Given that values are what distinguish heritage places from other places, the resilience of heritage places may be understood as their ability to experience shocks while retaining their heritage values. The resilience of Australia’s heritage can be considered in relation to both individual heritage places and the total heritage resource.
The value of individual places often lies, at least in part, in the fabric of the place, which—if damaged or destroyed—may be gone forever. Historic places, for example, may be made resilient through actions such as maintenance, repairs or archival recording, but have limited intrinsic ability to recover from damaging events. The resilience of some components of Australia’s heritage is threatened by the relatively low priority of heritage in planning, land-use and development decision-making; unconnected management; and little to no consideration of cumulative effects.
For the total heritage resource, it is important to identify and protect a broad range of heritage places, so that the total heritage resource can be more resilient.
Natural heritage places that are well represented in the reserved lands system are more resilient than under-represented places. Indigenous places with physical value are not resilient to damage or destruction, although some Indigenous places with intangible value have demonstrated an ability to recover through re-engagement of traditional owners, transmission of stories and re-establishment of traditions.