ACT Heritage Council

The ACT Heritage Council (the Council) is an independent, statutory body responsible for a range of provisions under the Heritage Act 2004 including:

  • identifying, assessing, conserving and promoting heritage places and objects in the ACT
  • making decisions about the registration of heritage places and objects
  • providing advice on works and development matters in accordance with the ACT’s land planning and development system
  • encouraging and assisting with appropriate management of heritage places and objects
  • encouraging public interest in, and awareness of, heritage places and objects in the ACT.

The Council comprises the Chief Planning Executive and Conservator of Flora and Fauna as ex-officio members and nine members appointed by the Minister. Three of these appointments are public representatives, including a representative from each of the ACT community, the Aboriginal community and the property ownership, management and development sector. The remaining six appointed members are experts in one or more of the following disciplines: Aboriginal culture, Aboriginal history, archaeology, architecture, engineering, history, landscape architecture, nature conservation, object conservation, town planning and urban design.

Appointed Council members are not government employees. Appointments are part-time and operate on an as-needs basis. Members, including the chair and deputy chair, attend meetings and Tribunal hearings, make decisions and determinations, review material and respond to media and other queries as required – often in addition to their own full or part-time regular employment. In this way, the Council operates in a similar way to many committees or management boards for various organisations and companies.

For this reason, it is not possible to make direct contact with Council members and the Council does not occupy any office space. If you have an enquiry, ACT Heritage, staffed by public officers, is the point of contact. Staff will act on behalf of the Minister or Council in responding to your queries or, where the need arises, will contact the Council or Minister on your behalf to seek further response.

You can contact ACT Heritage on 13 22 81 or by email to

Council members

Dr Laura Dawes (Expert in the discipline of history, other than Aboriginal history)

Dr Dawes is a professional historian and writer, specialising in science, medicine and their history. She has published three history books for the general reader and written for a number of online and print publications. She is a skilled and entertaining communicator, and is adept at engagement and collaborative projects.

Dr Dawes holds a Masters from Oxford University in Economic and Social History and PhD from Harvard University in History of Science.

Ms Amanda Evans (Expert in landscape architecture)

Ms Amanda Evans is a landscape architect who has had focus on heritage, policy and engagement. Her studies, research and teaching have had a strong focus on the ACT's heritage with numerous projects, including master plans, focusing on the conservation, interpretation and integration into the ACT land planning and development system. Her role as the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) President has focused on engagement with government and community groups which is supported by her involvement in several ACT community groups.

Mr David Flannery (Expert in architecture)

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

Mr Flannery has a Bachelor of Architecture and a Masters in Architectural Conservation. He has extensive experience of architectural and heritage conservation matters in the ACT having managed his own architectural practice. Mr Flannery is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects and a Member of the Planning Institute of Australia. He is a former member of the ACT Heritage Council (2003-05) and a past ACT Chapter President of the Australian Institute of Architects (2008-10). He continues to maintain roles as a researcher at Canberra Urban and Regional Futures at the University of Canberra and the Managing Director of David Flannery Architects.

Professor Roslynne Hansen (Expert in the discipline of town planning)

Prof Hansen has extensive experience in town planning and with various related boards and committees with a focus on heritage. She is a Honorary Life Member of the Property Council of Australia (Vic), a Life Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia and a Fellow of the Victorian Planning and Environmental Law Association, among many other honorary affiliations with professional and community associations. She has extensive experience in advocacy and as an expert witness in Civil and Administrative Tribunals and has strong consultation and engagement credentials.

Prof Hansen was a member of the Historic Buildings Council of Victoria (now Heritage Victoria Council) from 1986-1988 and chair of the same from 1988-1994. She is a preeminent urban planner with over four decades experience, including various urban conservation/cultural heritage studies, both in Australia and internationally.

Dr Douglas Hassall (Expert in the disciplines of history, other than Aboriginal history, and town planning)

Dr Hassall has been a Practising Barrister since 1992 and he has served on the Council of the ACT Bar Association. Earlier, he held several Commonwealth statutory appointments, including as a Federal Court Registrar. Prior to that he served as a Principal Legal Officer in the Federal Attorney-General's Department at Canberra during which time he worked on the establishment of the Federal Office of Director of Public Prosecutions, (and the associated Federal Prosecutions Guidelines), the National Crime Authority (now the Australian Crime Commission) and upon significant amendments to federal legislation, including the Royal Commissions Act 1902 and the Judiciary Act 1903 (Commonwealth). He has contributed to several legal texts, journal articles and practice guides and has served on various legal professional committees. He has very wide expertise in Civil and in Governmental Law.

Dr Hassall majored in Law, History and Fine Arts at University and has published on the application of various laws to the heritage and cultural fields and upon public collections.

Dr Ken Heffernan (Expert in archaeology)

Dr Ken Heffernan is a current member of the ACT Heritage Council under the discipline of Archaeology, and recently appointed Deputy Chair of the Council.

Dr Heffernan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Pre-History, Bachelor of Laws and a PhD in Archaeology. Dr Heffernan served as the ACT Heritage Council Deputy Chair from 1995-97 and as a member from 1992-95. Dr Heffernan has worked as a consultant in Aboriginal and historical archaeology as well as a lecturer in archaeology at ANU. He is currently semi-retired, volunteering at the Hall School Museum.

Ms Edwina Jans (Community representative)

Ms Edwina Jans is an experienced heritage professional having worked on and managed several significant heritage sites across the country and internationally. She has extensive experience presenting heritage education to the general public and to other heritage professionals. She has been a member of various heritage and community boards and committees including government and professional bodies. She has had a significant role in the heritage, education and redevelopment programs at Old Parliament House.

Mr Gary Shipp (Aboriginal community representative)

Mr Shipp is a Wiradjuri man, originally from Dubbo, NSW. Mr Shipp has lived in the ACT since 1976, developing close relationships with the Aboriginal community in the ACT and surrounding areas. Mr Shipp was previously the Head of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Centre at ANU. He has also served as the Inaugural Director of the Centre for Indigenous Studies at Charles Sturt University and Head of the Dubbo Campus. Mr Shipp was most recently the Special Adviser Indigenous Affairs at Charles Sturt University, until his retirement in 2013.

Ms Gay Williamson (Property Ownership, Management and Development Sector representative)

Ms Gay Williamson is a landscape architect. She holds extensive experience in the broader urban planning, management and development issues in the ACT. She has chaired many professional working and awards committees including the Australian Institute of Architects, Planning Institute of Australia and the Master Builders Association. She has been a guest speaker at the ACT Woman's Council and several national design and planning conferences.