Melbourne Airport

Environment

Cultural Heritage

Objective – To ensure Indigenous and non-Indigenous (historical) cultural heritage sites are protected at Melbourne Airport, in accordance with Commonwealth and State legislative requirements.

Melbourne Airport is located on lands belonging to the Woiwurrung, one of the five language groups forming the Kulin Nation. Aboriginal and Cultural heritage sites at Melbourne Airport occur along waterways or on land adjacent to waterways. Sites have also been identified on airport land, where there is no water source, including on the volcanic plains and the Grey Box Woodland.

Aboriginal sites on airport land are likely to include isolated artefacts and low density artefact scatters, primarily consisting of silcrete. While stone artefacts scatters are the most common of indigenous sites, there are also some scarred trees in the Grey Box Woodland. As well as Aboriginal heritage sites, there are also five current historical heritage sites on airport land that are listed with the Victorian Heritage register; these include homesteads, a church and bridge ruins.

To recognise and protect cultural heritage at Melbourne Airport, a cultural heritage site register is maintained, which includes the locations of all indigenous and non-indigenous sites. Before beginning any major works Melbourne Airport liaises with the following specialists and stakeholders to manage any potential disturbance:

  • Cultural heritage advisors
  • Heritage Council of Victoria and local heritage interest groups
  • Aboriginal Affairs Victoria
  • Wurundjeri Tribe Land and Compensation Cultural Heritage Council Inc. which is the registered Aboriginal Party for Melbourne Airport land.

All heritage sites within Victoria are protected by the Heritage Act 1995. Melbourne Airport will seek advice through Heritage Victoria and/or from a qualified heritage specialists or archaeologist.

The most common cause of damage to cultural and aboriginal heritage sites is the inadequate identification and consideration of cultural heritage throughout the life of a project. Melbourne Airport undertakes voluntary Cultural Heritage Management Plans (CHMP’s) to managed perceived risks to cultural heritage values. For other works that are deemed to be of lower risk, works are managed under a Cultural Heritage Permit.

The 2013 Melbourne Airport Environmental Strategy outlines the following targets for cultural and Aboriginal heritage:

  1. Complete cultural heritage surveys to identify or confirm Indigenous and non-Indigenous sites at Melbourne Airport
  2. To comply with relevant legislation, APAM will require contractors and business operators to complete cultural heritage surveys and assessments and, where appropriate to prepare a CHMP for developments known to be on or near areas of cultural heritage significance.
  3. Continue to involve and consult with cultural heritage stakeholders, in particular the Registered Aboriginal party, the Wurundjeri Tribe Land and Compensation Cultural Heritage Council Inc.
  4. Provide annual training and awareness for relevant Melbourne Airport Employees and contractors on cultural heritage issues.