Australian Aboriginal culture is one of the oldest surviving cultures on earth.

The rock art in the Kimberley sits in one of the world’s richest rock art regions and has been described as Australia’s most important Indigenous heritage and cultural asset. Indigenous Australians are the traditional owners, makers and custodians of the rock art.

The west Kimberley was added to the National Heritage List on 31 August, 2011. In 2015 it was announced the Mitchell Plateau is to be included in a new Kimberley National Park which will encompass the existing Prince Regent, Mitchell River and Lawley River national parks and will become Australia’s biggest national park.

Aboriginal rock art in the Kimberley is unique in the world for its quality and quantity, stylistic variation and clear sequences over time. It is a window onto life as it once was. We see the plants and animals and the tools and weapons; we have glimpses of rituals and practices which show us how people lived. The rock art reflects how they adapted to a changing environment.

One of the principle ways in which Kimberley Foundation Australia supports Aboriginal heritage is by working with Aboriginal communities to record the rock art and by supporting academic researchers to work in partnership with them to uncover Australia’s earliest settlement history. KFA is hopeful that proposed changes to the WA Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 will have minimal impact on the Kimberley mitigated by the fact that much of the land is native title and/or IPA determined and the Aboriginal Corporations, Traditional Owners, Rangers and custodians manage sites well, regardless of what is happening in terms of state legislation.

See Aboriginal Art and Kimberley Region for more information.

Legislation relating to the protection and management of sacred sites in Australia includes:

Jurisdiction Legislation
Western Australia Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972
Victoria Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006[17]
Tasmania Aboriginal Relics Act 1975[16]
South Australia Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988[15]
Queensland Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003[14]
Northern Territory Northern Territory Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act 1989[12]
Aboriginal Land Act[13]
New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Amendment (Aboriginal Ownership) Act 1996[11]
Commonwealth (Aust)[5] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984[6]
Aboriginal Land and Cultural Legislation Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 [7]
Native Title Act 1993[8]
The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999[9]
Australian Capital Territory Heritage Act 2004[10]

Pentecost River

pentecost-river

Keep up the work - we will all know more about this extraordinary country we live in and how it has engaged the imagination and creativity of its peoples. We live within the longest measure of recorded human expression. Understanding this will provide us with larger and richer opportunities for choices and ideas about people which have not previously been known. Knowledge about material environment, wider geographic evolution, the lives and values of people, the process of change.... these elements build worlds before our own - connected but barely visible to the eye or mind. I feel that this research and making connection with the public is work of a very high order.

Simon KloseKFA supporter

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