The Civic Square Precinct Heritage Listing

Released 24/09/2019

The ACT Heritage Council (the Council) has decided to provisionally register ‘The Civic Square Precinct’.

“The Civic Square Precinct is a place for the people of Canberra. It is significant to the ACT for its social and cultural values, because it is an important open space for public use,” Deputy Chairperson of the Council, Dr. Ken Heffernan, said.

“The precinct has seen celebrations and events and is known for expressions of democratic freedoms through protest. It has been the place of local administration since the 1960s and boasts a modernist design that complements the Griffin plan.

“Canberrans can express their views and aspirations to the Territory government here. It is a place where we can celebrate our victories and recognise important people and cultural moments.”

The Civic Square Precinct was designed by Roy Simpson who specialised in public spaces. It includes the South Building that houses the Legislative Assembly, the North Building that houses CMAG, the Canberra Theatre Centre, Ainslie Place, and the square itself.

“Roy Simpson made the Civic Square buildings so that they would keep focus on the public space. Instead of flashy designs showing off his architectural prowess, he made buildings subservient to this space for the people,” said Dr. Heffernan.

“The openness of Civic Square means it can host different events and cater to crowds of all sizes. Perhaps you remember jostling for room as people packed into the Square and down Ainslie Place to welcome the 1989 Canberra Raiders after winning the premiership?

“Do you have memories of going to Civic Square with family for the big Christmas tree or to watch the fireworks? There are more than 50 years of events and memories of Civic Square that make it important to the people of Canberra.”

Visit to look at the heritage assessment. Let the Council know how you feel about Civic Square or share your memories of the place.

For information on other decisions made by the Council on 19 September, visit

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Section: ACT Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate | Media Releases

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