Landscape Assessment Study


The landscapes of the Macedon Ranges Shire are multi-layered and diverse. This is reflective in the shire’s unique geological morphology, land use, ecology and cultural history.

They include the defining landscape feature of the shire, the Macedon Ranges; Hanging Rock with its iconic vertical pinnacles; the forests of the Wombat, Lerderderg and Cobaw Ranges; the McHarg Ranges and granitic uplands, the numerous volcanic cones and rises, and Mt William, with its rich Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung history.

Landscapes are significant to different people for different reasons. These reasons may include their scenic beauty, cultural heritage value, environmental qualities, or values associated with the place, such as memories or associations.

To ensure the natural and cultural landscapes of the Macedon Ranges are conserved and enhanced, we have completed the Macedon Ranges Landscape Assessment Study. The Macedon Ranges Landscape Assessment Study was adopted by Council on 24 April 2019, the agenda and minutes are available to view.

The significance of the Macedon Ranges Shire’s landscapes are underpinned by the declaration of the Macedon Ranges as a distinctive landscape area under the Planning and Environment Amendment (Distinctive Areas and Landscapes) Act 2018. The Macedon Ranges Statement of Planning Policy(PDF, 11MB) was gazetted by the Victorian State Government in December 2019.

Project stages

  • Stage 1: Inception
  • Stage 2: Landscape Character Assessment
  • Stage 3: Identification of Community Values
  • Stage 4: Landscape Significance Assessment
  • Stage 5: Implementation Recommendations – current stage

Stage 2: Landscape Character Assessment

The Landscape Character Types and Areas have been identified through a study of key landscape character elements including geology and landform, water form, vegetation, and land use and built form, together with detailed field surveys.

The Landscape Character Types and Areas Report(PDF, 472MB) was the first output of the project. It comprises a collection of landscape character papers for each distinct Landscape Area that has been identified. The papers contain a detailed description of each Landscape Area, and a list of the key landscape features.

Stage 3: Significant Landscape Assessment

The Landscape Significance Assessment Report(PDF, 124MB) includes a visual assessment of the most significant landscapes and views in the shire; and further assessment of cultural heritage, environmental and scientific, social and other values to determine a level of significance for each landscape.

For the purposes of this study, landscape significance is defined as:

"Landscape significance is the designation of a particular landscape as special or important arising from its cultural landscape values, including visual, cultural heritage, environmental, scientific, social and other values."

Stage 4: Identification of Community Values

Landscapes hold different values for different people. Some people may enjoy the scenic qualities and settings of landscapes. Others may appreciate the habitats they provide for wildlife, or their potential for productivity and economic return.

Community consultation was one of three sources of information used to provide a holistic appreciation of the significance of the landscapes of the Macedon Ranges Shire. A summary of consultation activities is available at page 81 of the Landscape Values and Significance Report(PDF, 124MB).

Stage 5: Implementation Recommendations

The Landscape Assessment Study is proposed to be implemented through the Macedon Ranges Planning Scheme by applying the Significant Landscape Overlay (SLO) to nineteen separate landscape areas across the Shire, with six new SLO schedules to the Implementation Recommendations Report(PDF, 93MB) as follows:

  • SLO1 Macedon Ranges and Hanging Rock, page 22
  • SLO2 Lerderderg and Wombat Forests, page 26
  • SLO3 Cobaw Ranges, page 31
  • SLO4 McHarg Ranges and Granitic Uplands, page 36
  • SLO5 Mt William Ridge and Deep Creek, page 40
  • SLO6 Volcanic Cones and Rises, page 44


Between 22 October 2018 and 25 March 2019, we informally consulted with the community on the implementation recommendations, including changes to the SLO boundaries and schedules. Feedback was received from a number of landowners and stakeholders across the shire, and where appropriate, the draft study implementation recommendations were changed in response to feedback. There will be further opportunity to make a submission to the Landscape Assessment Study through formal exhibition of Amendment C133.

Planning Scheme Amendment C133

The Planning Scheme Amendment C133 Fact Sheet(PDF, 265KB) has more information on next steps.