Culture and heritage

Aboriginal heritage

Aboriginal use of the coast

Aboriginal people have lived on the Australian coast for many thousands of years. They have found food and raw materials in the continent's wide variety of coastal environments.

Physical remains of Aboriginal life and activity can be found along the coast. Shell middens are the most obvious signs of this. Middens are among the most visible and common type of archaeological site in NSW.

The connection of Aboriginal people to the coast is a continuing one. While middens show a long association with coastal areas, communities continue to live within their traditional areas and use the abundant coastal resources. Recent research (see below) is mapping current and traditional connections of Aboriginal communities with the coast. This research has reinforced our understanding of these connections.


Shell middens
Middens are places where shells and other food debris have accumulated over time. See where you can find them, and learn what they can tell us about Aboriginal use of an area.

Aboriginal people and biodiversity
Find out how Aboriginal heritage is inseparable from the natural environment - from individual plants and animals to whole ecosystems.

Page last updated: 26 February 2011