Tag Archives: Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988

Developing A Guide for Recording and Conserving Aboriginal Heritage Sites in South Australia.

Hello everyone!

I am currently undertaking a practicum with the Aboriginal Heritage Branch of the Aboriginal Affairs Reconciliation Division (AARD) of South Australia. For those who do not know, the Heritage Branch is designed to improve administration and to ensure compliance with the Aboriginal Heritage Act (1988).

Within this blog, I am going to share with you some more of my experiences while working with AARD.  This practicum is the first time I have been actively involved with a government department who are in charge of the management of Indigenous cultural heritage sites in South Australia. Initially, I was not sure of what to expect from the practicum but I was assured the experiences obtained would be worthwhile.

One of my projects is to re-write a guide for recording and conserving Aboriginal heritage sites in South Australia., The guide is for the use of Aboriginal people and others interested in conducting archaeological site recording. The objective of this guide is to provide the necessary information about archaeological site identification, site recording and site management.

The guide I have compiled is an 81 page report consisting of a number of in-depth and captivating chapters complimented by images. The importance of why heritage sites should be recorded is the first section of this guide. The Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988, basic site recording, stone tools and how to use site cards are later addressed. The last part of the guide includes information on the conservation of sites, interpreting landscapes and how to access information held in the Central Archive by the Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Division – DPC (AARD) as required by the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988 (the Act). A glossary, further readings and blank ‘A’ and ‘B’ site cards are also present at the end of the report. Copies of the report: A Guide for Recording and Conserving Aboriginal Heritage Sites in South Australia will soon be available through the Aboriginal Heritage Branch.

If anyone is also interested in reading or creating a guide for recording Indigenous sites in Australia, check out the following links:

QUEENSLAND Department of Environment and Resource Management



WESTERN AUSTRALIA Department of Indigenous Affairs


VICTORIA Department of Planning and Community Development


NEW SOUTH WALES Department of Environment and Heritage




Also, remember to read Burke and Smith (2004) The Archaeologist’s Field Handbook. This publication is a detailed guide for surveying and recording Aboriginal cultural heritage places and other archaeological sites

By Daniel Petraccaro (Master of Archaeology student).

Yappala Field School

Hello everyone!

I have been undertaking a practicum with AARD over the past few weeks. This blog will outine the recent field school run by myself and staff at Hawker SA.

The Heritage Conservation Team from the Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Division Aboriginal Heritage Branch has developed site recording and conservation workshops to provide Aboriginal people with the skills to undertake basic site recording and site conservation projects for themselves. The skills and understanding gained in these workshops enables the participants to be better informed about the operations of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988 and the need for good site recording. On site training enables them to record, plan and to conserve sites of significance and to negotiate with greater confidence with other stakeholders.

The workshop at Hawker was run over four days and included indoor and outdoor sessions. The indoor sessions included presentations on the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988, stone tool identification, rock art recording, how to find a Grid reference, how to use a GPS and how to identify and record a range of different archaeological sites (scarred trees, knapping sites, burials and rock art) (FIGURE 1).

FIGURE ONE: Induction class at Hawker.  Daniel Petraccaro assisting participants Ernestine Coulthard, Christina Coulthard and Karl McKenzie with map reading.

During the outdoor sessions, participants worked in groups and practiced site recording of an archaeological site at Hookina Spring (FIGURE 2 and 3). All participants were encouraged to use the GPS, to draw site mud maps and also filled out an archaeological site card, which included the site contents and site condition. We all then discussed the processes for recording cultural sites and for drafting site conservation management plans.

FIGURE TWO: Daniel Petraccaro with Ernestine Coulthard, Christina Coulthard, Karl McKenzie and Gila McKenzie at Hookina Spring.

FIGURE THREE: Daniel Petraccaro with Veronon Coulthard at Hookina Spring.

In summary, the field at Hawker achieved the aims presented. All the participants learnt how to undertake basic site recording. The perfect weather also made the field school a more enjoyable experience for everyone!

Thanks for reading and stay in tune for my next blog!

By Daniel Petraccaro (Masters in Archaeology student).

Informative meeting about the Review of the South Australian Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988

This review was taken at the Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Division Department of the Premier and Cabinet (AARD) and was conducted by representatives of the State Government. The state government released its Scoping Paper for the review of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988 in December 2008. Reviewing the Act is considered the most consultative process realized in SA. The Scoping Paper was designed to describe the context of and reasons for reviewing the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988. Thus, the enactment of Native Title Act 1993(Commonwealth), new Aboriginal heritage legislation interstate, the Government’s Native Title Claims Resolution Process, development and implementation of legislation that takes an integrated approach to land management and use, the widespread use of agreements negotiated directly between Aboriginal people and land developers about heritage and related matters, implementation of the South Australian Strategic Plan are part of the context and reasons behind the review initiated by the State Government.

The purpose of this process is to see included in the new act principles such as recognition of Aboriginal custodians of cultural heritage, a much stronger framework for long-term protection and management of Aboriginal heritage, enabling Aboriginal negotiation of agreements about heritage, embedding Aboriginal heritage considerations into the development and land management process, more efficient process, certainty to all parties and complementing the Native Title Act 1993(Cth). On the other hand, the Joint Heritage Committees, which consist of the Aboriginal Congress of SA Inc.Heritage Sub-Committee and the State Aboriginal Heritage Committee (SAHC), would like to see in the new Act four key changes: establishment of an Independent Aboriginal Authority, Make developers produce and negotiate and Aboriginal Heritage Management Plan, Use of local Organisations to contact the right people for heritage and to wider the meaning of Heritage(Knowledge, all waters and land, Plants, Animals and natural resources and repatriation). The final stage will consist on the adoption of new legislation after approval by parliament in 2010, but further consultation is needed.