Culture and heritage

Heritage of NSW

Pastoral heritage

Detail from the door of the woolclasser's hut, Gundabooka National Park.

Over 95 per cent of the land now protected in parks and reserves was under grazing lease at some point during the last 200 years. Today, OEH manages the largest public collection of pastoral heritage places and landscapes in NSW. Many national parks contain different kinds of pastoral heritage, including:


Pastoral heritage is both tangible and intangible. Its tangible side includes the buildings people lived and worked in, and the archaeological remains of mustering camps and pastoral fringe encampments. It also covers heritage items such as wool scales and classing tables. Individual relics are small and often deteriorating, but are part of the bigger picture of how people have interacted with the varied natural environments of NSW.

This bigger picture is the intangible side of pastoral heritage: the attachments between people and places. It's about the stories of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people working together, and the interactions between people and their landscape. This pastoral heritage is in the landscape, and in the impact that grazing and human activity have had on the land.

An important aspect of the heritage of the pastoral industry is the 'hidden histories' of Aboriginal pastoral workers. This is the subject of a recent NPWS research project (see below for more details).

What people have said

And Clancy of the Overflow came down to lend a hand,
No better horseman ever held the reins;
For never horse could throw him while the saddle-girths would stand,
He learnt to ride while droving on the plains.

… Banjo Paterson, The Man From Snowy River

More information

After Captain Cook: the archaeology of the recent Indigenous past in Australia
This volume describes recent research on the historical archaeology of Aboriginal Australia, and the shared history of Aboriginal and settler Australians after 1788. Find out more, and buy the publication on other websites.

Shared histories of the pastoral industry in NSW
What pastoral heritage does NSW have? What does it mean to local communities? How should it be protected? This research project aims to find out.

Shared Landscapes: archaeologies of attachment and the pastoral industry in NSW
This book tracks tracking the history of pastoral land-use changes in NSW, and presents new ways of understanding historic heritage in settler societies. You can purchase the book online.

Women and landscape - western parks project
Download this historical study of women and outback landscapes in western NSW. The report focuses on Mungo and Willandra national parks.

Kosciuszko National Park huts - draft strategy
On public exhibition to 17 June 2005.

Kosciuszko National Park - Currango Historic Precinct draft conservation management and interpretation plan
On public exhibition until 16 April 2004.

Mungo National Park - historic heritage plan
Mungo National Park lies on the site of two old pastoral stations. Download the conservation management and cultural tourism plan for the park's wealth of historic heritage.

Kinchega National Park - conservation management plan for former pastoral station sites
Adopted September 2002.

Guy Fawkes River National Park - wild horses heritage study
Following a horse culling operation in Guy Fawkes River National Park in October 2000, a working party was formed to study the heritage value of wild horses in the park. Download the working party's final report on this difficult issue.

Oxley Wild Rivers National Park - history of Youdales Hut
Youdales Hut is a slab-sided mustering hut, built in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park around 1941. This publication is a thematic history and conservation assessment of the hut, drawing from archival material, oral information and other sources.

Page last updated: 14 June 2011