ACT Heritage Council

The Council is an independent body established under the Heritage Act 2004. Council’s role includes identification and assessment of nominations to the ACT Heritage Register and providing advice on appropriate conservation of cultural, natural and Aboriginal heritage places and objects in the ACT.

ACT Heritage factsheets  

The ACT Heritage Council

The ACT Heritage Council was appointed on the 12 May 2011 under the Heritage Act 2004. The council consists of the following members:

  • Mr Duncan Marshall (Chair)
  • Dr Dianne Firth (Deputy Chair)
  • Dr Michael Pearson
  • Mr John Miller
  • Ms Sharon Payne
  • Dr Lenore Coltheart
  • Dr Warren Nicholls
  • Ms Pamela O'Neil

Mr Duncan Marshall

Mr Duncan Marshall is a current member of the ACT Heritage Council under the discipline of Architecture, and Chair of the Council.

Mr Marshall has a Bachelor of Architecture (Honours), Bachelor of Arts, and is an ACT Registered Architect.

Mr Marshall is a Heritage Consultant with over 25 years experience in heritage conservation, including six years with the Australian Heritage Commission, two years with the National Trust and 20 years in private practice.

He has extensive policy and program experience at senior levels in Commonwealth agencies and the voluntary conservation movement related to heritage conservation matters; particular knowledge of the conservation planning process including the use of criteria and thresholds for assessing cultural significance; and considerable experience in undertaking policy and procedural reviews including extensive consultation with stakeholders.

He has an excellent knowledge of the Heritage Act 2004 and the workings of the Heritage Council and Heritage Unit through his 2010 review of the Act.

Mr Marshall is an Honorary Life Member of Australia ICOMOS, and Member of the National Trust of Australia (ACT), Canberra and District Historical Society, and is a former member of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects (ACT Chapter), Register of Significant 20th Century Architecture Committee (1986-2006). Mr Marshall was a member of the Australia ICOMOS working group which prepared the current version of the Burra Charter (1999).

Mr Marshall is an Associated Fellow of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), and has assisted UNITAR for over a decade with training in World Heritage matters.

Dr Dianne Firth

Dr Dianne Firth (Deputy Chair) has a PhD (University of Canberra), BLArch (Canberra College of Advanced Education) DipEd (University of Newcastle), BSc (University of New South Wales). She is the Head of Landscape Architecture, School of Design and Architecture, University of Canberra and the Director of LFA (ACT) Pty Ltd.

Dr Firth is a Corporate Member of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects since 1987, Member of the University of Canberra Committee for People with Disabilities, Member University of Canberra Environment Committee, Member ACT Board of Senior Secondary School Studies, Member ACT Place Names Committee and an Accredited Member Craft ACT.

Dr Firth has a research interest in history, theory and practice of Landscape Architecture, particularly the designed landscape of Canberra. Dr Firth has had a numerous amount of publications since 1997. Some of her most recent Landscape Practice Activities include the Australian Institute of Sport Masterplan Review, Tanjil Loop Bushfire Recovery Housing Redevelopment, Burnie Court Masterplan and Stage 1 OPA Development, Jerilderie Court External Works and Landscape Upgrade, Illawarra Court External Works and Landscape Upgrade, Tuggeranong Lakeshore Masterplan and Residential gardens in Canberra, Sydney and South Coast.

Ms Sharon Payne

Ms Payne is a member of the Aboriginal community, with traditional affiliation with land outside of the ACT. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (majors in anthropology and psychology) and a post-graduate Diploma in Aboriginal Studies. Ms Payne has been a member of local community committees and boards in NSW, the ACT and the Northern Territory. 

Since arriving in the ACT around 25 years ago, Ms Payne has been closely involved with the local Aboriginal community.  Ms Payne currently runs her own consultancy business, with recent projects including public speaking, chairing National Conferences, developing community surveys/focus groups and cross cultural awareness programs, facilitation of workshops, reports and research on various topics for government and non-government agencies.

Dr Lenore Coltheart

Dr Lenore Coltheart has over 20 years experience in heritage research and advice. Her published works cover topics including landscape heritage, engineering heritage and architectural heritage on sites and buildings in the Northern Territory, New South Wales, South Australia and the ACT. Dr Coltheart has a particular interest in the interpretation of public buildings and public spaces, and in the use of digital media for recording and publication.

Dr Warren Nicholls

Dr Warren Nicholls is an Environmental Consultant. He has a Bachelor of Science (Honours) and a PHD from the ANU. Dr Nicholls has worked with the Australian Heritage Commission, has been the Director of the World Heritage Unit in Environment Australia and also worked with UNESCO on discussions with the North Korean Government on their cultural and natural heritage properties. Dr Nicholls recently led an AusAid project in South Africa on management arrangements for World Heritage property.

Dr Michael Pearson

Dr Michael Pearson has an Honours Degree in Ancient History (Class 1), a PhD in Prehistoric and Historical Archaeology, was a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Prehistory, University of Western Australia and an Adjunct Professor, Cultural Heritage Management, University of Canberra. Dr Pearson is former president of Australia ICOMOS, the professional body of heritage practitioners.

Since 1993 Dr Michael Pearson, as Heritage Management Consultants Pty Ltd has been involved in over 90 heritage consulting projects including conservation management plans for High Court of Australia, National Gallery of Australia and Old Parliament House. His research has resulted in over 70 publications (articles, chapters and books) on aspects of heritage conservation, management and government involvement, whaling, archaeology & history of 19th century small scale rural industries and many other Australian and polar history topics. Dr Pearson is a current member of the Interim Namadgi Advisory Board.

Mr John Miller

Mr John Miller has a BA and is currently the Executive Director of the Master Builders Association of the ACT (MBA).

Mr Miller’s position at the Master Builders Association of the ACT involves lobbying on behalf of the ACT building and construction industry, overseeing MBA’s Group Training company, which currently employs and trains approximately 250 apprentices in a variety of building and construction trades, liaising with several government department regarding planning and land issues, involvement on a variety of government committees and Task Forces and liaising with MBA’s 1200 members.

Prior to being appointed Executive Director of the MBA, Mr Miller was the Executive Director of the Canberra Business Council. In this role, involvement included representation on a number of Task Forces including Economic Impacts, Environment, Business Regulatory, Tourism Arts and Sport, Innovation & Education, International Business and Planning.

Mr Miller is a current member of the Canberra Business Council – Planning, Infrastructure and Environment Taskforce; the Commercial Advisory Committee; the Residential Advisory Committee; Industry Reference Group and the Master Builder Skills Centre Building Trust Fund. He was also appointed as an Honorary Ambassador for Canberra to promote the economic development of the Territory and the region and has had local and national involvement on tourism bodies over many years.

Ms Pamela O'Neil 

Ms Pamela O'Neil's involvement in heritage assessment is long standing.  A Senior Member of the ACT Administrative Appeals Tribunal for over a decade, she has detailed knowledge of heritage, land and planning law and policy in the ACT.  Previously she was a Director of the Australian Heritage Commission.  She holds a B.Sc. from the University of Queensland and is a Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration.