Aboriginal culture and heritage

Aboriginal culture and heritage

Aus­tralian Abo­rig­i­nal cul­ture is the longest con­tin­u­ing cul­ture in the world. Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ples have lived on this con­ti­nent for thou­sands of gen­er­a­tions and the lands and waters have sus­tained their many unique cul­tures and economies.

For Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple, the lands, waters and all liv­ing things are con­nect­ed and the land­scape is a liv­ing body.

There are many places across the state that have great spir­i­tu­al sig­nif­i­cance to Abo­rig­i­nal first nations. They are all part of the Cre­ation or Dream­ing, of Coun­try; and they are part of the Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ples of South Australia.

Abo­rig­i­nal first nations implore vis­i­tors to respect their tra­di­tion­al lands and waters. A num­ber of Abo­rig­i­nal cul­tur­al sites are pro­mot­ed on this web­site but please respect that there are some sites that are not open to visitors.


Abo­rig­i­nal cul­tur­al pro­to­cols have defined access to Coun­try for thou­sands of gen­er­a­tions. We are work­ing with co-man­age­ment boards and Abo­rig­i­nal part­ners to recog­nise these pro­to­cols in the man­age­ment of parks. In the absence of site-spe­cif­ic pro­to­cols, we encour­age vis­i­tors to show respect by not touch­ing or remov­ing any­thing from the site. Respect the wish­es of Tra­di­tion­al Own­ers when access is restrict­ed, and make sure you take all your rub­bish with you when you leave. 

Where can I vis­it an Abo­rig­i­nal cul­tur­al site?

Find nation­al parks that have Abo­rig­i­nal cul­tur­al sites to vis­it by using our Find a Park tool. Refine your search to Abo­rig­i­nal cul­tur­al sites’ then choose the park or parks you want to explore. Find out more about the Abo­rig­i­nal cul­tur­al sites on park and oth­er use­ful infor­ma­tion by click­ing through to the park page. 

For more inspi­ra­tion of places to vis­it, check out southaustralia.com’s blog Top 10 Abo­rig­i­nal Land­marks and Expe­ri­ences in South Australia. 

Whose Coun­try am I visiting?

South Aus­tralia is home to over 30 Abo­rig­i­nal groups, with dis­tinct beliefs, cul­tur­al prac­tices and lan­guages. Read the Tra­di­tion­al Own­ers sec­tion on the indi­vid­ual park pages to learn whose Coun­try you will be visiting.

Use this Map of Indige­nous Aus­tralia to get a big­ger pic­ture. This map is an attempt to rep­re­sent all the lan­guage, trib­al or nation groups of the Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Islander peo­ples of Australia.

Abo­rig­i­nal co-man­age­ment of parks

Some parks are co-man­aged by Abo­rig­i­nal groups and the state gov­ern­ment. Co-man­age­ment of nation­al parks com­bines Abo­rig­i­nal knowl­edge with west­ern park man­age­ment. Find out more about co-man­age­ment and the parks, groups and Boards involved.

Pro­tect­ing Abo­rig­i­nal cul­tur­al sites

Sites of sig­nif­i­cance accord­ing to Abo­rig­i­nal tra­di­tion and sites sig­nif­i­cant to Abo­rig­i­nal archae­ol­o­gy, anthro­pol­o­gy and his­to­ry are pro­tect­ed in South Aus­tralia by the Abo­rig­i­nal Her­itage Act 1988. If you are inter­est­ed in view­ing the leg­is­la­tion, you can read the Act here.

Acknowl­edg­ment of Country

The Depart­ment of Envi­ron­ment and Water acknowl­edges Tra­di­tion­al Own­ers of Coun­try through­out South Aus­tralia and recog­nis­es their con­tin­u­ing con­nec­tion to lands, waters and com­mu­ni­ties. We pay our respect to Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Islander cul­tures; and to Elders both past and present.

Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Islander peo­ples should be aware that this web­site may con­tain images or names of peo­ple who have since passed away.