The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) is a non-governmental professional organisation formed in 1965, with headquarters in Paris.
The The Burra Charter was first adopted in 1979, at the historic South Australian mining town of Burra and, following revisions, was adopted by Australia ICOMOS in 2013.
The Burra Charter provides guidance for the conservation and management of places of cultural significance (cultural heritage places), and is based on the knowledge and experience of Australia ICOMOS members. Conservation is an integral part of the management of places of cultural significance and is an ongoing responsibility.
The Burra Charter can be applied to all types of places of cultural significance including natural, Indigenous and historic places with cultural values.
The Charter stresses that places of cultural significance enrich our lives and give a deep and inspirational connection to community and their landscape and to past and lived experiences.
Places of cultural significance reflect the diversity of our communities, tell us who we are, the past that formed us, irreplaceable, precious and must be conserved for present and future generations in accordance with the principle of inter-generational equity.
The Charter advocates caution to change: do what is necessary to care for the place and to make it useable, but change it as little as possible so cultural significance is retained.
It is vital for all of us, working to conserve sustainable Brumby populations now in National Parks project the Charter’s requirement at every opportunity. Although Park authorities are aware of what Burra Charter requires of them they never mention it in discussion.
Cultural significance is an important expression of Australian identity and experience and the Charter’s conservation aim is to retain the cultural significance of a place.
Check the full charter on the ABA Website (The Burra Charter) or visit the Australia ICOMOS site (Australia ICOMOS) as it supports our values, for example, where cultural values conflict, the Charter requires that Co-existence of cultural values should always be recognised, respected and encouraged. It is not one culture above another; both have equal value and need to be in balance.