Cultural Heritage

Connection to Country / Sacred sites / Language/ Land rights / Repatriation / Climate futures / Indigenous knowledge systems

Indigenous languages being taught to 10,000 West Australian school kids

04/07/22 ABC: The 24 Aboriginal languages being taught across WA now have around 10,000 students, up significantly from 6,000 just two years ago.

Aboriginal flag to fly permanently on Melbourne’s West Gate Bridge

04/07/22 SBS: The Aboriginal flag will have a permanent home atop Melbourne’s West Gate Bridge within days.The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags have flown on a rotational basis above the West Gate Bridge during Reconciliation and NAIDOC weeks since 2019.

Climate change poses ‘real and substantial’ threat to Torres Strait Islanders, Chris Bowen says

29/06/22 SBS: Energy and Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen says climate change poses a “real and substantial” threat to Torres Strait Islander communities ahead of a visit to meet with traditional owners about their concerns for their Country.

Eddie Mabo’s grandson Kaleb continues legacy with work to restore Mer Island

27/06/22 ABC: On a trip to his ancestral home on Mer Island, Kaleb Mabo made a promise to himself.

The significance of these very rare Aboriginal shelters has been revealed

23/06/22 SBS: The “very rare” archaeological significance of Kokatha Aboriginal sites within a government weapons testing facility has been revealed, according to an unpublished report obtained by SBS News.

New program to share First Nations knowledge in the classroom

06/05/22 National Indigenous Times: First Nations educator and Wiradjuri man Adam Shipp and Landcare Australia have developed ten new First Nations learning activities for the junior Landcare program.

‘Long journey’ culminates in land hand-back for NSW Traditional Owners

06/05/22 National Indigenous Times: On April 30 the Mount Yarrowyck was renamed Bulagaranda Aboriginal Area and returned to the Anaiwan and Armidale Local Aboriginal land councils at a ceremony.

Feds urged to intervene as derided WA heritage law places Seven Sisters songline ‘at risk’

06/05/22 National Indigenous Times: Federal intervention has been sought to protect two culturally significant areas linked to the fabled Seven Sisters songline in Western Australia from proposed mining projects.

Ambitious plan revealed to put Traditional Owners first in zero-extinction NT parks plan

29/04/22 National Indigenous Times: The draft NT Parks Masterplan released last week outlines a 30-year management model for the 85 parks and reserves in the Territory, including measures to improve Indigenous engagement and economic development, preserve native species, and grow tourism.

New national park in WA’s Kimberley region welcomed by traditional owners

28/04/22 ABC: Traditional owners hope the declaration of a new national park in WA’s Kimberley region will create jobs and protect the river system from future development.

Yakka Munga Station land clearing three-year probe ends in warning for Chinese company

26/04/22 ABC: The West Australian state government has issued a Chinese-owned company accused of illegally clearing bush in the Kimberley with a “letter of warning” after a nearly three-year investigation.

Aboriginal shield returned to country 60 years after croc hunters ‘collected’ it from banks of Mitchell River

26/04/22 ABC: A shield, used during traditional stick fights between Aboriginal men of the Kowanyama region, has been returned to country more than 60 years after it was “collected” by a group of crocodile hunters.

In a land scarred by mining, Elders weave rugs to reclaim Ngurra

21/04/22 National Indigenous Times: Born out of being surrounded by gaping mining holes left on their Ngurra, Ngalia elders in Leonora are taking the grief from mining and sealing these holes with a large-scale, vibrant artwork using woven rugs.Born out of being surrounded by gaping mining holes left on their Ngurra, Ngalia elders in Leonora are taking the grief from mining and sealing these holes with a large-scale, vibrant artwork using woven rugs.

Indigenous fishing club transforms neglected water storage ponds into community fishing lagoons

23/04/22 ABC: An Indigenous fishing club has united with a water corporation to transform two decommissioned reservoirs into community fishing lagoons.

Wayne Quilliam: Photographing the diversity of Aboriginal Australia

22/04/22 BBC: Aboriginal photographer Wayne Quilliam has been travelling across Australia for 30 years, documenting its hundreds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups.

National Folk Festival returns with a focus on celebrating Ngunnawal language after two years of COVID-19 cancellations

16/04/22 ABC: Artistic Director Katie Noonan said her focus for the festival was on connecting to Ngunnawal country through the sharing of language on stage, a focus that has seen many of the artists performing songs in Ngunnawal language. This year’s festival was opened by iconic First Nations singer-songwriter Uncle Archie Roche, and will be closed by First Nations band Yothu Yindi.

Ancient remains to be reburied at Lake Mungo, ending decades-long campaign

11/04/22 NITV: The decision to rebury the remains of 108 Aboriginal people, including Mungo Man and Mungo Lady, has been welcomed by some, but has also inspired disappointment.

