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Culgoa National Park: case study

Culgoa National Park is located in north-western NSW, 100 km north of Brewarrina. It adjoins the Queensland border. The park encompasses sections of the Culgoa River and associated floodplains. The park was reserved in 1996 and has had major additions since that time.

Culgoa National Park lies within Morowari Country, and the park's landscape continues to be important to Aboriginal people.

Inventory recording of heritage places and landscapes report

Inventory recording at places and landscapes in Culgoa National Park (CulgoaNPInventory.pdf, 1.1MB) details the surveying and recording of historic objects, places and landscapes in Culgoa National Park in 2006 and draws on previous survey and recording work undertaken for Aboriginal pre-contact sites (English 1997) and post-1788 or historical places (Harrison 2004).

Culgoa's tangible heritage needs to be understood in relation to the broader history of human-environmental interaction across the landscape. Perceiving the connections between objects, places and landscapes through history and ecology enables key historical themes and the cultural landscape to be better managed and interpreted.

Table of findings

Culgoa NP has a rich and multi-layered history. The historical activity that has left the most physical traces is pastoralism.

Since the late 1840s, the landscape was mainly used for running stock. As the properties making up Culgoa National Park were acquired by NPWS in their entirety, it is possible to still see how they operated. There have been no later intensive land uses, such as cotton growing, to remove evidence of past history. Items such as homesteads, stockyards and fences were repaired, extended, reused or abandoned rather than removed. Thus, much of the cultural heritage of the park consists of these 'complete' pastoral properties with different phases of grazing represented by an interrelated set of surviving physical remains. The homesteads and their associated rubbish dumps provide valuable insights into the changing patterns of economic and social use of these landscapes over time.

The environment itself is a significant artefact of human interaction with the park landscape. In particular, the contemporary mosaic of vegetation types is a product of past Aboriginal land-use, land-clearing and grazing as well as floods and fires.

Historic theme or layer Heritage item
Object Place or site Landscape
Aboriginal cultures: Morowari country

Aboriginal landscape at contact and throughout the(shared) historic period
Worked or manufactured artefact (stone, wood, glass, ceramic, metal); shell (worked or food remain); bone (worked, food remain or human); ochre; charcoal (cooking fire) Ceremonial place; story place; named location; scarred tree; open campsite; habitation structure; silcrete quarry; water source; burial site. Possible fish trap Pre-contact landscapes of settlement, movement and trade; Aboriginal pastoral landscape (including camps); landscape of contemporary attachment and cultural revitalisation
Marking the land/surveying

Landscape associated with identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land
Survey marker (brass plate, nail); survey notebook; survey plan or map Blazed tree; marked fence post; other survey marker; fence aligned with cadastral boundary; named feature; surveyors campsite Cadastral landscape associated with particular survey/surveyor and/or period; Aboriginal clan, group or language area
Working the land/Pastoralism

Landscape associated with breeding, raising, processing and distribution of livestock for human use
Structural element (wood, metal, glass); vehicles (tractors, cars, bikes); machinery; tools Shearing complex; shed; kennel; rubbish dump; paddock; area of cultivation; fence line; track; stockyard/horse yard; dip; sheep bridge; bore; drain; ground tank; weir; stock route; campsite; area of altered vegetation; cleared land; cut tree stump; campsite; animal trap; grave; grave marker; cultural planting; story place; named location; Possible wool scour Landscape of individual pastoral property; landscape of collective pastoral properties (whole-of-park); meta-landscapes of stock movement, shearing and wool transport
Living on the land/homesteads and settlements

Landscapes associated with living in isolated homesteads, villages and camps and links to the outside
Structural element (wood, metal, glass, ceramic; composite material); domestic goods; domestic implement Settlement with hotel/ post office; house/hut; story place; named location; cultural planting; well; water tank; pump; pipeline; rubbish dump; access road; bridge; stock grid; telephone line; electricity line Landscape of occupied places and infrastructure
Conserving the landscape

Landscape associated with natural and cultural heritage management, including recreation
Structural element (wood, metal, glass); vehicles (tractors, cars, bikes); machinery; tools; documents such as POM and interpretation brochures; photographs Park infrastructure (accommodation, office, sheds, roads, power, water); campsite; walking track; signage; Aboriginal culture camp; animal trap; area of regeneration and weed control; area of control burning; vandalism Landscape of regeneration, fire, pest control, weed control and cultural heritage works; interpreted landscape; meta-landscape of tourism

Related information

Index to Cultural landscapes and national parks


Page last updated: 07 March 2011