Heritage protection in Australia was initiated by community groups such as the National Trust before the legislatures at each tier of government established the statutory controls now evident. Professional bodies in the built environment arena have also generated international guidelines in recent times with the adoption of standardised approaches to valuation and management practices for heritage property attesting to the acknowledgement of their special value and the recognition of characteristics common to diverse cultures. The objective of this paper is to review elements of our perceptions of heritage reflecting value which incorporate yet transcend the merely economic. It identifies the framework of heritage management in Australia and considers the many meanings of the relevant terminology. The traditional view is then extended to consider the potential environmental benefits of heritage conservation, contributing a contemporary commentary to some economic, social and professional concerns and reflects upon the challenges of the journey yet to come.