Brewarrina Fish Traps / Baiame's Ngunnhu

Minister for Heritage Mark Speakman has approved an extension to the state heritage listing boundary of the Aboriginal Fish Traps at Brewarrina, known to the local Ngemba Wayilwan people as Baiame’s Ngunnhu.

Viewed from the south bank Brewarrina Fish Traps Aboriginal World Heritage protected historic site Barwon River Aboriginal Fisheries Ngunnhu of the Ngemba.

Mr Speakman said the Aboriginal fisheries at Brewarrina are the largest known group of traditional Aboriginal fish traps in NSW and Australia. They consist of many walls of stone ingeniously built within the Barwon River, nearly half a kilometre in length.

'Their design provides evidence of the construction and fishing techniques used by Aboriginal people before European settlement,' he said.

'Although the Ngemba Wayilwan people are recognised as the traditional custodians of the place, many neighbouring Aboriginal peoples came to Brewarrina to fish under strict protocols. There were large corroborees, making it one of the great Aboriginal meeting places of eastern Australia.'

Member for Barwon Kevin Humphries said it is difficult to estimate their age but it is possible that the Brewarrina Aboriginal fish traps / Baiame’s Ngunnhu are of international heritage significance as an ancient human construction.

'The fish traps were listed on the State Heritage Register in 2000 and on the National Heritage Register in 2005. A heritage report recommended that the curtilage (boundary) of both the state and federal listings be increased,' he said.

'The report suggested that important Aboriginal sites near the fish traps should be included in the heritage listing, such as nearby ochre beds, middens, scarred trees, burial grounds and stone artefacts scattered on the northern bank of the river.'

The extended boundary now includes the award-winning Aboriginal Cultural Museum on the southern bank of the river near Weir Park.

The listing means that any major works for any places within the larger listing area will be subject to decisions or advice from the Heritage Council of NSW, as well as Brewarrina Shire Council.

Recognising Aboriginal heritage in NSW has been a priority listing theme for State Heritage Register listing since 2009.

'I am pleased that the NSW Government is able to further help with the conservation of this important part of our cultural history', Mr Speakman said.

Further details of the State Heritage listing can be found on the Office of Environment and Heritage website: Heritage Council of NSW