Pressures on historic heritage


Particular pressures on historic heritage include changing use and economic values. Poor management practices (including loss of skills and expertise) that can also threaten historic heritage are dealt with in Section 4 of this chapter.

For many historic sites, the current use of the site may itself be significant in a heritage context. Churches, war memorials, community halls and post offices fall into this category. Pressures for change of use may arise in response to altered economic conditions, changing demographics, new commercial opportunities or other factors. Sometimes a new use is compatible with the heritage value of a place, but sometimes it is not. For some historic sites, direct tension arises between cultural and economic values, with likely prejudice being to favour economics over culture. The recent sale of many Australian post offices and their replacement by smaller agency postal outlets, often in the same suburb or town, is a case in point.

Mackay R (2011). Heritage: Pressures on historic heritage. In: Australia state of the environment 2011, Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy, Canberra,, DOI 10.4226/94/58b658bbe13a0