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Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Register and Information System access

Find out how to access or get information from the Register.

The Register holds all the information about known Aboriginal cultural heritage places and objects within Victoria, with their location and a detailed description.

The Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Register and Information System (ACHRIS) is the online tool that is used to access the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Register. (ACHRIS supports Chrome and Firefox browsers. Chrome is recommended.)

Who may access the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Register?

This Register can only be accessed by people or organisations who need detailed information on cultural heritage places and objects to protect and manage them.

The Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Register is not a publicly accessible register, as it contains culturally sensitive information. It can be accessed by:

  • Registered Aboriginal Parties or a person authorised on their behalf, for information about the area of their responsibility
  • a landowner to obtain information relating to the owner's land
  • a Heritage Advisor to carry out tasks required under the Act, or on behalf of a proposed development, user or purchaser of land to obtain information on any Aboriginal cultural heritage relevant to the land
  • a member of the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council or public sector employee for the purpose of administering and managing Aboriginal cultural heritage, including on Crown land
  • a local government employee for the purpose of carrying out functions or duties associated with the requirements of the Act
  • a person who has written approval to access the Register from the relevant Registered Aboriginal Party(ies), or the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council
  • a person who applies to the Secretary for the certification of a preliminary Aboriginal heritage test
  • a holder of a Cultural Heritage Permit - for the purpose of obtaining information on any Aboriginal cultural heritage relating to the permit
  • a Catchment Management Authority – for the purpose of obtaining information and to assist in carrying out functions associated with the control or management of land
  • a person getting information as to whether an Aboriginal Intangible Heritage Agreement is required or if an agreement exists.

How to apply for access to the Register

Registered ACHRIS users with Local Government Authority (LGA) access or Crown Land manager access are required to submit an Application for Access before being able to access the Register.

To get access to the Register, you must apply using the online application form in the ACHRIS system.

Apply for access to ACHRIS

On the ACHRIS homepage, a list of functions appears on the left-hand side.

If you are a registered ACHRIS user, you must firstly log in to ACHRIS before applying for access to the Register. (Select Login.)

From the ACHRIS Home page, select Application for Access from the left-hand menu, then select Complete Application. A template for a new Application is presented.

Make an application for advice

If you don't fit into the above categories, enquiries about a specific area can be made through an application for advice, using ACHRIS.

This must be accompanied by a fee (paid by credit card or direct debit) for a turnaround time of at least 10 business days. A Priority Processing fee can be paid to fast track the application within 2-3 business days (depending on the time of day received and complexity of the search).

You will receive a certificate of advice, otherwise known as the Aboriginal Heritage Certificate.

This certificate clarifies whether any Aboriginal cultural heritage places or objects are located on the land, or if it falls within an 'area of cultural heritage sensitivity'. If you intend to make changes to the land, then you may need to complete a Cultural Heritage Management Plan.

If any Aboriginal cultural heritage places or objects are registered on the land, the certificate will be accompanied by a listing of those registrations, including details of the register number and name of place and an indication of the type of heritage involved.

When you apply online include an email address. You will be emailed a reference number for your submitted application. Once approved, the Aboriginal Heritage Certificate will be emailed.

How to complete the online form

The online form specifies the information to be provided by a person or party seeking access to records held on the Register.

The form contains a number of sections. Some fields are displayed conditionally – certain information you provide will generate the display of other fields.

Supporting documentation in various file formats can be attached to the application form. For example, documents including maps, plans, photos and spatial attachments can be uploaded, where requested.

There are some mandatory fields which require a response prior to submission of the form. Mandatory fields are marked with a red asterisk – for example

Purpose of application*

Providing as much information as possible when submitting the Application for Access form will facilitate processing and review by Heritage Registry in First Peoples - State Relations.

