Framework of Historical Themes
- Highlights what is distinctive about Victoria and increases awareness and appreciation of the State’s heritage.
- Ensures heritage objects, places and events can be understood, assessed and presented within the context of a broad theme, rather than as singular items of interest.
- Relates to the Australian Historic Themes.
To be used by:
- heritage professionals
- local government staff
- managers of museum collections
- others interested in Victoria’s natural and cultural heritage.
Historical themes are useful in several key areas and activities including:
- significance assessments of heritage places and objects
- management of community heritage collections, including conservation
- interpretation and tourism planning
- development of heritage area studies.
Victoria’s Framework of Historical Themes aims to 'recognise the richness of Victoria’s cultural and natural heritage’ by providing a tool for developing a wider recognition and appreciation of Victoria’s diverse Aboriginal, historical and natural histories and the rich heritage resources these have created.
Framework of Historical Themes Part 1 (PDF 1.3 MB) - Introduction, Framework, applying the Framework
Framework of Historical Themes Part 2 (PDF 1.7 MB) - Case studies and appendices
This is a handy-size printable liftout of the Framework of Historical Themes. You can use it as a quick reference, and as a hand-out sheet.
The case studies illustrate how Victoria’s Framework of Historical Themes can be used to prompt broader thinking about a place or object and its connections. The themes can be used to focus on the historical values of a place or object and how these values are represented physically in the place or object and its wider historical context.
There are 7 case studies which highlight various aspects of applying Victoria’s Framework of Historical Themes. These are:
Case study 1: Queen Elizabeth Maternal and Child Health Centre
This case study shows how to use themes to identify neglected aspects of heritage, including post-World War II heritage and women’s history.
Case Study 2: Hobson’s Bay City Council
This shows how to use themes in local government surveys to capture layers of history and multiple viewpoints.
Case Study 3: The Great Ocean Road
This shows how to use themes to appreciate the richness of heritage landscapes, in this case a coastal landscape and tourism route.
Case Study 4: Lake Condah, Budj Bim National Heritage Landscape
This case study illustrates how using themes can help to gain an understanding of the complexity of a cultural landscape, including the linkages between layers with related but discrete elements.
Case study 5: Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens
This case study shows how themes can be used to draw out the many-layered stories of a heritage place.
Case Study 6: Lake Boga Social and Cultural Heritage Landscape
This case study can help guide assessment and interpretation for Aboriginal cultural heritage places and places where both Aboriginal people and the broader community have connections.
Case Study 7: Whitehorse Historical Collection
This shows how themes can be used to help guide acquisitions, significance assessment and interpretation for objects collections.
Together with the History Teachers' Association of Victoria, we have created two resources to help apply the Framework in the classroom.
The Teacher's guide (PDF 1.8 MB) provides a overview of the relevance of the Framework to history education. It includes curriculum links for each theme, with connections to both the VELS and upcomming Australian Curriculum.
Lesson starters and activities
The Lesson Starters document provides case studies for each theme, together with suggested activities for the classroom. Each theme has a number of activities for Lower Primary, Upper Primary and Upper Secondary classes.