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

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.

David graduated in Architecture from the University of Sydney in 1978 and undertook post graduate studies in architectural conservation at the University of York (UK) 1982-83. David started his professional career with the NSW Government Architect’s office in 1979, working in the Historic Buildings Group (1983-85) on a number of significant building conservation and urban works for the Australian Bicentenary in 1988 including refurbishment works at Hyde Parks Barracks, Sydney Mint, Parliament House and NSW Government House; the Macquarie Street upgrade and the Circular Quay Redevelopment. He also worked at this time with the professional support group for the NSW Heritage Council.

Subsequently David worked with Lawrence Nield & Partners Australia (Associate 1985-1992), May Flannery Architects (Managing Director 1992-1999), BVN Architecture (Practice Director 1999-2010) and the University of Canberra (Lecturer in Architecture 2010-2012). 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 Architect undertaking architectural and heritage conservation commissions.

His architectural project experience includes design and construction phase roles with numerous Canberra buildings including the heritage refurbishment of East Block for the National Archives of Australia; education projects at Amaroo, Palmerston, Ngunnawal, Marist College Canberra and the ANU Medical School at The Canberra Hospital (Canberra Medallion 2007 Australian Institute of Architects); and public buildings including the Canberra Library and Link at Civic Square and The Q Performing Arts Centre at Queanbeyan.

David has lived in Canberra since 1987. He 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). David is also a keen photographer with a passion for wildlife photography.

Dr Dianne Firth (Expert in landscape architecture)

Dr Dianne Firth has a PhD (University of Canberra), BLArch (Canberra College of Advanced Education) DipEd (University of Newcastle), and BSc (University of New South Wales). She is Adjunct Associate Professor, Faculty Arts and Design, University of Canberra and the Director of LFA (ACT) Pty Ltd. The title of her PhD is ‘Behind the Landscape of Lake Burley Griffin: Landscape. Water. Politics and the National Capital 1899-1964’.

Dr Firth is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, a member of the Design Review Panel, Land Development Agency, a past Member of the ACT Place Names Committee, and advisor to ACT and Commonwealth Governments on tree replacement and open space strategies. She is also an Accredited Member of Craft ACT.

Dr Firth has a research interest in history, theory and practice of Landscape Architecture, particularly the designed landscape of Canberra and as well as supervising PhD students, regularly publishes articles on Canberra’s landscape and gives public lectures. She has co-authored conservation plans for Parkes Place, the National Rose Gardens, Gorman House, the Carillon and Aspen Island and chaired the Review of the National Capital Open Space System for the National Capital Authority. Some of her Landscape Practice Activities include the design of the Childcare Gardens at Parliament House, the Masterplan Review for the Australian Institute of Sport, Jerilderie Court External Works and Landscape Upgrade, Tuggeranong Lakeshore Masterplan and the design of numerous estate and residential gardens in Canberra, Sydney and the South Coast.

Mr Gary Shipp (Aboriginal community representative)

Gary Shipp is a Wiradjuri man originally from Dubbo NSW. Gary has been a resident of the ACT since January 1976. Gary holds a Bachelor of Arts (majors in anthropology and psychology) from the ANU.

Gary has developed close relationships with the Aboriginal community in both Canberra and surrounding areas. In particular, Gary has a strong commitment to engaging with the community and elders for advice and forward planning.

Following a long career in the Commonwealth Public Service, Gary was appointed Head of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Centre at ANU in 2002. In 2007 he was appointed the Inaugural Director of the Centre for Indigenous Studies at Charles Sturt University. Whilst employed at Charles Sturt University, Gary was also appointed Head of the Dubbo Campus (Vice Chancellor’s representative for Dubbo and surrounding region). Gary was later appointed Special Adviser Indigenous Affairs at Charles Sturt University which he held until retirement in December 2013.

Gary has a strong interest in heritage matters and the awareness of heritage places and objects particularly as it relates to our Aboriginal heritage. Gary is married with 2 children who also work and live in Canberra.

Mr Philip Nizette (Community representative)

Mr Nizette is a Landscape Architect, public art consultant, community development worker and sculptor with over 28 years experience in the field, and is a Partner of Wellspring Environmental Arts & Design. In professional and volunteer capacities he has been involved with numerous Heritage related projects and issues since 1985. He is a strong advocate for valuing, acknowledging and interpreting all types of heritage in a permanent and public manner for the benefit of community and greater understanding.

He has a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, University of Canberra, ACT, 1985, with a thesis on Public Art, integrating Landscape Architecture and Arts / Community practices. He also holds an Associate Diploma in Sculpture, Canberra School of Art, Australian National University, 1996.

Mr Nizette has strong skills in landscape architecture and design, collaboration, communication, project management and community design/development. He has lectured and tutored in Landscape Architecture and community design and is an advocate for community facilities and events. Wellspring has successfully completed many environmental design, public art and community development projects for Government, private sector and community clients since 1995 around Australia and internationally.

He has held committee positions in the community and Government sector in the fields of arts and health, and is currently the Deputy Chair of the Belconnen Arts Centre Board.

Mr Doug Williams (Expert in archaeology)

Mr Doug Williams – a consultant archaeologist – is the Council’s expert in the discipline of archaeology. Mr Williams holds a BA (Hons) in archaeology, a Graduate Diploma in Applied Science (Cultural Heritage Management) and is a full member of the Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists. He has experience in both Aboriginal and historical archaeology. In addition to working as a consultant in the ACT, NSW, Victoria, SA, WA and Queensland, Mr Williams has worked for the NSW and Victorian State governments as an archaeologist and heritage manager, including four years as the Executive Officer for the Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage Area. Through this long standing archaeological career, Mr Williams has worked extensively and cooperatively with Aboriginal people and has a deep appreciation of their cultures and histories. Whilst a current resident of NSW, Mr Williams has a demonstrated strong and enduring connection to the ACT, having lived here for 11 years, and having strong educational and work connections in the ACT.

Ms Rachel Jackson (Expert in architecture)

Ms Rachel Jackson joins the council with over 20 years experience in the heritage field and is to be appointed against the architecture discipline. After completing a Bachelor of Design and Masters of Heritage Conservation, Ms Jackson has worked in multiple areas of heritage practice (public and private) including strategic heritage advice, heritage impact assessments, heritage assessments, conservation management plans, cultural landscape assessment, as well as management and sustainability in heritage. She is currently the Principal Director of GML Heritage and is a member of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Cultural Landscapes Committee and the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee for Energy and Sustainability Committee.

Dr Ken Heffernan (Expert in history)

Dr Ken Heffernan has an academic background in arts, law, heritage conservation and holds a PhD in archaeology. With over 15 years experience in the Commonwealth sector as a heritage executive, Dr Heffernan as a strong background in heritage assessment, policy and legislation concepts. He has experience in Aboriginal and historical archaeology as a consultant and lecturer at Australian National University (ANU). Dr Herrernan joins the committee against the archaeology discipline.

Professor Nicholas Brown (Expert in history)

Professor Nicholas Brown is currently the head of the School of History and Professor of History at the ANU. Professor Brown notes a particular interest in the relationship between historic context and contemporary planning issues demonstrating a balanced and pragmatic approach to heritage places and objects. He has published several works dealing with the ACT’s urban history and planning, heritage, policy and processes including the publication A History of Canberra. He is the current Chair of the Commonwealth working party for the Australian Dictionary of Biography and also the current convenor of the Canberra Museum and Gallery’s Advisory Committee. Professor Brown is to be appointed against the historian discipline in the Committee.