Aboriginal Heritage and Development

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Warringah Council is committed to protecting and managing Aboriginal cultural heritage in accordance with Aboriginal custom and statutory requirements.

All Aboriginal sites in NSW are protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974. It is an offence under the Act to harm Aboriginal heritage objects and it is no longer a defence to claim not to have known that there was a risk of finding an Aboriginal object.

What is an Aboriginal object?

The most common types of Aboriginal objects in Warringah are shell middens, axe grinding grooves and rock engravings. For photos and information on how to identify a sites, visit the Aboriginal Heritage Office website.

How will I know if there is an Aboriginal object on my site?

It is very difficult to identify Aboriginal objects. The most common way of finding out if there is a chance of an Aboriginal object being on your property is to be notified by Council in response to a Development Application or other Council matter that affects your property.

What if there is an Aboriginal object on my property?

If you have been informed that there is an Aboriginal object on your property – or that there is a risk of finding one – you must get further advice on how best to proceed, but you must never remove or destroy the object. The type of advice will depend on each individual situation and can range from a phone conversation with a Council officer to conducting an Aboriginal archaeological heritage assessment.

It is not likely that potentially finding an Aboriginal object on your property will mean that you cannot proceed with a proposed development. Normally it would mean that Council would negotiate with you in a timely way to find a good solution for adjusting the proposed development so that there is no risk of harm to an Aboriginal object.