Aboriginal cultural heritage services

We work with Aboriginal communities to celebrate, protect and manage Aboriginal cultural heritage in NSW.

Mutawintji National ParkThe protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage in NSW is our responsibility under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NPW Act). All Aboriginal Places and objects are protected under the NPW Act.

We also support the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee and the Heritage Council of NSW to carry out their functions under the NPW Act and the NSW Heritage Act 1977.

Our services

Through our services we:

  • record Aboriginal objects and places in the landscape to improve understanding about the nature and distribution of Aboriginal cultural heritage
  • support communities in their efforts to conserve culturally significant objects and places in the landscape, for example maintaining Aboriginal cemeteries and burial sites
  • partner with NSW Government agencies to manage natural resources in culturally appropriate ways
  • engage in repatriation efforts to return Aboriginal remains and cultural materials to Aboriginal people and communities
  • declare places of special significance to Aboriginal people as Aboriginal Places and protect these places under legislation
  • promote joint management of Country with Aboriginal people
  • maintain the Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System
  • issue and enforce Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permits to manage impacts to Aboriginal cultural heritage.

Management system

We maintain the Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System, an online database of recorded Aboriginal Places and objects, referred to as Aboriginal sites, in New South Wales.

You need to register with AHIMS Web Services to search for recorded Aboriginal sites. Additions to AHIMS are made by heritage professionals in collaboration with local Aboriginal communities and/or Department of Premier and Cabinet staff.

Aboriginal objects may exist on a parcel of land and not be recorded in AHIMS. If you discover something you think should be recorded as an Aboriginal object in AHIMS, email the Heritage Information Management Team: ahims@environment.nsw.gov.au

Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permits

If you want to carry out activities that may impact an Aboriginal Place or object, whether the item has been registered on the AHIMS database or not, you may need to apply for an Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permit (AHIP). If you are not sure of the Aboriginal history of a place or object, visit the NSW Heritage Database to see if a particular place or object has been declared, or you can check whether an item has been recorded on the Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System (AHIMS).