Heritage Buildings are a huge part of the cultural identity of every city.

In 2010 and 2011, the City of Melbourne evaluated the heritage significance of 99 buildings in the CBD to determine if they warranted heritage protection, after which 110 sites were included in the Melbourne Planning Scheme Heritage Overlay.

Amendment C186 was introduced to implement heritage overlay controls on 98 places, including 12 selected building interiors identified in the Heritage Review.

The list comprises public buildings, town halls, railway stations, institutional and commercial buildings, theatres, cinemas, religious buildings, houses and sport grounds. The selected buildings include the Government House, the National Gallery of Victoria, the State Library, South Melbourne Town Hall, Flinders Street Station, Ormond College and Queen Victoria Market.

The buildings will be recognized and protected as samples of the area’s cultural identity and neighbourhood character.

The scheme also aims to conserve and enhance places of cultural heritage significance, to support restoration of heritage buildings and to maintain visual prominence of historic buildings, parks, gardens and other public open spaces.

glass roof state library

Glass Roof of the State Library – Melbourne Australia

On June 5, Victorian Minister for Planning Matthew Guy approved heritage overlay controls for 87 buildings, taking the first step required for Amendment C186 to come into effect.

“Norman’s Corner Stores at 180-182 Bourke Street and the former Argus building in La Trobe Street are several of the most magnificent examples of our rich public legacy in this city,” Guy said.

“They are an important part of the physical and cultural heritage of Melbourne and must be protected.”

Guy noted that the buildings offer insight into Melbourne’s history, dating from the 1850s through the 1930s.

“They range from stately buildings such as the Commercial Union building in Collins Street and the first major city office built for the State Savings Bank, to well known pubs such as the Waterside Hotel and Sir Charles Hotham Hotel which is principally intact but in poor condition,” he said.

A second part of the amendment, which has yet to be approved, will consider the heritage merits of 10 buildings built after World War II.

Queen Victoria Market

Queen Victoria Market

Guy said the amendment is important to the City of Melbourne.

“It’s important in an evolving city like Melbourne to retain and protect the buildings and places that preserve our city’s cultural identity,” he said.

Guy has come under fire in recent months for his approval of several controversial skyscraper developments in the city centre, and some groups are concerned about the possibility of losing such buildings.

“It seems that the Planning Minister is leaving the door open for these buildings to be altered, demolished, and Melbourne will lose a legitimate part of the patchwork that makes up its architectural history and its heritage,” said Rupert Mann of the Melbourne Heritage Action Group.