RPS’ Cultural Heritage team in New South Wales was recently engaged by Young Shire Council (NSW) to conduct an Aboriginal Heritage study in the Young Local Government Area (LGA). The council was eager to promote Aboriginal heritage, while respecting Aboriginal cultural values and sensitive information, and needed to develop a stronger relationship with the Young Local Aboriginal Land Council.
The purpose of the study was to identify cultural landscapes in the Young LGA that are of cultural and spiritual significance to the Aboriginal community, so that future development in the area be undertaken in a manner which respects Aboriginal cultural values.
RPS conducted a series of community mapping meetings with the Aboriginal community in order to identify areas of cultural and spiritual significance. The exact location of these areas were then buffered for their protection and a procedure put in place for Council planners to contact the relevant Aboriginal community when a development was proposed in an area of cultural significance. This procedure aims to strengthen communication between Young Shire Council and the Young Local Aboriginal Land Council and to facilitate an open dialogue with regards to Aboriginal Cultural Heritage.
RPS Cultural Heritage Consultants Deborah Farina and Laraine Nelson travelled to the town of Young to meet with Aboriginal communities and council representatives. Deborah was also one of seven people who gathered for the first meeting in four years of Young’s newly restored Aboriginal Liaison Committee to investigate Aboriginal Heritage sites. The committee, also consisting of councillors and members of the local Aboriginal community, had several meetings to discuss projects such as RPS’ Heritage study along with plans for an Aboriginal Cultural Day.
These meetings were extremely significant in the area, not only bringing the community together, but highlighting the Council’s efforts to preserve the area for future generations.