Victorian Goldfields World Heritage Bid :: Update for partner Councils


Two more Councils join the bid

Indigo Shire and Baw Baw Shire Councils have supported a proposal to join the World Heritage Bid, which would take the local government partnership from an unprecedented 13 to an even more unprecedented 15! The new shires were identified as needing further investigation in a global comparative analysis by UK World Heritage expert, Barry Gamble. If  selected for World Heritage Listing, inclusion of Baw Baw and Indigo Shires would enable all six types of primary gold mining to be demonstrated in Victoria. We understand that nowhere else in the world could boast this, which puts the bid in a solid position.  

As a result, the Minister Planning has supported renaming the nomination as the Victorian Goldfields World Heritage – a title better recognised at the national and international level. 

Both Baw Baw and Indigo Councils have enthusiastically embraced the project following briefings by the bid team. Each Council has approved their respective CEO signing a joint Memorandum of Understanding that forms the agreement between all Councils to work together to secure UNESCO listing. The MOU is now with the 13 partner LGAs for consideration. As part of the agreement, both Baw Baw and Indigo Shire Councils have agreed to contribute funding to support the project in recognition of the work that has been undertaken by the partnership to date and to contribute towards the development of the Victorian Goldfields Sustainable Tourism Masterplan. 

Introducing our new World Heritage Engagement Officer

Lana Epshteyn joined the City of Ballarat’s bid team on the 25 September 2023. Lana was Communications Manager at the Australian Museums and Galleries Association Australia (AMaGA), and prior Marketing Officer at Shrine of Remembrance, Marketing Manager at The Bendigo Trust and Marketing Coordinator at Queen Vic Market. She is looking forward to working with and assisting the local government partners.  

Image: Lana Epshteyn – World Heritage Engagement Officer, City of Ballarat.

Promoting the bid to the world

Every three years, a global volunteer-based organisation called ICOMOS (the International Council on Monuments and Sites) holds its General Assembly. ICOMOS is one of three World Heritage Advisory Bodies for UNESCO. In early September their 21st General Assembly was held in Sydney, the first time ever in Australia. 1,300 delegates from around the world, several of whom have a significant role evaluating World Heritage nominations attended. The bid team were strongly advised that any Australian site seeking listing needs to promote its credentials at this event. The bid team manned an exposition booth in the Sydney International Convention Centre for five days that attracted delegates from all over the world and made two presentations at the ICOMOS expert symposium. The exposition showcased 40 exhibitors, themed discussions, and informative posters. The bid team got a chance to meet with the World Heritage assessors who expressed great interest in the bid, especially its regional regeneration focus, and were “excited to see it come forward.” During the conference the Australian Government launched a new World Heritage Community of Practice with the bid team and Victorian Government representatives outlining priorities for the Goldfields bid at their inaugural meeting.

The bid’s UK based consultant – Barry Gamble talking with representatives from Parks Victoria.

Susan Fayad – Bid Team (City of Ballarat) talking with delegates at the Victorian Goldfields booth.

Presentation to Parliamentary Committee

In late 2022 the Bid Team made a submission to Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade’s Inquiry into Australia’s tourism and international education sectors. The tourism element has a particular focus on regional tourism. The submission focused on the capacity of the World Heritage listing of the Victorian Goldfields to provide a significant boost to regional Victoria and strengthen Australia’s regional tourist offerings. Bid co-patron, The Hon John Brumby AO, and the bid team presented evidence to a formal session of the Committee at Ballarat on 4 October.  

Image: (L-R) The Hon Shayne Neumann MP, The Hon Michael McCormack MP, Ms Susan Fayad – City of Ballarat, Senator Deborah O’Neill, The Hon John Brumby AO, and Mr Trevor Budge AM – City of Greater Bendigo.

State Government Funding and site selection

The State budget allocated $2million to Heritage Victoria for the Victorian Goldfields World Heritage bid over three years 2023/24 to 2026/27. This funding is in addition to the $500,000 provided by the Victorian Government to the local government partnership to identify proposed World Heritage sites and the Victorian Goldfields Tourism Investment Master Plan. An initial list of possible ‘must have’ sites is undergoing expert peer review and Victorian Government testing to ensure a rigorous selection process. Local governments will be notified following this process. 

Heritage Victoria’s newly established World Heritage team and the local government partnership’s bid team are working together to deliver the following over the next three years, with a view to submit a nomination in 2026: 

  • Nomination dossier and Management Plan 
  • Evidence of Free, Prior & Informed Consent from the relevant Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAP) 
  • Evidence of support from the relevant local governments and other stakeholders (e.g. public/private landowner or manager) who have a site(s) put forward for nomination. 

Image (L to R): Trevor Budge (bid team), Jo Lyngcoln, Amanda Bacon, Rebecca O’Brien, Jon Griffiths, Megan Rowland (Heritage Victoria), John Dyke and Susan Fayad (bid team).

Tourism Masterplan nearing completion

State Funding received through the Minister Regional Development has enabled the preparation of a World Heritage Tourism Investment Masterplan for Victoria’s Central Goldfields region to be prepared. This Masterplan provides a supported, cross-regional roadmap for dispersing the benefits of World Heritage to the state’s regional communities, including some of Victoria’s most socio-economically disadvantaged townships principally through a series of World Heritage Journeys. The Masterplan is now being expanded to encompass the Victorian Goldfields and will be completed later this year, ready for launching at an event in the Goldfields.

Image: The Master Plan introduces a series of World Heritage Journeys and investment to disperse benefits throughout the region, regardless of whether a LGA has a World Heritage site or not.

Contact us

The bid team are available to meet with your Council at your convenience to provide a briefing and further details on the application and process. We would of course be pleased to assist if at any stage you want to arrange further promotion and publicity of the World Heritage bid. 

We look forward to your continuing interest and enthusiasm for this transformative initiative.  

Ms Susan Fayad (World Heritage and Regional Development Lead, City of Ballarat) – Bid Co-coordinator susanfayad@ballarat.vic.gov.au


Mr Trevor Budge AM (World Heritage – Strategic Projects Officer, City of Greater Bendigo)  – Bid Co-coordinator t.budge@bendigo.vic.gov.au

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