Sections of the Application for Access form

The form contains the following sections:

  • Applicant Information
  • Applicant Category
  • Land Description
  • Purpose of Application
  • Information Sought
  • Information Management
  • Attach Additional Information
  • Terms and Conditions of Access to the Register
Applicant information

Name and contact details of the applicant, including organisation name as appropriate, are required.

If you are a registered ACHRIS user, the account you used to log on to the ACHRIS system records the name and contact details of the account holder. This information is used to pre-fill the Applicant’s name and contact details fields on the screen. These fields can be changed – overwritten if needed.

Applicant category

The categories of people or parties who may have access to the Register are set out in section 1 of this document. These 16 categories are listed and detailed on the online form. An applicant must indicate under which of the specified categories you are applying for access.

Note that a person who, or a party that, does not meet one of the criteria detailed in the list of categories cannot access the Register. In this case, a separate Application for Advice (under s.147 of the Act) may be made as to whether a record exists on the Register in relation to a nominated area of land.

Land description

Provide the best available description of the land to which the request relates. A copy of the Title should be attached, if available. A Property Address should be provided, where applicable. Land References – Subdivisional References (Lot/Plan details) and Crown References (Parish/Allotment etc. details) can be provided.

Attach a map or plan (e.g. pdf file) with sufficient detail to identify the boundaries of the application area. A spatial file, such as an ESRI shapefile, which represents the nominated area of land may be attached. More than one file can be uploaded, if needed.

Purpose of application

A reason for your request for access to the Register must be provided. For example, for a Heritage Advisor, the purpose may be for a Cultural Heritage Management Plan, cultural heritage audit, desktop assessment or due diligence.

Information sought

The information required from the Register must be specified. This could be, for example, information on reports of registered Aboriginal Places, Cultural Heritage Management Plans or other archaeological reports.

Information management

Information accessed from the Register must be treated as confidential. Arrangements for ensuring its confidentiality must be described.

Attach Additional Information

As much supporting information as possible in relation to the applicant category and the purpose for access should be provided. This may include any authorisation or approval, or evidence of appointment if you are a Heritage Advisor, or documents demonstrating land ownership.

If you are a Heritage Advisor applying under category G (only) who is permanently engaged by a ‘non-heritage’ organisation, such as Melbourne Water, and conducting due diligence for that organisation’s own projects, then you are not required to provide evidence of appointment.

Terms and Conditions of Access to the Register

The Terms and Conditions under which access to the Register is provided are defined in this section. An acknowledgement that you have read and accepted these Terms and Conditions is required as a condition of obtaining access to the Register.

Submitting the application for access form

Click Submit at the bottom of the Application for Access form to submit your Application for Access to the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Register.

Prescribed fees

A prescribed fee applies to access the Register if you are applying under category C or G. These categories are detailed in section 1 of this document. The prescribed fee must accompany the application.

On submitting an Application for Access form, a Heritage Advisor applying under category C or G will be presented with a Payment Information screen specifying the prescribed fee to be paid. First Peoples - State Relations has an arrangement with the Westpac bank which ensures that secure online credit card payments can be made.

What happens next?

Following submission of the Application for Access form and, where applicable, payment of the prescribed fee, a screen message acknowledges successful submission:

Your application for access to the VAHR has been successfully submitted

An automated email notification will be sent to you confirming the submitted application form is being processed. The notification will contain an application reference number.

First Peoples - State Relations Heritage Registry staff process Applications for Access in order of receipt and will contact you if there are any queries about your application. When approved, applicants who have requested access to the Register for a purpose other than a Cultural Heritage Management Plan will receive another automated email notification which provides an Access Approval Number. This number is required to be entered when you access the ACHRIS Register Search facility and is valid for 30 days.

Searching the Register with ACHRIS

From the ACHRIS Home page, selecting any Register Search menu item (Register Search Map, Find Registered Aboriginal Places, Find Archaeological Reports) will bring up the Access to the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Register screen. Insert your Access Approval Number (or Cultural Heritage Management Plan Number) to gain access.