Note: The management of sensitive information is not relevant to AMSA’s heritage strategy and therefore bears no relevance in this management plan. 

Fabric and setting 

Policy 1—Protect and conserve the significant external and internal fabric of the lightstation, including existing buildings, layout and setting. 

AMSA’s main purpose is to facilitate ongoing operation of the site as a marine AtoN while preserving the site’s heritage values. As part of a heritage monitoring program, Heritage Asset Condition Reports are produced for each site every two years which evaluates the condition of the heritage fabric and values. Routine servicing is also carried out by maintenance contractors. Regular written reports from these visits will be sent to AMSA for review and any work requirements identified will be scheduled accordingly. Should for some unforeseen reason the site no longer be viable as a marine AtoN, ownership will be passed to an appropriate state of federal authority to ensure preservation of the heritage assets.

Implementation strategy:

  • Continue scheduled periodic maintenance of the lighthouse and marine aid to navigation to ensure its condition is monitored for early warning of deterioration.
  • Continue the scheduled heritage monitoring visits to Montague Island and review Heritage Asset Condition Reports.
  • Arrange for maintenance to be carried out on the lighthouse as required while continuing to operate as an AMSA marine aid to navigation.
  • Continue replacement and upgrading of marine aid to navigation equipment in the lighthouse as required to meet AMSA’s service commitment, in a manner that preserves the original fabric of the lighthouse.
  • Maintain information on the heritage fabric of the lighthouse including any and all actions, treatments and inspection outcomes within the heritage fabric register. See section 4.1 for fabric register.
  • Conserve all the fabric elements identified as significant in the heritage fabric register.


Policy 2—Install and operate equipment in the lighthouse, so that it continues to function as an effective marine aid to navigation, in such a way as to impose the least possible harm to the significant fabric.

Montague Island Lighthouse’s use as a working marine AtoN is a high priority. The carrying out of maintenance, including upgrades to navigational equipment, is necessary to its function and to the continuation of marine safety along the New South Wales coast. In the event of the installation and/or upgrade to AtoN equipment, proper precaution will be taken to ensure the least possible harm is done to significant fabric.

Implementation strategy:

  • Monitor Montague Island’s AtoN equipment and propose maintenance in the instance of necessary installation or removal.
  • Outline all possible risks to significant fabric, external and internal, associated with the installation, removal and operation of navigational equipment.
  • Ensure works carried out are those that ensure the least possible harm to significant fabric.
  • When necessary, seek expert heritage conservation advice on best practice management of the site during installation, removal and operation of navigational equipment.

Policy 3—Monitor possible impacts to the site resulting from tourism, and control appropriate access to the lighthouse for contractors and visitors. 

The Montague Island Lighthouse attracts hundreds of visitors each year. Although access inside the lighthouse is restricted to authorised personnel only such as contractors and AMSA employees, official tour groups also oversee the admittance of tourists from sunrise to sunset. AMSA personnel and contractors require easy access inside the lighthouse precinct and tower for periodical site visits to carry out inspections and routine maintenance. 

Implementation strategy:

  • Ensure control on access to all buildings within the precinct is maintained by periodically inspecting restricted access areas on the precinct and enforcing security checks. 
  • Inspect lighthouse for signs of wear and tear attributed to visitor intake.
  • The maintenance of the light holds priority over official tours inside the lighthouse and some delays in the tour guide service may be required during inspections and routine maintenance.
  • Ensure access to the lightstation complies with workplace health and safety measures.
  • Ensure general public access admittance inside the lighthouse is monitored and supervised by NPWS. 
  • Ensure access to lighthouse site is available for Indigenous people to maintain cultural traditions. 


Policy 4—Accurate and relevant interpretation of the history and significance of the place should be made available to site users/visitors and for offsite external research. 

AMSA will continue to have this information available through the maintenance of onsite interpretive signage and its website. 

Implementation strategy:

  • All relevant information concerning the history and significance of the place will be checked for accuracy and updated appropriately. 
  • Information will be presented in the form of on-site interpretive signage and online resource files, accessible to both relevant personnel and the general public. 
  • This information will be maintained and updated in accordance with changes to the history and significance of the place. 


Policy 5—AMSA will continue to conserve the lighthouse in accordance with Commonwealth listing requirements. 

For works requiring heritage approval, AMSA will obtain permission from any relevant state or federal authorities. Continuous or as-needed conservation works will be undertaken as required. 

