Interpretation plans are an essential first step in planning for heritage sites. They set the vision for how the heritage is communicated and the stories of the site are brought alive for different audiences.

Typical elements in an interpretation plan include historical research, tourism research, theming and storyline selection, site planning, interpretive design and selection of interpretive media for the site.


Former HM Prison Pentridge Heritage Interpretation Masterplan, public realm interpretive design and website

Client: Shayher Group
Melbourne, Australia
Date: 2013 - current

In 2013 SHP was contracted by Shayher Group to prepare an Interpretation Plan for the former HM Prison Pentridge site in order to obtain a permit for development from Heritage Victoria. Pentridge is an iconic heritage site, but one with a dark and traumatic history, so SHP zoned interpretation so that potentially traumatic interpretation would occur in a dedicated zone and less difficult interpretation in the public realm. SHP’s work included research, theming, storylines, policy alignment, a business case for heritage and interpretive design for the public realm, including signage.


SHP’s Heritage Interpretation Masterplan has been submitted to Heritage Victoria for a permit application, which relies on interpretation. SHP has subsequently been engaged by Shayher to design interpretation for the former rock-breaking yard, which includes public art, and to design and manage the website for the site.



George Town UNESCO World Heritage site Heritage Interpretation Masterplan

George Town, Penang, Malaysia
Client: Think City (Malaysian Federal Government)
Date: 2012-13

George Town is a World Heritage listed city, unique both for its architectural heritage and living cultural traditions practised by its residents for over 200 years. In late 2012, Think City, which is auspiced by the Malaysian Federal Government, engaged SHP to develop an Interpretation Masterplan for George Town. The aim of the Masterplan is to communicate the site’s World Heritage values consistently through the town’s built and living heritage in a surprising, lively and fun way.


SHP has developed a new interpretive model that not only uses the town’s Outstanding Universal Values to structure all interpretive communication, but also uses UNESCO’s conservation-based model of building capacity in communities that live near UNESCO sites to devise a new model that uses interpretation to build economic and social capacity.


To give a personal voice to World Heritage, the Masterplan encourages local people to place the stories of their own communities within the context of the city’s broader history and then to represent those histories through various forms of interpretive media. These kinds of personal communications give George Town’s residents ownership of the interpretation and enable visitors to powerfully understand George Town’s role in local, regional and world history.


The Plan includes a Graphic Style Guide, interpretive concepts and a ‘Recipe Book’ that assists local people in producing their own interpretation.

Subcontractors: Des_ign99, Regan Forrest



Yarrangobilly Caves Interpretation Plan

Snowy Mountains National Park, New South Wales
Client: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
Date: 2012-13

Located in a secluded alpine valley, the Yarrangobilly Caves is a key attraction within Kosciuszko National Park, offering a spectacular array of limestone caves, superb sub-alpine landscapes and a concentration of rare fauna and flora.  In 2011-12 SHP prepared an Interpretation Plan for the Yarrangobilly Caves precinct.


On the basis of research, consultation and visitor analysis, SHP proposed a range of creative interpretative installations and media, which are informed by international best practice standards and innovative technologies including immersive interactive touchscreens that tell the geological and cultural histories of the Caves and a 270-degree surround cinema at the Visitor Information Centre.  SHP’s work extends beyond interpretation to inform and shape branding and marketing for the Yarrangobilly Caves. Finally, we have provided architectural concepts for a redeveloped Thermal Pool, in order to help position Yarrangobilly as one of the stand-out, signature hero experiences for the Australian Alps National Landscape Tourism Strategy.

Subcontractors: Designhaus, Regan Forrest


Maitland Heritage Interpretation Masterplan,

Stages 1 & 2

Maitland, New South Wales
Client: Maitland City Council
Date: 2011-2014

In 2011 Maitland City Council engaged SHP to prepare a Heritage Interpretation Strategy for Central Maitland.  Although Maitland was once the second largest city in New South Wales, it has experienced a significant population decline in recent years and most community members have limited awareness of the region’s heritage. The Heritage Interpretation Strategy is aimed at raising awareness of the rich natural and cultural heritage of the area, building capacity in the local community and creating a sense of place and community pride. Identifying key themes, storylines and interpretive media to achieve wide public appeal is at the heart of the project.


SHP completed Stage 1 of the project in 2012 and was then awarded Stage 2, which involved interpretive design and installations for the public realm, signage design, an implementation strategy and costings. The Heritage Interpretation Plan was endorsed by Maitland City Council in February 2014.


Heritage Interpretation plan for 22 Bendigo Street, Richmond (former Channel 9 Studios)

Richmond, Victoria
Client: Lend Lease
Date: 2011

SHP developed an Interpretation Plan for the former Channel 9 Studios at Richmond, Melbourne in 2010-11, with the aim of creating innovative strategies for celebrating the site’s unique history once it was transformed into a residential development.


SHP undertook extensive historical research including oral history interviews to uncover many wonderful stories about the State Heritage-listed site. SHP’s Interpretation Plan links these stories to the site and provides a strategy for interpreting them, which was developed in consultation with the heritage architect and landscape designer.


Lend Lease has used SHP’s Interpretation Plan as a model for future development projects. The success of SHP’s Plan has led to the positioning of interpretation at the start of each Lend Lease cultural project, so that it informs the built work, and to SHP being commissioned to produce two short promotional films for the site.




Kiandra Interpretation Plan

Snowy Mountains National Park, New South Wales
Client: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
Date: 2013

In early 2013, SHP was engaged to develop an Interpretation Plan for Kiandra, a former gold rush settlement and the birthplace of Australian skiing. Kiandra, which is located in Kosciuszko National Park, is now a ghost town and is difficult for visitors to understand without interpretation. The project had an extremely short time-frame of three months.


Based on site analysis, research and consultation, SHP created a new framework for interpretation at Kiandra that linked it with nearby natural and cultural heritage sites. SHP also developed concept and graphic design for new walking trail signage and interior signs to be installed in Kiandra’s remnant buildings. The project was delivered on time and endorsed by NPWS.

Subcontractors: Designhaus, Regan Forrest



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Last updated January 2015. Australian Business Number: 45 097 174 000