Tag Archives: Aboriginal Affairs Victoria

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).

Grampians- Gariwerd Directed Study

It is week two on the quest for information. I have been directed to Melbourne and to Aboriginal Affairs Victoria to access the register of information regarding the Archaeological and Cultural sites in Gariwerd (Grampians). Although I had not heard back from the AAV team about accessing the register, I took the leap, found four open days in my schedule and headed off to the big metropolis of Melbourne. After a few days, panic set in as I had not heard anything. Then on the third day I received a phone call that said that I was granted access. The AAV team was great, they showed me (someone who is computer challenged) the ways to navigate the register and took a couple of hours of their own time to help me gather the information that I needed. It would have taken me days without their help! It was great how it all came together and fell into place. I really owe the team at Aboriginal Affairs Victoria a big thank you. Now I have most of the information that I will need to complete my project. It’s funny how things just work out sometimes.

Grampians- Gariwerd Directed Study

Well after a slow start, the aim has been identified and the questions laid out. In my eternal quest for rock art related projects I have somehow managed to find a project where the aim is to focus on everything but rock art and rather on other archaeological sites. The project that I am undertaking is in conjunction with Parks Victoria and the team out of the Gariwerd (Grampians) National Park. This project will focus on the creation of a ‘catalogue of knowledge’. Currently, Parks Victoria manages the land of the Gariwerd (Grampians) Cultural Heritage area and is very conscious of the land management activities that if carried out inappropriately have the potential to alter, disrupt and potentially destroy cultural sites. This project aims to provide an overview of site types, location, significance, and condition. It will help define culturally significant areas of the landscape that are sensitive to various land management activities.

A couple of weeks ago I was able to visit Gariwerd (Grampians) National Park and meet with the team there. I was treated to an excellent tour of their Brambuk Cultural Center and a tour of some of the rock art sites. It was a wonderful day and I learned so much being out on Country. The Parks Victoria staffs are so amazing and welcoming. I would suggest that if you are ever passing through on your way to Melbourne to venture towards Gariwerd (Grampians). During my visit I was told that many of the tourists say they didn’t plan to stop but they felt a pull towards it. I can understand why!

This project has taught me so much. Even without doing much research. Firstly, to remember that archaeology is made up of so many aspects. If we just focus on one thing, we miss the bigger picture. That although we as archaeologists focus on the past, it is what we are providing for the people of today that makes it all worthwhile. I also realized how much we all take for granted the amount of work that our Tutors and Techs. put into taking us into the field and on field trips (risk assessments are a true test of patience). And that friends named Matt are few and far between, they will never make you go camping alone, and will provide you with endless hours of entertainment over the campfire.

A special thanks goes out to the Indigenous Communities of the Gariwerd (Grampians). To Suzy Skurrie, Mike Stevens and David Newton (the Parks Victoria team). As wells as Emily Jateff and Dr. Heather Burke, Dr. Michael Westaway and Dr. Alice Gorman.