Implementation strategy:

  • Liaise with the relevant federal agencies when proposing work on the site. 
  • Approval in writing from the appropriate federal and/or state authorities must be granted for any proposals for development.

Policy 6—The cultural significance of the lightstation will be the basis for deciding how to manage it.

AMSA’s lease encompasses land within a State Nature Reserve and gazetted Aboriginal Place, and the heritage, natural and cultural significance of the place are to be conserved. This heritage management plan includes relevant background information to support this policy (See Section 3. History).

Implementation strategy:

  • Conserve the lightstation to protect its heritage values and cultural and natural significance.
  • When possible, strive to maintain the original fabric of the lightstation.
  • Use the Burra Charter as the primary guide for the treatment of fabric.
  • Engage appropriately qualified heritage consultants when making decisions regarding impact on heritage values.
  • Assess impacts on the heritage values of the place when considering proposed alterations or adaptations.
  • Assess impacts on the cultural and natural values of the Nature Reserve and gazetted Aboriginal Place when considering proposed alterations or adaptations.

Policy 7—Monitor, review and report the Commonwealth heritage values of the lightstation every five years or sooner if major changes to the lightstation occur.

The Commonwealth heritage values of the lightstation are to be monitored and reported on a regular basis. This is to ensure a gain and/or loss of heritage value is identified.

Implementation strategy:

  • Regularly monitor the lightstation for possible impacts on the identified Commonwealth heritage values.
  • Review the current Commonwealth heritage values at least once every five years and assess any gain or loss of values.
  • This review must be undertaken in the event of any major alterations to the lightstation.
  • Report any changes to the Commonwealth heritage values of the lightstation.
  • Update AMSA’s heritage strategy and this plan to reflect any changes identified.
  • Review and update Heritage Asset Condition Report biennially.

Policy 8—Maintain historical, management and maintenance records within AMSA and make available these records.

As part of the proper process for managing change in significant places, the Burra Charter points out the importance of making records before any change. It advocates placing records in a permanent archive, and making them available where this is appropriate. AMSA’s collection of records, which include documents pertaining to heritage intervention, management and maintenance, are subject to this process. Heritage asset condition reports are routinely generated for each lighthouse and are stored in AMSA’s recordkeeping system. AMSA will continue to practice such processes via their records management systems (RMS).

Implementation strategy:

  • Maintain, review and update records through existing AMSA RMS.
  • Ensure records can be made available to the relevant personnel and parties.

Policy 9—Provide appropriate training and resources to all relevant AMSA staff, contractors and licencees.

The management of a heritage place is outlined within the statutory requirements of the EPBC Act and EPBC Regulations. In order to ensure best practice management of AMSA-operated lighthouses, all staff, contractors and licencees are required to have access to the appropriate training and resources in order to provide best practice conservation of the site. 

Implementation strategy: 

  • Provide staff, contractors and licencees access to up-to-date versions of the AMSA heritage strategy, heritage management plans and fabric registers. 
  • AMSA representatives will attend Commonwealth-run heritage workshops, programs and conferences for up-to-date information on statutory requirements and best practice management of sites of national and state heritage significance. 
  • Inductions relating to AMSA’s Commonwealth Heritage obligations and the EPBC Act (1999) will be made available to relevant AMSA staff and contractors engaged with heritage sites. 
  • All current and incoming tour guides operating within AMSA lighthouses will be required to take the lighthouse tour guide safety induction e-learning module once every two years to stay informed on visitor safety and lighthouse duty-of-care and the site’s heritage values. 
  • Training will also be achieved through: engagement with AMSA’s Heritage Strategy and Heritage Management Plans, ongoing consultation with heritage professionals and Traditional owners, and access to key best practice guides such as Ask First, the Burra Charter, and the EPBC Act  (1999).

Policy 10—Utilise contractors and service providers with appropriate experience. 

AMSA should ensure parties carrying out work have appropriate knowledge and use effective methods to ensure the conservation of the lighthouse. 

Implementation strategy:

  • Engage staff and contractors with the relevant experience and expertise concerning conservation of the lightstation.  
  • If and when necessary, provide the appropriate training on heritage conservation matters for AMSA staff and other relevant parties who hold responsibility for heritage management. 

Policy 11—Seek heritage advice and apply best heritage practice. 

AMSA will continue to use in-house heritage expertise, external consultancy, or a combination of both as required in order to successfully apply best heritage practice. Should in-house heritage expertise be limited in responding to a requirement, external heritage expertise will be engaged to address the issue. 

