Tradtional stone knapping workshop with Conservation Officer and Kamilaroi man John Duggan credit Badger Bates BM

Conservation of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage

We work in partnership with Aboriginal communities to conserve Aboriginal Cultural Heritage. This ongoing work supports communities with the management and protection of Aboriginal Places and helps with the repatriation of Aboriginal ancestors and Aboriginal cultural materials.

Heritage NSW works to help and support Aboriginal communities to undertake, on-ground works for conserving Aboriginal cultural heritage.

Physical evidence of Aboriginal occupation and history can be seen across the NSW landscape in many diverse natural forms such as rock art and stone tools. Aboriginal culture is connected to Country, including waterways, animals and plants. These elements of the landscape are associated with Dreaming stories and cultural learning.

On-ground conservation works are intended to repair deterioration caused by ageing, weathering or other natural processes, and damage caused by vandalism or inappropriate land uses. To report alleged harm to Aboriginal items or sites, call the Environment Line on 131 555.

Tradtional stone knapping workshop with OEH Conservation Officer John Duggan 11.10.16 BM

Aboriginal sites in NSW range from but are not limited to:

  • shell middens
  • stone artefact scatters
  • isolated artefacts
  • grinding grooves
  • rock art and engravings
  • rock shelters
  • scarred trees
  • stone arrangements
  • stone and ochre quarries
  • fish traps
  • water holes
  • burials

Various practices and techniques are used to conserve the different types of sites.

We are committed to the management, protection and conservation of Aboriginal culture, including Aboriginal Places, objects and significant sites. Aboriginal objects and declared Aboriginal Places are managed and protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

Connection to Country

Aboriginal people often use the term ‘Country’ to describe family origins and associations with parts of Australia. Aboriginal people have a connection to the land that plays an important role in the spiritual, cultural and economic wellbeing of wider Aboriginal communities. Collective identity of Aboriginal communities is also linked to place – the community itself is part of Country as well as each person in it.

We work with Aboriginal communities to develop whole-of-government approaches to land access and cultural connection to Country.