Traditional Owner-led dig unveils 50,000-year links

09/04/22 NITV: A West Australian archaeological dig has confirmed Aboriginal people have lived in the eastern Pilbara region for more than 50,000 years. The project, commissioned by the Yinhawangka Aboriginal Corporation with funding from Rio Tinto, is the first ever Traditional Owner-led, non-mining related heritage excavation on Yinhawangka Country.

Bunya Mountains land purchase to renew connections to old ways

07/04/22 NITV: The return of a property to Traditional Custodians in South Queensland’s revered Bunya Mountains will re-establish a connection to a traditional gathering dating back tens of thousands of years.

The Mountains have always been a sacred place where thousands of Aboriginal people from hundreds of kilometres away would follow songlines to gather every three years to coincide with the harvesting of bunya pine nuts.

F1 giant McLaren and Daniel Ricciardo to feature Australian Indigenous charity Deadly Science on grand prix cars

05/04/22 ABC: This weekend, the charity that provides science books and early reading material to remote Australian Indigenous communities will have its logo beamed around the world.

Investigation into missile found at Aboriginal heritage site ‘could lead to international scrutiny’

05/04/22 SBS: Multinational weapons maker Saab could soon enter negotiations with a group of Traditional Owners after an unexploded anti-aircraft missile was found in a heritage area in South Australia and first revealed by SBS News and NITV.

‘Australia’s silk road’: Quarry sites dating back 2,100 years reveal world-scale trading system on Mithaka country

05/04/22 ABC: In the heart of Mithaka Country, in Queensland’s Channel Country, traditional owners and archaeologists have unearthed what researchers have dubbed “Australia’s Silk Road”, dating back at least 2,100 years. Mithaka cultural landscape will be assessed for national heritage listing.

Nearly half of Kakadu National Park to be handed back to Aboriginal traditional owners

24/03/22 ABC: For several decades, almost 10,000 square kilometres of the World Heritage-listed park in the Northern Territory have been the subject of four separate land claims. On Thursday afternoon, the long fight for formal recognition will end when the Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt delivers the deeds of title to local elders.

NT traditional owners take legal action over Santos’s Barossa gas project north of Darwin

23/03/22 ABC: Traditional owners in the Northern Territory say they have launched international legal action to try to block one of the biggest projects announced in the Australian oil and gas sector for almost a decade.

Sacred headdress returned to Lardil people after 50 years abroad

22/03/22 SBS: A ceremony in Canberra has marked the official return of a traditional Lardil headdress to the people of Gununa (Mornington Island), marking the end of a 50 year international journey.

Indigenous custodians work with universities to bring bush foods and remedies to market

19/03/22 ABC: Iningai custodians in Western Queensland have benefited from nature’s “homemaker centres” in the bush for thousands of years, and now they are partnering with universities to take bush foods and remedies to market.

Ancient campfires reveal a 50,000 year old grocer and pharmacy

17/03/22 University of Western Australia: Led by UWA PhD candidate Chae Byrne, the research was the first of its kind in the region and examined charcoal from ancient campfires in desert rock shelters to learn about the earliest uses of firewood in Karnatukul (Serpents Glen) in Katjarra (the Carnarvon Ranges)

Connections to Sea Country: Cultural fisheries program to be launched for Tasmania’s Aboriginal people

17/03/22 SBS: Establishing a cultural fisheries program in Tasmania was a recommendation made in the state’s Pathway to Treaty report published last year.

Survivors’ plan to turn place of trauma into house of healing gains global backing

02/02/22 National Indigenous Times: An abandoned boys home which for 50 years enabled mass cultural genocide of Stolen Generations children in New South Wales has been recognised as a globally significant precinct to preserve.

CEO Secrets: Mikaela Jade of Indigital shares her advice

02/03/22 BBC Business: Mikaela Jade, founder and CEO of Indigital, Australia’s first Indigenous Ed-tech company, shares her advice. Ms Jade was a park ranger in Australia when she hit upon an idea. Use the latest immersive technologies to bring stories about the history of Indigenous people to life.

After years of negotiations, Traditional Owners in Cape York will now be able to enjoy the cultural and economic benefits of their ancestral lands.

26/02/22 NITV: It has been called one of the most “significant purchases” in Queensland history, and will add to 3.85 million hectares across Cape York, with all of the land now owned and managed by Traditional Owners.

‘On our own terms’: Anaiwan people look to buy 240 hectares of bushland to reclaim country

23/02/22 The Guardian Australia: The Anaiwan people of the New England high country in New South Wales have taken matters into their own hands in the fight to reclaim Indigenous land, running a successful crowdfunding campaign to buy a privately owned bush block.

