The Burra Charter, from its first (1979) version and its (2013) version, defined a set of terms that have since been widely adopted in Australian heritage conservation practice.  

Where the following terms are used in their heritage management plan, the particular meanings defined in the charter are intended. The definitions are quoted from Article 1 of The Burra Charter. 29 


Adaptation means modifying a place to suit the existing use or a proposed use. 

Associations mean the special connections that exist between people and a place. 

Compatible use means a use which respects the cultural significance of a place. Such a use involves no, or minimal, impact on cultural significance. 

Conservation means all the processes of looking after a place so as to retain its cultural significance. 

Cultural significance means aesthetic, historic, scientific, social or spiritual value for past, present or future generations. Cultural significance is embodied in the place itself, its fabric, setting, use, associations, meanings, records, related places and related objects. Places may have a range of values for different individuals or groups.


Fabric means all the physical material of the place including components, fixtures, contents, and objects. 


Interpretation means all the ways of presenting the cultural significance of a place. 

Maintenance means the continuous protective care of a place, and its setting. Maintenance is to be distinguished from repair which involves restoration or reconstruction. 

Meanings denote what a place signifies, indicates, evokes or expresses to. 


Place means a geographically defined area. It may include elements, objects, spaces and view. Place may have tangible and intangible dimensions. 

Preservation means maintaining a place in its existing state and retarding deterioration.

Reconstruction means returning a place to a known earlier state and is distinguished from restoration by the introduction of new material. 

Related object means an object that contributes to the cultural significance of a place but is not at the place. 

Related place means a place that contributes to the cultural significance of another place. 

Restoration means returning a place to a known earlier state by removing accretions or by reassembling existing elements without the introduction of new material. 


Setting means the immediate and extended environment of a place that is part of or contributes to its cultural significance and distinctive character.


Use means the functions of a place, including the activities and traditional and customary practices that may occur at the place or at dependant on the place.