Statement of Intent

The South Australian Heritage Council (the Council) recognises and respects Aboriginal people as the state’s first people, the traditional custodians of our skies, lands, waters, animals and plants.

The Heritage Places Act 1993 (SA) does not allow for the registration of Aboriginal heritage places and objects, but Council remains committed to sharing Aboriginal stories connected with listings in the South Australian Heritage Register.

Council acknowledges that colonisation changed Aboriginal culture forever, and that for generations, there were systematic efforts to erase the ancient record of Aboriginal heritage in Australia. The Uluru Statement from the Heart, the largest consensus of Aboriginal people about a proposal for their recognition in Australian history, says truth telling is essential if Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people are to reconcile after past wrongs. While some Aboriginal stories connected with listings in the Register will be difficult to hear, Council seeks to respectfully share them to promote understanding, empathy and ultimately healing.

The Council has an important role to promote an understanding and appreciation of the State’s heritage and to provide for the identification and documentation of places and related objects of State heritage significance. The Council embraces truth telling about the state’s heritage and makes a commitment that the heritage list (the South Australian Heritage Register) will reflect this truth.

Council embraces the vision and relevant actions within the Department for Environment and Water’s Reconciliation Action Plan, and commits to:

  • recognising the Traditional Owners of land for both new and existing State Heritage Places;
  • Aboriginal stories told in association with newly listed State Heritage Places / Objects in the Register;
  • appropriate additions to the listings for existing State Heritage Places;
  • giving Aboriginal people opportunities to tell their stories in their own words; and
  • listing places which have historical significance to both Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal people.

Dhawura Ngilan

Inspired by the work undertaken by the Māori Heritage Council in New Zealand and its vision for places of Māori heritage, Tapuwae, Heritage Chairs and Officials of Australia and New Zealand (HCOANZ) at its meeting in New Zealand, April 2019 committed to support the development of a Vision Statement for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage in Australia (Dhawura Ngilan).

HCOANZ met on 16 September 2020 and discussed and endorsed two pieces of work pertaining to Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander Heritage in Australia:

1. Dhawura Ngilan (Remembering Country): A vision for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage in Australia
2. Best Practice Standards in Indigenous Cultural Heritage Management and Legislation (the Standards)

The SA Heritage Council endorse and strongly support Dhawura Ngilan.

You can access this document here: Dhawura Ngilan

Map of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander country

The Council is pleased to recognise the Aboriginal country that a State Heritage Place is located on as part of its listing and story telling.

A fantastic resource to enable this to occur appropriately is this map:

Map of Indigenous Australia