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

Aboriginal heritage

Find out more

​​​​​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 Ranger Program

The Australian Government establish​ed the Working on Country program in 2007. It is now called the Indigenous Ranger Program and is delivered by the Australian Government’s National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA). The program supports over 80 Indigenous ranger groups across Australia.  

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE Tas) receives a multi-year Indigenous Ranger Program grant. This grant enables the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service (a division of NRE Tas) to employ a ranger group of between 5 and 7 Palawa (Tasmanian Aboriginal) to help care for Country and obtain professional qualifications in ecosystem and conservation management.  

The program is reciprocal, helping to raise cultural awareness of non-Aboriginal staff within the Department and guide improvements in a range of projects and policies.  

The grant provides total funding of $3,165,852 over 7 years, concluding in 2028. It is acknowledged that the decision-making and funding for this program is best placed with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community.  

To reflect this, a significant commitment is contained within the funding agreement to transition the PWS Working on Country Program to a Community-led model by 2025. NRE Tas is committed to working collaboratively with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community to achieve this goal.  ​​

Enquiries about the Department’s Working on Country Ranger Program can be sent to: WorkingOnCountry.Enquiries@nre.tas.gov.au. ​​