Headland within Rocky Cape National Park, walkers on lookout
North Cave viewing platform, Rocky Cape National Park. (photograph: Natalie Mendham)

Aboriginal heritage

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​​​​​The Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) acknowledges and pays respect to Tasmanian Aboriginal people as the traditional and original owners, and continuing custodians of this land and acknowledges Elders – past, present and emerging.

Tasmania’s Aboriginal cultural heritage provides a spiritual connection for Tasmanian Aboriginal people today and valuable information about one of the oldest living cultures in the world.

Aboriginal cultural heritage is the tangible and intangible legacy of Tasmania’s Aboriginal people. It refers to those places and objects from past generations. It includes places of intangible heritage where there may be no physical evidence of past cultural activities such as places of spiritual tradition and ceremonial significance.

Aboriginal Heritage Tasmania​ (AHT) administers the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1975, which provides for the protection and management of Tasmania’s Aboriginal cultural heritage.

For those interested in learning more about Tasman​ian Aboriginal culture and heritage, and importantly the Tasmanian Aboriginal people living in Tasmania today, visit the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in Hobart and Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery in Launceston.​

For Aboriginal Heritage Awareness Training visit Aboriginal Heritage Tasmania.​

The Tasmanian Wilderness Worl​​d Her​​itage Area (TWWHA)​

The TWWHA is a diverse Aboriginal cultural landscape in which the cultural heritage of Tasmanian Aboriginal people is preserved. For tens of thousands of years Aboriginal people lived in the coastal environments, the valleys with freshwater rivers, open button grass plains and alpine mountains.

Aboriginal people have lived in, used, managed and modified the landscape of the TWWHA for over​ 42 ​0​00 years. The physical evidence of this connection is apparent today in elements such as the vegetation types and coverage within the TWWHA, which were managed and modified by targeted burning regimes implemented by Aboriginal people. Aboriginal cultural heritage sites provide further evidence of the long connection with the landscape.

Aboriginal cultural values are also evident in intangible knowledge associated with the TWWHA including story, song, dance, language, kinship, custom, ceremony and ritual. Knowledge of these intangible elements are held by Tasmanian Aboriginal people and are often associated with physical places or features within the landscape with some, such as the creation story associated with Louisa Bay and Cox Bight, presented to the public in the form of an interpretative walking trail known as the Needwonee Walk at Melaleuca. 

The TWWHA continues to be significant to today's Tasmanian Aboriginal community.  More information is available at the Aboriginal Heritage Tasmania website

​​Work​​​ing on​​​​ Country rangers

The Australian Government establish​ed the Working on Country program recognising that protecting and conserving the environment is a shared responsibility and to provide sustainable employment for Indigenous people.

Indigenous people have long-held cultural and traditional responsibilities to protect and manage their land and sea country. They play an active role in managing an estimated 20 per cent of the Australian continent, upon which lies some of our most environmentally precious natural assets and, for Indigenous people, is rich in cultural and spiritual meaning.

Our Working on Country program - the Aboriginal Trainee Ranger Program - has been operating for a number of years and is supported by the Australian and Tasmanian governments. 

The program enables staff to develop the skills and knowledge required to gain professional qualifications in land management. It also allows our non-indigenous staff to learn more about Tasmanian Aboriginal culture, and for the agency to better protect and promote Aboriginal heritage within the reserve-estate. 

​For opportunities, see more information on our Employment page.