To guide the management of Lake Burley Griffin and Adjacent Lands the NCA has prepared a heritage management plan to identify, protect and manage the heritage values. The heritage management plan has been prepared in accordance with the heritage management principles and requirements for management plans set out in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

The draft management plan was on public exhibition from 1 April 2009 to 29 May 2009. The final plan has been considered by the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts and available below.

Purpose of Report

'Lake Burley Griffin and Adjacent Lands' (the Lake) is nominated for Commonwealth Heritage Listing. The nominated area covers approximately 6,640 hectares including:

  • Lake Burley Griffin bounded by the entrances of the Molonglo River, Jerrabomberra Creek and Sullivans Creek, and Scrivener Dam;
  • Springbank and Spinnaker Islands. The Carillon is listed separately on the Commonwealth Heritage List;
  • Scrivener Dam;
  • Commonwealth Avenue Bridge and Kings Avenue Bridge;
  • Stirling Ridge, Stirling Park, Attunga Point, Yarramundi Grasslands, Roman Cypress Hill and the Lindsay Pryor Arboretum.

The Central Basin of Lake Burley Griffin is also part of the 'Parliament House Vista' Commonwealth Heritage Listing.

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 Lake Burley Griffin and Adjacent Lands. This management plan was prepared in accordance with the heritage management principles and requirements under the EPBC Act.

This management plan has been considered by the Department of the Environment.

Key Findings

The Lake Burley Griffin area possesses outstanding creative, technical and aesthetic heritage values for the nation as a whole. The lake is valued highly by communities for its landmark value, as a symbol of Canberra and as an iconic cultural landscape, which for many is a symbol of local identity. Completed in 1964, Lake Burley Griffin is an essential part of what defines Canberra, and an essential component of the Griffin plan for a lake to link and unify the axis and vistas of the plan to the underlying landform of the place.

The lake is a unique and creative aspect of Australia's most successful urban plan, which is highly valued by communities for its recreational uses and aesthetic qualities. The lake is an outstanding successful engineering and technical achievement which underpins the success of its creative and aesthetic qualities.

The nominated area also possesses highly significant historical, rarity, social, representative and associative values which meet the threshold for Commonwealth Heritage listing.

The Lake Burley Griffin and adjacent lands is important for its association with the creation of the national capital and subsequent phases of national development. It reflects two key periods of urban design: the City Beautiful / Garden City discourses (associated with the design if the lake); and the later discourses of International Modernism, associated with it construction, its edge treatments and features, including the fish-belly flap gates of Scrivener Dam and the bridges. The Lake also has links to Canberra's history including the workers of the temporary Westlake settlement and the construction of the first sewer infrastructure for the capital.

The lake is associated with important individuals involved in the creative and technical aspects of the design and construction of the lake, such as Walter Burley Griffin, Marion Mahony Griffin, Charles Scrivner, John Sulman, Charles Weston, Lindsay Pryor, Sir William Holford, Dame Sylvia Crowe, Richard Clough, Peter Harrison, Trevor Gibson and John Overall. Roman Cypress Hill and the Lindsay Pryor Arboretum are sites within the nominated area which are associated with the work of Griffin and Pryor. It possesses research potential relating to the study of the history and development of urban design and key practitioners in this area.

The nominated area supports natural areas valued as remnants of the pre-settlement environment and an aquatic ecosystem which is valued by the community. This includes habitats for threatened ecological communities and species: yellow box-Blakely's red gum grassy woodland, temperate natural grasslands, the Button wrinklewort, striped legless lizard, Perunga grasshopper and the Murray Cod. The occurrence of threatened ecological communities and species also provide some opportunities for scientific research.

The Indigenous archaeological sites in the nominated area are valued highly by Indigenous communities as evidence of their traditional occupation of this area. These sites also possess research potential for contributing to an understanding of past Indigenous lifeways in the area. It possesses significant scientific research value and values as part of Indigenous tradition, which also meet the threshold for Commonwealth Heritage Listing.


The management plan includes a range of conservation policies and recommendations to conserve, interpret and manage the heritage values of Lake Burley Griffin and Adjacent Lands. These are divided into four volumes including:

  • Lake Burley Griffin
  • Stirling Ridge and Attunga Point
  • Yarramundi Peninsula
  • Dam and Bridges

The purpose of the recommendations is to ensure that the future use and enhancement of the Lake is informed by the heritage values. The conservation policies recognises the diversity of character of the Lake and the many individually significant places to be found within it. It also promotes a holistic approach to the future management of the Lake as a cultural landscape.

Further information

For further information, please contact the NCA Cultural Heritage Manager at or 02 6271 2888.