Aboriginal people and cultural life
Aboriginal people have lived in NSW for more than 40,000 years. There's evidence of this everywhere, in rock art, stone artefacts and sites across the state.
If you thought Aboriginal heritage was just about rock art, think again. Aboriginal culture is much bigger than this. It's a living, ongoing thing. It's deeply linked to the entire environment - plants, animals and landscapes.
The land and waterways are associated with dreaming stories and cultural learning that is still passed on today. This cultural learning links Aboriginal people with who they are and where they belong.
Protecting Aboriginal heritage means far more than looking after sites in parks or artefacts in museums. Aboriginal people access land to renew cultural learning. And they have to be involved and consulted in the conservation of the natural environment.
Below you will find links to Aboriginal culture and heritage related publications and policies.
Aboriginal land management for biodiversity
Through Land Alive, an Environmental Trust-funded project under the BioBanking Scheme run by OEH, Aboriginal landowners were able to create jobs and business opportunities while managing Country for conservation. The Land Alive program was completed in 2011.
Aboriginal Land Management Guides
Three Aboriginal Land Management Information Guides outline the range and type of government programs available to assist Aboriginal groups access and use public lands, and assist Aboriginal and other landholders manage land access and natural resources.
Aboriginal Languages Policy
This policy forms part of the NSW Government Aboriginal Languages Strategic Plan and guides OEH staff and consultants employed by OEH in the use of Aboriginal languages.
Aboriginal people and biodiversity
Find out how Aboriginal heritage is inseparable from the natural environment - from individual plants and animals to ecosystems.
Aboriginal Places can be declared by the Minister for Environment to protect areas and sites that are important to Aboriginal communities. OEH's Aboriginal Places policy and nomination form can also be accessed from the Aboriginal Places page.
Aboriginal joint management of parks
Under a joint management arrangement, the government and local Aboriginal people share responsibility for a park's management. See how these arrangements work, and find out which parks in NSW are joint managed.
Aboriginal Regional Assessment Policy
This policy explains OEH's position and principles when undertaking Aboriginal Regional Assessments, to ensure the values of Aboriginal communities are included.
Aboriginal women's heritage
Download reports about the experiences and heritage of Aboriginal women in NSW.
Read about the lonely burial sites that have been forgotten by the wider community but are unforgettable for Aboriginal people.
Management of Aboriginal Cultural Material Policy and Guideline
These documents guide OEH staff in the professional and culturally appropriate management of Aboriginal cultural material.
Places of significance
These range from small ceremonial sites to enormous mountains. In fact, everything in the landscape can have special meaning for Aboriginal people.
Regulation of Aboriginal cultural heritage
Aboriginal heritage is legally protected in NSW. Find out about OEH's regulation of Aboriginal cultural heritage.
RepatriationWorking to Protect Aboriginal Culture and Heritage
OEH has a large collection of Aboriginal skeletal remains and cultural material. We're working on ways to return these to the communities they belong to. Find out more.
What's the difference between drawings, paintings and engravings? How were they created? Where would you find them? Find out here.
Traces of past lifestyles
Find out about the stone tools, rock shelters, scarred trees and Aboriginal occupation sites scattered across NSW.
A guide illustrating the ways OEH commits to the 'Aboriginal people, the environment and conservation principles' of spirituality and connection, cultural resource use, wellbeing, caring for Country and doing business with Aboriginal people.
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Page last updated: 21 May 2013