An International Scientific Committee of

Revising the Burra Charter: Australia ICOMOS updates its guidelines for conservation practice

Author: Truscott, Marilyn and David Young
Date: 2000

Truscott, Marilyn and David Young. 2000. Revising the Burra Charter: Australia ICOMOS updates its guidelines for conservation practice. Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites 4(2): pp. 101-116.

This paper outlines the revisions made in 1999 to the Burra Charter, the core doctrine for heritage conservation in Australia that was first adopted by Australia ICOMOS in 1979. It examines the reasons why changes were needed, including broadened perceptions of heritage, new understandings of heritage significance, and recognition of the need for community input into conservation decisions about its heritage. The review process, which took five years, changed its procedures halfway through after members of Australia ICOMOS roundly rejected a draft, while agreeing that a revision should still take place. Following a thorough consultative process with members, the text of the 1999 revision of the Charter was resoundingly endorsed (the text is included here as an Appendix). The paper describes how the revised Charter differs from the previous text. The changes lie primarily in the recognition that heritage value, or significance, may be embodied in the uses, associations and meanings of a place, in addition to its physical fabric. Other key changes include incorporation of a flowchart explaining the conservation planning process; the seeking of community input; and the recognition that interpretation is an integral part of good heritage management practice.

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