The federal Environment Minister has nominated Queen Victoria Market to become part of the National Heritage List. Photo credit: Jonathan Lin/Flickr

Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market, part of a proposed $250 million redevelopment led by the City of Melbourne, may be included on the National Heritage List, if nomination by Environment Minister Greg Hunt is accepted.

Mr Hunt visited the iconic Melbourne market on Friday to announce that he had asked the Australian Heritage Council to consider the landmark for the nation’s peak heritage register.

Lord Mayor of Melbourne Robert Doyle welcomed the announcement and said it was an exciting development for the QVM renewal project.

“If QVM qualifies, there is scope to then add it to the “tentative list” to be considered for UNESCO World Heritage listing,” he said.

QVM has traded continually as a market since 1878 and predates Melbourne’s only current UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens.

“In the last 30 years alone, half the city has been rebuilt or redeveloped, but for 143 years QVM has been a constant in the story of our society and economy, a story which will continue well into the future,” the Lord Mayor said.

Before it became a market, the site was home to Melbourne’s first cemetery, a place where an estimated 8000 to 10,000 people were buried from 1837 to 1917.

The then Melbourne Town Council approved a small section of the site for a market in 1859.

“We’re planning an appropriate and respectful acknowledgement of the market’s history as our city’s first cemetery and as a site that is significant to Melbourne’s indigenous people, including the Wurundjeri,” Cr Doyle said.

Cr Doyle said heritage was central to the City of Melbourne’s plans for the QVM renewal project.