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Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Services

We work with Aboriginal communities to celebrate, protect and manage Aboriginal cultural heritage in NSW.

The Protection of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage in NSW

The protection of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage in NSW is the joint responsibility of Heritage NSW and the Department of Planning Infrastructure and Environment under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NPW Act). All Aboriginal places and objects are protected under the NPW Act.

We also support the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee and The Heritage Council of NSW to carry out their functions under the NPW Act 1974 and the Heritage Act 1977.

Credit: Merv Sutherland Heritage NSW

What We Do

  • Record Aboriginal objects and places in the landscape to improve understanding about the nature and distribution of Aboriginal cultural heritage
  • Support communities in their efforts to conserve culturally significant objects and places in the landscape, such as the maintenance of Aboriginal cemeteries and burial sites
  • Partner with NSW Government agencies to manage natural resources in culturally appropriate ways
  • Engage in repatriation efforts to return Aboriginal ancestors and cultural materials to Aboriginal people and communities
  • Declare places of special significance to Aboriginal people as Aboriginal Places and protect these places under legislation
  • Promote joint management of Country with Aboriginal people
  • Maintain the Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System
  • Issue and enforce Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permits to manage impacts to Aboriginal cultural heritage.

Aboriginal Heritage Management System, the online database of recorded Aboriginal Places and Objects

We maintain the Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System (AHIMS), an online database of recorded Aboriginal places and objects, referred to as Aboriginal sites, in NSW.

Aboriginal objects or places are added to AHIMS by members of the community, landholders, heritage professionals or our staff. If you want to search the database of recorded Aboriginal sites you can register with AHIMS Web Services.

Aboriginal objects may be present on a parcel of land and not be recorded in AHIMS. If you discover something you think should be recorded as an Aboriginal object please refer to Record Aboriginal Sites.

Credit: Colin Davison Heritage NSW

Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permits

If you want to carry out activities that may impact an Aboriginal place or object, whether the item has been registered on the AHIMS database or not, you may need to apply for an Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permits. If you are not sure of the Aboriginal history of a place or object, visit the State Heritage Inventory to see if a particular place or object has been declared, or you can check whether an item has been recorded on the AHIMS database.