Tag Archives: Department of Indigenous Affairs

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).

Life in Perth at the DIA.

Well folks this is my third blog and have only another thirty hours to go before I end my practicum at the Department of Indigenous Affairs. Recently I have been doing Program of Works, which I will be able to do for the next few days. This will involve using Arch Maps to see whether sites are in the mining tenements that are being submitted. Then drafting letters of advice to the mining proponents

The Department of Mines and Resources requires that there is DIA consent to excavate before they will deliver permission to a mining operator to operate in an area. This however can only be done after the Department of Environment delivers its approval.

I am interested in seeing how Arch Map works as it will be a tool I have yet to use. I have recently delivered my Section 18 appraisal that I worked on with Simon, I found this challenging but rewarding to see how much detail needs to be delivered to make sure Indigenous heritage has been given enough consideration across all stake holders, whether they are native title holders, males or females.

The DIA have asked me to deliver this assessment to the ACMC meeting to deliver ministerial recommendation on the site.

At the end of this practicum I will feel satisfied that I know what a Senior Heritage Officer should do and the varying conflicts of interests and time constraints that a career in the public service entertains.

Aboriginal Heritage Act Review

I am half way through my practicum at the Department of Indigenous Affairs in Western Australia. Presently the department is going through an Act review. This is looking at the act and then seeing whether it applies or is utilised? The lawyer consults with all the members and understands what happens in the department according to the act.

One of the interesting aspects is how Western Australia separates objects and sites in its legislation of protection. One of the problems with this is that it is becoming difficult to understand the role of the DIA in its protection of objects and whether it has the resources to protect thousands of objects.

However the most interesting aspect is how university has prepared me for this type of environment. Mark Staniforth’s Maritime Archaeology unit consistently compared other acts, the positives and negatives and the AHA review meeting looked at various other state government acts. It showed the realities of tutorials at university are not separate from the everyday life that government departments around the country experience day-to-day.

The AHA review runs twice a week with different branches of heritage all getting their say for two hours. It would be good to see with this level of consultation that the Department of Indigenous Affairs legislation becomes all the stronger into the future on the community’s trust in the department to protect the sites and objects of the various indigenous groups around Western Australia.

DIA – Holding onto Indigenous sites of importance

The mining boom state of Western Australia has a small team of dedicated and hard-working staff who seek to preserve Western Australia’s rich cultural history. As part of my Graduate Diploma of Archaeology, I am doing an internship. Understanding the act, analysis of reports and the development of a Powerpoint presentation has been the majority of content that I have learnt for the first thirty hours.

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