Six Aboriginal Places declared

Environment and Heritage Minister Mark Speakman has declared six NSW locations as Aboriginal Places under the National Parks and Wildlife Act.

Flowerdale Lagoon, Wagga Wagga, a declared Aboriginal Place

Mr Speakman said the declaration of Aboriginal Places was a recognition and acknowledgement of living and continuing Aboriginal culture.

“It also signifies that the connection of Aboriginal people to the land and culture is immensely important to their wellbeing and future,” Mr Speakman said.

“I’ve been so glad to see community coming together to celebrate the continuity of Aboriginal culture in NSW,” Mr Speakman said.

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Leslie Williams said these listings recognise spectacular examples of Aboriginal art and cultural practices both pre and post contact, and they include places of spiritual significance.

“The sites also acknowledge key aspects of Aboriginal social history and the connection to rural and regional industries,” Mrs Williams said.

Mr Speakman has declared the following areas to be Aboriginal Places:

  • The Big Ampi Stockyards at Menindee, which demonstrates the important role played by Aboriginal people in the early pastoral period.
  • Guragalung Gayanayung (Maroota historical site) in the Hawkesbury, which despite its small size has a higher density of art than any other recorded site in the region, including depictions of post-contact settlers by Aboriginal people.
  • Red Hands Cave at Glenbrook in the Blue Mountains, named after the red, orange and white stencils of Aboriginal people’s hands that decorate the cave.
  • The Ten Pelicans Area near Bodalla, which is recognised by the Yuin people as a women’s place and has spiritual associations to women’s traditional ceremonies and stories.
  • Flowerdale Lagoon near Wagga Wagga, which is a traditional camping ground and resource gathering area for the Wiradjuri people of the Murrumbidgee.
  • Happy Valley Fringe Camp at Coonabarabran, which recognises the cultural, social and historic significance of the site to the Aboriginal community.

Mr Speakman said the declaration of an Aboriginal Place did not change the status of the land or affect ownership rights. However, it is illegal to harm or desecrate an Aboriginal Place.

In announcing the latest declarations, the Minister reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to the recognition and conservation of Aboriginal cultural heritage.