This report provides the conservation management plan for the precinct which comprises the High Court of Australia and National Gallery of Australia buildings and their associated landscape. The precinct is referred to as the High Court and National Gallery Precinct (the Precinct) in this plan. It is also known as the Arts and Civic Campus in the National Capital Plan and other Authority documents.

Purpose of Report

The 'High Court ñ National Gallery Precinct' (the Precinct) is listed on the Commonwealth Heritage List. The Precinct includes the High Court of Australia. the National Gallery of Australia and their associated landscape. This area is also part of the 'Parliament House Vista' Commonwealth Heritage Listing. Components of the Precinct are also individually listed on the Commonwealth Heritage List. These include the High Court of Australia, the National Gallery of Australia, and the Sculpture Garden of the national Gallery of Australia.

The Commonwealth Heritage List was created under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). It recognises places owned or managed by the Commonwealth Government that have Commonwealth Heritage values. Under the EPBC Act, all Commonwealth agencies are required to prepare management plans for Commonwealth Heritage Listed places under their management. The purpose of this management plan is to identify, protect and manage the heritage values of the Precinct. This management plan was prepared in accordance with the heritage management principles and requirements under the EPBC Act.

Key Findings

The Precinct is significant for its design achievement as a group of late twentieth century public buildings within a unifying landscape that was conceived and constructed as an integrated whole. The High Court and National Gallery buildings are excellent examples of Late Twentieth Century Brutalist style. It is a prominent example of Australian civic architecture from the 1970s, and is an exceptional example of Modern built and landscape architecture. The complex is stylistically integrated in terms of architectural forms and finishes, and as an ensemble of freestanding buildings in a cohesive landscape setting.

The setting is a major example of the Australian Native Landscape design style that developed in Australia in the 1960s. It is a fine example of the new found idiom of landscape design, a refinement of the work of the Sydney Bush School of landscape architecture, and provides reference to the local ecology of the Canberra region, particularly the Sculpture Garden.

The Precinct as a created landscape is a synthesis of strong built and landscaping design elements that expresses a clear Australian identity. It has important cultural associations (including the national art collection and the nation's highest court), aesthetically pleasing features, views and vistas, and references to the natural environment.

Recommendations

The management plan includes a range of conservation policies and recommendations to conserve, interpret and manage the High Court ñ National Gallery Precinct. The key recommendations aim to:

  • Conserve the significant components of the Precinct based on an understanding of the landscape design principles;
  • Maintain the balance of woodland, parkland and grassland character;
  • Provide guidance for future uses and changes to the Precinct.

Further Information

For further information, please contact the NCA Cultural Heritage Manager on heritage@natcap.gov.au or T 02 6271 2888.