Culture and heritage

Heritage of NSW

Birth and death

Many people have lived and worked on land which is now managed as a national park. They often have deep connections to the landscape which may not be easily understood by the casual visitor.


Gravestone (D Gojak)

For example, former pastoral workers often say that the landscape has spiritual and emotional dimensions that you only get by living and working on the land. Many of these workers were members of local Aboriginal communities. They maintained their attachment to the land through involvement in the pastoral industry.

Few places carry as much spiritual and emotional weight as grave sites. There are graves in national parks and reserves around the state, including:

The church and presbytery at Hartley Historic Site also represent a spiritual landscape in the setting of a historic township.

The land itself is a spiritual place for Aboriginal people. The NPWS protects places of significance to Aboriginal communities. These may be significant landscape features, such as North Brother Mountain in Dooragan National Park. They can also be more recent reminders of the past, such as cemeteries and missions.

What people have said

It's such a special valley, its so beautiful. It is God's little heaven on this earth and no-one will ever tell me otherwise. I am not very good at describing scenery, but just to drive up the valley and then drive on to our property and see all the beautiful fruit trees in blossom, with the backdrop of mountains to the orchard on both sides of the garden, the creek that ran through the property…it was breathtaking.

… Pearl Wilson describing the beauty of Dry Creek Valley, a former grazing property and orchard which is now located in Towarri National Park (extract from Remembering Country: histories and memories of Towarri National Park)

More information

Aboriginal cemeteries
Read about the lonely burial sites that have been forgotten by the wider community, but are unforgettable for Aboriginal people.

Learn about the settlements that church leaders set up in the 19th century, to house, protect, and 'Christianise' Aboriginal people.

Pastoral heritage
See which parks used to be pastoral stations, and learn about the shared histories of the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people who lived and worked on them.

Remembering Country: history and memories of Towarri National Park
Towarri National Park in the upper Hunter Valley was home and workplace to many people before it became a national park in 1998. Download this book, which celebrates their lives and their connection to the landscape.

Page last updated: 02 January 2015