The building

Historical evidence indicates that the Molonglo River Flats, Black Mountain and its spur, now known as the Acton Peninsula, were areas that the Aboriginal people of the region used as meeting places.

In 1930 the construction of the Australian Institute of Anatomy was completed on this site. This was one of the last major projects of the Federal Capital Commission and it was built to house the anatomy collection of Professor Sir Colin MacKenzie. The site was formally gazetted in 1924 as the National Museum of Australian Zoology, and architectural plans show that zoological gardens were intended for the grounds.

The NFSA moved into its new national headquarters when the collection moved from the National Library of Australia and the National Archives of Australia. The building was formally opened by Prime Minister Bob Hawke on 3 October 1984. Later, Mr Hawke’s then wife, Mrs Hazel Hawke, officially opened the remodelled courtyard gardens on 30 September 1991.

NFSA heritage strategy

The principal objective of a heritage strategy is to outline a strategic approach for the agency to effectively manage places which it owns or controls for the long-term protection and conservation of their Commonwealth heritage values. Before making a heritage strategy, the agency must consult the Australian Heritage Council and take its advice into account.

NFSA heritage management plan

The NFSA’s heritage management plan fulfils the requirements for a management plan under schedule 7A of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC) 1999.

NFSA conservation policy

The NFSA Building and site are significant elements of our cultural heritage and retain a high degree of integrity from their original construction. The objective of the conservation policies in the Heritage Management Plan is that the heritage significance of the place should be managed in a manner appropriate to conserve the official listed values associated with the buildings and site and thereby its significance.

Commonwealth heritage list citation

This list, established under the EPBC Act, places obligations on Commonwealth Agencies which own or control places with Commonwealth heritage values. In June 2004, the NFSA Acton site (the former Institute of Anatomy building) was entered into the Commonwealth heritage list.

The Commonwealth heritage list is comprised of natural and cultural heritage places owned or controlled by the Australian Government.