Implementation strategy:

  • Apply in-house heritage expertise when required.
  • Use tools such as the Burra Charter and Working Together: Managing Commonwealth Heritage Places (Commonwealth of Australia, 2019) in measuring the likely impact of proposals. 
  • Seek external heritage expertise in the event of limited in-house capability.

Policy 12—Appropriate protocol in the event of unforeseen discoveries or disturbances of heritage within the AMSA site.

AMSA’s scope of work rarely involves excavation. Should extensive work need to be undertaken, AMSA will implement a suitable cultural heritage management plan (CHMP) and seek advice from suitably qualified personnel as required. Assessments will be carried out on any potential impacts to the place’s cultural or natural significance as a nature reserve and gazetted Aboriginal Place. In the event of any unforeseen discovery or disturbance of heritage-related items within the AMSA site, notification to the appropriate organisation will occur in accordance with the conditions of the CHMP. This plan will also be updated accordingly.

Note: In most cases generally AMSA’s leases are limited to the immediate vicinity of the lighthouse and therefore this scenario is not anticipated as a likely occurrence.

Implementation strategy:

  • Carry out assessments on any potential impact to natural or cultural significance prior to any excavations.
  • Seek appropriate heritage advice and apply best practice in the event of unforeseen discoveries or disturbances.

Policy 13—Make this Heritage Management Plan available to all persons involved in decision-making on the management of the Lighthouse and its setting.

The plan will be made available to all personnel intrinsic to management of the lighthouse and its setting, for example AMSA maintenance contractors, staff and other relevant parties.
Implementation strategy:

  • Provide links to this plan via the AMSA publicly accessible website.
  • Provide copies to all relevant personnel and parties.

Future Developments

Policy 14—Adaptation of the place using methods or processes that minimize impact on heritage values and significance in accordance with Burra Charter principles.

It is likely that over time the lighthouse will house new equipment as technology changes and improves. The Burra Charter principles will be used as the basis for decision-making.

Implementation strategy:

  • Assess the likely impacts of changes on the heritage values and significance of the place.
  • Preserve the original fabric of the place and do only what is necessary for the continued use and care of the place.
  • Engage expert heritage advice and utilise the Burra Charter in adapting the place.

Policy 15—When required, engage with adjacent landowners to maintain an appropriate setting for the lighthouse in its visual and natural context.

As the site is a nature reserve and a gazetted Aboriginal Place, any changes to the surrounding land, or AMSA leased area, requires careful consideration. AMSA will liaise with all adjacent landowners in the event of any proposed changes that may affect the setting and attempt to influence a positive outcome.

Implementation strategy:

  • Engage with adjacent landowners through consultation when changes are proposed regarding the wider visual and natural context.

Policy 16—In the event of adaptive re-use or divestment (an instance(s) which would no longer place the lighthouse under AMSA control), AMSA will strive to ensure the Commonwealth and NSW State heritage values of the site are recognised and preserved.

In the event the Montague Island Lighthouse is no longer identified as a working AtoN, AMSA will withdraw their standing as lessee and hand over all authority to the lessor as required s 341ZE of the EPBC Act (1999). 

Implementation strategy:

  • AMSA will negotiate with lessor to have site lease terminated. 
  • All available heritage information within AMSA’s collection, including this plan, will be shared with the relevant parties to ensure the Commonwealth and NSW State heritage values values of the site are recognised and preserved.
  • Community Involvement

Policy 17—Consult with indigenous and community stakeholders in the preparation of the management plan. 

AMSA will give community and Indigenous groups, as well as the general public, an opportunity to review and comment on this management plan through a public consultation process. 

Implementation strategy:

  • Undertake community consultation when preparing the heritage management plan in accordance with EPBC Regulations (2000). 
  • Seek advice from any relevant Indigenous communities and refer to Engage Early—Guidance for proponents on best practice Indigenous engagement 
  • for environmental assessments under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). 


Policy 18—Review this plan within five years of its adoption or sooner if major changes are needed. This plan will be reviewed every five years. This review should: 

  • Assess the content of the plan.
  • Determine its effectiveness in protecting the identified heritage values. 
  • Provide any necessary recommendations for updating or re-writing of the plan. If major changes occur at the site in the interim, this plan will be reviewed and updated earlier than the specified five years. 

Implementation strategy:

  • Review this heritage management plan at least five years after its adoption. 
  • Review and update this heritage management plan in the event of a major change to the lightstation. 
  • Submit revised plan for approval.