Coalition announces new $19m Beetaloo Basin gas support after previous grants ruled invalid

22/02/22 The Guardian Australia: The Coalition has re-announced almost $20m for fracking company Empire Energy, a firm with links to the Liberal party, just two months after a court ruled a previous issue of the grants was invalid.

Snapchat partners with First Languages Australia to release new lenses

21/02/22 MediaWeek: Snapchat has announced it has partnered with First Languages Australia to launch a series of language learning Lenses that help raise awareness and educate young Aussies on Australia’s first languages and Indigenous culture.,Language%20Day%20which%20is%20on%20Monday,%20February%2021.

Wayapa Wuurrk: Connect to the earth through this Indigenous mindfulness exercise

27/01/22 SBS: Wayapa Wurrrk, a mindfulness practice steeped in ancient Indigenous wisdom, combines movement and meditation to encourage participants to feel a connection to the earth.

Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, Indigenous Australian advocate and actor, dies aged 85

27/01/22 The Guardian: Amnesty International Australia Indigenous rights advisor Rodney Dillon called her “a staunch warrior for our people – her depth of knowledge of her country as well as the political arena was remarkable and her legacy is profound.

Indigenous languages are disappearing These linguists are trying to stop that

21/01/22 ABC: There are more than 250 Indigenous languages in Australia but, according to a AIATSIS 2018–19 survey, only 123 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages are still in use. Of those, only about 12 are relatively strong and being taught to children.

To be Murri is to know that even at your loneliest you are never truly alone

28/12/21 The Guardian Australia: We know each other in a deep, timeless sense. When we yarn the only measurement of time we keep is in cups of tea

Aboriginal language educators ‘devastated’ by sacking days before Christmas

18/12/21 NITV: Former staff are seeking legal advice after at least 30 Aboriginal Language Educators were dismissed over a Zoom call.

Calls for funding boost to preserve Indigenous dialects as languages rapidly disappear

17/12/21 SBS: Indigenous languages are quickly disappearing as dialects vanish in Australia at a world-leading rate.

WA Cultural Heritage Bill passes without amendment

15/12/21: National Indigenous Times: Despite grave concerns raised by Aboriginal land councils, legal experts, investor groups and the United Nations, Western Australia’s Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act was passed unamended overnight. Senator Pat Dodson has described this outcome as ‘the tyranny of cultural genocide’

Statues of Indigenous leaders Bennelong and Barangaroo unveiled in Sydney

12/12/21 SBS: Bronze statues of Aboriginal leaders Bennelong and Barangaroo have been unveiled in Sydney. The busts, which frame the door at St Patrick’s Catholic Church in The Rocks, were unveiled by NSW Governor Margaret Beazley who urged Australians to gain a greater understanding of their achievements.

Aboriginal heritage alliance to advise Australian government on law reform

29/11/21 The Guardian: The new group held its first roundtable meeting with environment minister Sussan Ley and the minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, on Monday. It will look at ways to reform legislation, and at how to set standards for states and territories to follow.

Historic ruling hands massive tract of Cape York land back to traditional owners

25/11/21 ABC: In a landmark case, 2,188 square kilometres of land have been handed back to Kuuku Ya’u and Uutaanlanu people.

Maralinga nuclear tests: descendants of displaced buy shares in company planning WA uranium mine

29/11/21 The Guardian Australia: The descendants of people displaced by nuclear testing at Maralinga bought shares in a company planning to build a uranium mine on their country, in order to lodge an in-person objection to the project.

‘Blackbirder’ Ben Boyd’s name to be removed from National Park

15/11/21 About regional: Ben Boyd National Park near Eden will be renamed in the language of Traditional Custodians, recognising the Aboriginal cultural heritage of the area.

NSW’s first Indigenous bilingual school is set to open next year

09/11/21 SBS: The Gumbaynggirr Giingana Freedom School, based in Coffs Harbour, will teach kindergarten to Year 2 classes in both Gumbaynggirr language and English.

Why these Torres Strait Islanders are filing a class action against the Australian government

26/10/21 SBS: Paul Kabai’s ancestors have lived on the islands of Boigu and Saibai for over 65,000 years. Now, he fears an escalating climate crisis could flood the islands, forcing local

The rebirth of Tasmanian Indigenous culture

25/10/21 BBC: Although many people believe that this ancient culture and people were lost, recent years have seen a seismic shift in recognition for Indigenous Tasmanians.

For more than a century, this sacred treasure was hidden in a New Zealand swamp before being spirited away to Europe. This is how it was returned.

20/10/21 ABC: On October 3, 1977, five-year-old Graziella Ortiz-Patino was kidnapped by Italian criminals.

Call to reject Evans Head Iron Gates DA over failure to recognise Indigenous heritage

21/10/21 The Echo: The Federal inquiry into the appalling destruction of the 46,000-year-old Australian Indigenous cultural heritage site Juukan Gorge has found that this was not ‘unique’.

