Culture and heritage
Salinity can affect areas of cultural significance for Aboriginal people and impact on the contemporary expression of Aboriginal culture. Salinity has contributed to the decline of species valued as totems, wild foods and medicines. It has damaged, and in some cases destroyed, archaeological sites such as scarred and carved trees, burial sites and other historical sites.
Many heritage buildings, monuments and gardens are also at risk from salinity. As saline groundwater rises it comes into contact with heritage buildings. When the water evaporates the salt crystallises and places the masonry under stress, causing it to "spall" and collapse, thereby damaging buildings of cultural significance.
Many of these old buildings, infrastructure and traditional places cannot be repaired or replaced.
A project undertaken by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, 'Aboriginal heritage & salinity', has investigated how salinity affects Aboriginal culture and heritage in NSW.
The impacts of urban salinity on cultural heritage is outlined in a paper, The creeping disaster: Dryland and urban salinity and its impact on heritage, published by D.H.R. Spennemann in Cultural Resource Management 24(8), (2001). (From Charles Sturt University Website)
Page last updated: 26 February 2011