Koonadan | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage



Item details

Name of item: Koonadan
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Aboriginal
Category: Ceremonial site
Location: Lat: -34.4969932452 Long: 146.361755778
Primary address: , Leeton, NSW 2705
Local govt. area: Leeton
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Leeton And District
Hectares (approx): 21.85
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
 LeetonLeeton  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

Why is it an Aboriginal Place?
Koonadan is a burial site. It was a traditional and contemporary hunting and food gathering area, which was associated with ceremonial grounds.

Why is it important to Aboriginal people?
In pre-contact times Wiradjuri people hunted and fished around Koonadan and nearby Tuckerbil Swamp. Koonadan was also associated with ceremonies, but ceremonial grounds have been erased by land use. The area was linked to a corroboree site at Yanco: after a corroboree Wiradjuri people would go to Koonadan and surrounds to gather food.

In the late nineteenth century many Wiradjuri people were moved to Aboriginal reserves and missions in the area, such as Warangesda and Euabalong. As the missions and reserves gradually closed from the mid-1920s to the 1950s some Wiradjuri people returned to the Koonadan area. During this time about 40 families lived at Wattle Hill on the outskirts of Leeton. They relied on Koonadan for their food, especially during the depression in the 1930s. After the 1950s, the trees were cleared and the area's food resources were diminished.

Koonadan is an ancestral Wiradjuri burial ground. In the early 1980s, Aboriginal skeletal remains were found in the sand dune at Koonadan. These remains were reburied by the local Aboriginal community. Shortly afterwards sand mining recommenced on the site; the local Aboriginal community reacted by barricading the gate of the property in protest. This protest effectively stopped all sand mining at Koonadan, and led to an agreement with the property owner and the declaration of the site as an Aboriginal Place. The discovery of the burials led to a renewed sense of unity and a heightened awareness of cultural traditions in the local Aboriginal community.
Date significance updated: 13 May 15
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Physical description: What's on the ground?
Burials, stone tools and ovens are present at Koonadan.

Nature of the environment
Koonadan is located northwest of Leeton in the Riverina area of southern NSW. The land is mainly cleared of trees. It is next to Tuckerbil Swamp with a low sand dune on the northern side of the site, and the Yanco-Griffith railway line to the east. In the late 1980s and early 1990s trees and shrubs were planted in clumps over the site in an attempt to stabilise the soil and protect the burials.
Current use: Koonadan is used for walking and picnicking. Interpretive signs and artwork designed by local Aboriginal people tell the story of Koonadan and help people to understand the value of the area to Aboriginal people.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Aboriginal cultures and interactions with other cultures-Activities associated with maintaining, developing, experiencing and remembering Aboriginal cultural identities and practices, past and present. Aboriginal Culture-


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
NPW Act - Aboriginal Place  04 Nov 83 1524995

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
ElectronicNSW Government1983Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales View detail

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

rez rez
(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5062945
File number: 1992/A/10183-3 & NPWS A10185

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

All information and pictures on this page are the copyright of the Heritage Division or respective copyright owners.