The Carlton Gardens are among Australia’s most significant heritage gardens. Together with the Royal Exhibition Building (REB), they were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List on 1 July 2004.

In 2020 the World Heritage Management Plan for the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens is being reviewed, to make sure future generations continue to enjoy its history and beauty.

The Carlton Gardens were originally laid out in the 1850s, with the southern part redesigned to provide the setting for the REB during the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition and remaining largely intact since. The northern part was built over in 1880 and again in 1888 during a second Exhibition. The present North Gardens were laid out following demolition of the buildings erected for this exhibition.

The gardens form a key component of Melbourne’s outstanding inner open space network and provide valuable recreational space for Melbourne residents, workers and other visitors.

As a World Heritage Listed site, the management of the Carlton Gardens and the Royal Exhibition Building is guided by a World Heritage Management Plan, which is being reviewed in 2020. The Heritage Act 2017 requires a World Heritage Management Plan to be reviewed every seven years.

Heritage Victoria within the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), the City of Melbourne and Museums Victoria are jointly coordinating the review, with input from the City of Yarra and the National Trust of Australia (Victoria).

This current review covers not only the Carlton Gardens and the Royal Exhibition Building, but also the area surrounding the site, referred to as the World Heritage Environs Area.

From June to July 2020 we gathered feedback on how the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens are managed, accessed and used. The first phase of engagement gave you an opportunity to share your input early in the process.

Feedback gathered will help inform changes to existing strategies, management and master plans for the Royal Exhibition Building and its surrounds – including the current Carlton Gardens Master Plan. This will help shape a new World Heritage Management Plan, including the draft Carlton Gardens Master Plan. This draft will be released for public comment in early 2021.

Introduction to the site and review

Engage Victoria

Head to Engage Victoria to learn more about the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens Review.