Why Indigenous people cannot be aliens in their own land

22/10/21 SBS: Last year, we wrote an overview of the High Court decision in Love, Thoms v Commonwealth. The case concerned whether the Commonwealth had the power to deport two Aboriginal men who were born overseas.

Failures at every level: changes needed to stop destruction of Aboriginal heritage after Juukan Gorge

19/10/21 The Guardian: When Rio Tinto exploded Juukan Gorge, a 46,000-year-old site of global cultural and archaeological significance, it broke the hearts of traditional owners, appalled the nation and blew its own reputation into pieces.

Land acknowledgments meant to honor Indigenous people too often do the opposite – erasing American Indians and sanitizing history instead

08/10/21 TheConversation: Many events these days begin with land acknowledgments: earnest statements acknowledging that activities are taking place, or institutions, businesses and even homes are built, on land previously owned by Indigenous peoples.

‘Historically significant’ return to country for generations of Kullilli people

04/10/21 ABC: For some among the generations of Kullilli people who made the 11-hour trip from the Sunshine Coast to Thargomindah last month, it was the first time they set foot on their traditional land.

Queensland’s Daintree rainforest to be returned to Indigenous Traditional Owners

29/09/21 SBS: Four national parks including the Daintree rainforest will be handed back to Traditional Owners, the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people, in a historic deal with the Queensland government.

Songlines and stolen children: lessons from Indigenous Australians

21/09/21 The Guardian UK: Margo Neale is feeling proud. “Here we are,” she says, “250 years after the British set out to colonise and civilise us, taking our culture to the British – to teach them how to survive in this fragmenting world.”

Paradise found as World Heritage Area reinstates traditional name

20/09/21 NITV: The Butchulla word for paradise, K’gari, will be restored as the official name of Fraser Island after approval from the World Heritage Committee.

Ancient Aboriginal storytelling turns digital

09/09/21 NITV: Tired of negative stereotypes, a small community in the remote Western Australian outback has taken back control of its narrative in the most remarkable way.

WA traditional owners fear proposed heritage law puts sacred sites at risk

08/09/21 SBS: Traditional owners are calling for a redraft of the Western Australian government’s proposed Aboriginal heritage law, which will allow the state government to have the final say on what happens to sacred sites threatened by mining.

“If we care for Country, it will care for us”

27/08/21 Inside Story: Uncle Vic Simms stood in front of the crowd gathered to launch the Guriwal interpretive trail in Sydney’s Centennial Park last May. “This land is your land as well as our land,” the Bidjigal man from La Perouse told the crowd, welcoming them to Country. “We all belong.”

Walk, think, listen, hear on Gadi Country: Sydney’s new harbourside walk

18/08/21 SMH: Sydney’s first harbourside walk dedicated to Indigenous history has a new name that calls on the city’s latter-day residents to walk with the spirits of Aboriginal ancestors.

‘Healing for our people’: Iman celebrate return of grinding stone after 45 years

30/07/21 The Point: The Star of Taroom spent nearly half a century sitting in a Brisbane backyard and now it has been walked 500 kilometres back to Country.

New $5m training centre dedicated to healing Country to open at Curtin University

05/08/21 NITV: An exciting new Indigenous-led research centre dedicated to healing Country will open at Curtin University in 2022.

Aboriginal communities fear their culture will be lost amid Northern Territory cotton boom

30/07/21 SBS: Ngangiwumirri elder Patricia Marrfurra McTaggart has grown up on the banks of the Daly River. Fishing, hunting and gathering provide a link to her culture and Country.

Aboriginal advocates welcome rejection of controversial cable car on Hobart’s kunanyi/Mt Wellington

28/07/21 SBS: Members of Tasmania’s Aboriginal community are celebrating news the Hobart City Council has rejected a development application for a cable car to be built on kunanyi/Mount Wellington.

The plan to bury Mungo Man and Mungo Lady pains some traditional owners – and the man who found them

25/07/21 The Guardian Australia: It might have seemed relatively uncomplicated half a century ago to take the ancient remains of Mungo Lady and Mungo Man from the dry bed of the Willandra Lakes in New South Wales.

A journey down WA’s mighty Martuwarra, raging river and sacred ancestor

06/06/21 The Guardian Australia: A Nyikina man, Mark Coles Smith, and his fellow travellers began their 400km journey down the mighty Martuwarra (Fitzroy River) on a flood plain covered in giant spiders. “Bird-sized” spiders were clinging to the canopy, jostling for space on branches protruding above flood water that stretched for kilometres in every direction.,it%20belongs%20to%20the%20world

The Tasmanian woman using Aboriginal knowledge to protect the world’s national parks and oceans

Town of Jabiru on Kakadu’s outskirts handed to local Mirarr people in ‘monumental moment’