media photo Stevie Harris v2

Wilcannia Mission Camps and Cultural Places declared an Aboriginal Place

Friday, 30 October 2020

Wilcannia Mission Camps and Cultural Places Aboriginal Place is protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 for its strong cultural, spiritual and historic values.

The Hon. Don Harwin MLC, Minister responsible for Heritage, announced that the NSW Government has declared Wilcannia Mission Camps and Cultural Places an Aboriginal Place under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974

Wilcannia Mission Camps and Cultural Places Aboriginal Place is significant for its strong cultural, spiritual and historic values, including recorded cultural life, history, Ngatji or Rainbow Serpent waterholes and springs, and archaeological evidence of occupation of the cultural landscape. It is valued as an important contemporary cultural learning and teaching space for the Aboriginal community.

Mr Harwin said “I wish to congratulate the CEO and Board of the Wilcannia Local Aboriginal Land Council for proposing this Aboriginal Place. They were concerned that the history of the way of life in the fringe camp was in danger of being lost and that inter-generational teaching needs to continue so young people learn about family history and aspects of the cultural life in the fringe camps that are positive.”

Values documented about the fringe camps that will be handed down include strong family life, kinship, sharing and caring for each other as a community, resilience, independence, and problem solving. Other values protected in the Aboriginal Place include canoe trees, coolamon trees, a mound site, middens, artefacts, heat retainer ovens, and material remains of camping places from the 1920’s to 1980’s, as well as fishing places and the Ngatji (rainbow serpent) waterhole.

“One particularly significant feature of the Aboriginal Place is a canoe tree that has the complete scar of a canoe cut out of the bark by a Wilcannia matriarch Granny Moysey about 100 years ago”, the Minister said.

The declaration of an Aboriginal Place gives public recognition to Aboriginal heritage places under NSW state legislation and celebrates places and events in the Aboriginal history of NSW. Further information on the Wilcannia Mission Camps and Cultural Places Aboriginal Place is found on our website 

Image:  Community Elder Mr Stevie Harris pointing out a canoe tree.

Photo credit: Dr Sarah Martin, Heritage NSW.