Protecting our heritage

We are committed to recognising and protecting Stonnington's rich and varied heritage, which is highly prized and a big contributor to what makes our city such a desirable place to live, work and visit.

A heritage place can be a site, a building, a group of buildings, a structure, a garden, or a place of natural or cultural significance. 

Our Heritage Strategy 2018-2029 provides a roadmap for how we will work with the community, the Victorian Government and heritage groups to ensure the history of Stonnington is well understood, protected and celebrated.

With planning controls such as the heritage overlay, we protect the diverse building and places important to us now, and create a legacy for generations to come.

What we protect

Since 2006, a heritage overlay has been applied to more than 2,000 properties and places, covering over 25 per cent of the municipality.

A key strategic priority is balancing the protection of heritage buildings and neighbourhood character alongside pressure for more intense development.

Potential heritage controls are assessed based on established criteria, considering such things as historical significance, rarity and aesthetic characteristics.

Individual sites can be selected to be placed under a heritage overlay and overlays can also be applied to areas where a significant number of older properties combine to create a heritage precinct (for example: a streetscape that has not significantly changed since it was first developed).

Check for a heritage overlay

To find out if a property is subject to heritage protection search the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning database.

Search the Victorian Heritage database for information on places protected by a heritage overlay.  The heritage report for each place or precinct includes a statement of significance which identifies what, how and why a place is of heritage significance.

Applying a heritage overlay

Before a heritage overlay can be applied to a property, place or precinct, a heritage study (prepared in accordance with our Heritage Strategy and Action Plan) must be completed to identify when, how and how the place has heritage value.

Places that demonstrate heritage significance may be recommended for heritage protection, which comes into effect through an amendment to the Stonnington Planning Scheme.

Current studies and amendments

For a list of current studies and amendments visit the Planning Scheme and amendments page.

Completed studies and amendments

Scheme amendment Completed
C282ston – Extends existing The Avenue heritage precinct and protects three individual heritage properties


The Amendment applies the heritage overlay to the properties at 1026 Malvern Road, Armadale (HO636), 44 Murphy Street, South Yarra (HO639), 46 Kyarra Road, Glen Iris (HO638) and extends an existing heritage precinct (HO148 The Avenue Precinct, Windsor) to include the properties at 31-53 The Avenue (odd numbers), Windsor.
December 2019
C132 – Heritage policy and guidelines


Amends Clause 22.04 Heritage Policy and makes minor associated changes to Clause 21.06 Built Environment and Heritage and Clause 21.09 Reference Documents of the Municipal Strategic Statement.

January 2018
C270 – Federation Houses Study


Implements recommendations of the Federation Houses Study, September 2017 by applying the Heritage Overlay on a permanent basis to 36 places and two precincts of local heritage significance in the City of Stonnington.
July 2019
C249 – Victorian Houses Study


Replace interim Heritage Overlay controls with permanent Heritage Overlay controls for 57 places of local significance in the City of Stonnington (Victorian Houses) and deletes interim Heritage Overlay controls from the land at 48 Elizabeth Street, Malvern and 7 Ethel Street, Malvern.
June 2018

C222 – Interwar Houses Study

Apply individual heritage controls to forty places of heritage significance not currently in the Heritage Overlay in the City of Stonnington.

June 2017
C183PT1 – Heritage Places (infrastructure, parks, gardens, bridges)


Introduces heritage controls to a number of locations in South Yarra, Toorak, Kooyong, Malvern, Malvern East.

January 2016

Questions about heritage

Why aren’t more heritage houses protected?

We must ensure that any recommendations to apply the heritage overlay have strategic rigour and justification. In the application of a heritage overlay, a comprehensive heritage investigation is completed by a heritage expert into the significance of the property or place. This is followed by a planning scheme amendment.

In most cases an amendment is heard by an independent planning panel before it is approved by the Minister. This process can take several years to ensure there is rigour to the process and the community’s issues are appropriately considered.

Why aren’t heritage overlays applied to all old buildings?

Heritage overlays are only applied to individual properties or places that have a cultural or built-form significance and are an exemplary example of a building or place of its kind.

Other instances where a heritage overlay may be considered is when there are multiple building from a particular era contributing to a heritage precinct.

Why doesn’t Council do more to stop heritage houses from being demolished?

When deciding to seek interim heritage controls, Council must apply to the Victorian Minister for Planning who may choose to reject the application.

Age alone does not qualify a building to be placed under a heritage overlay. This means that some older buildings, particularly in areas where significant development has occurred and the building itself is not rare or significant in its own right, may not warrant heritage protection.

What consideration is given to property values when deciding the historical significance of a building?

Personal economic and social impacts are usually not matters taken into account in planning decisions. At the stage in which a heritage overlay is considered, the key issue is whether or not an individual place or a precinct reaches the threshold for local heritage significance.