Cultural Heritage Assessments

Aboriginal people lived throughout Western Australia for well over 45,000 years before the arrival of the Europeans. Not surprisingly then, evidence of their presence and occupation is found throughout the Western Australian landscape. Heritage surveys record and document these places as ‘sites’.
Aboriginal sites are defined under Section 5 of the Western Australian Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 (the Act), “as any place of importance and significance to Aboriginal people”. Aboriginal sites are also a significant part of the cultural heritage of Western Australia.

In essence there are two types of Aboriginal sites: ethnographic sites and archaeological sites.

  • Ethnographic sites are places known to Traditional Owners as part of their cultural traditions – places typically with mythological or ceremonial meaning.
  • Archaeological sites are places where evidence of the past activities of Aboriginal groups or people has been preserved. Archaeological sites typically comprise artefacts and/or features.

Under Section 17 of the Aboriginal Heritage Act it is an offence to knowingly disturb an Aboriginal site in any way without authorisation from the Registrar of the Department of Indigenous Affairs (under Section 16) or the Minister (under Section 18). In this context then, it is advisable to first find out if there are Aboriginal sites on your land that may be inadvertently disturbed as part of your development.

You can use the Heritage Council System to check if there are Aboriginal sites already recorded on or near your project area . If no sites are listed it is most likely either that no previous heritage survey work has been undertaken or that sites that have been found have not been reported to the Heritage Council. There are very few parts of Western Australia where you wouldn’t expect to find Aboriginal sites.

Moodjar has a database of experienced Monitors, archaeologists and anthropologists ready for your requirements.

Some recent projects undertaken by Moodjar include:

  • 2019 City of Perth - Cultural Heritage Assessment Nedlands and Crawley Bay
  • 2019 City of Stirling - Noongar governance project
  • 2019 City of Vincent - Cultural Heritage Assessment
  • 2016/17 City of Perth -Wellington Square project
  • 2015/16 City of Fremantle. Statements of Significance for the Fremantle Area and Registered Aboriginal Sites - Cantonment ill, Rocky Bay and Swan River.