the mere preservation of the built environment.[5]
"To Australians, the Burra Charter is probably the most significant document of the last thirty years on the basic principles and 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 country, but also in other parts of the world." - Heritage Perth [6]


The Burra Charter identifies three levels of repair for heritage structures.[2] These are:

  • Preservation - Maintaining a place in its existing state and preventing further deterioration.
  • Restoration - Returning a place to a known earlier state by removing accretions or by reassembling existing elements without the introduction of new material.
  • Reconstruction - Returning a place to a known earlier state and is distinguished from restoration by the introduction of new material.


  1. ^ SA Department of Environment, Water & Natural Resources > The Burra Charter Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  2. ^ a b Australia ICOMOS > The Burra Charter Full text of the 2013 revised version of the Burra Charter. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  3. ^ Heritage Council of Western Australia > Burra Charter? Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  4. ^ >%20Publications Heritage Tasmania > Publications Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  5. ^ Gilmour, Tony (2007). Sustaining Heritage: Giving the Past a Future. Sydney: Sydney University Press. p. 155. 
  6. ^ Heritage Perth > The Burra Charter Retrieved 16 August 2011.

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