Tel: 07 3868 1244 | Fax: 07 3868 3206 | Postal Address: PO Box 48 Banyo Qld 4014

Heritage Consultancy


Jagera Daran P/L is a Heritage and Community consultancy that has specialised in providing cultural heritage advice and culturally appropriate services to meet the unique needs of clients and community. Jagera Daran has a long history of participating in and contributing to regional and local natural resource management, environmental management, cultural heritage assessment and urban planning.

Jagera Daran delivers a diverse range of synergistic services within the Cultural Heritage discipline. The company provides its products and services to corporate clients, government agencies, consultants and project teams.

The Directors of Jagera Daran collectively have had more than 30 years experience in community development, native title negotiations (including mediation and conflict management), cultural heritage investigation and agreement making, government policy, governance and organisational development, community engagement, marketing & communication strategies, education and training.

Heritage Solutions:

  • Due diligence and risk assessments
  • Cultural heritage surveys, investigation and assessment
  • Cultural heritage management plans and agreements
  • Ensure culturally appropriate processes
  • Heritage procedure analysis
  • Indigenous archaeological excavations

Heritage Training:

  • Cultural heritage awareness training
  • Cultural heritage toolbox & site inductions
  • Cultural heritage act training
  • Developing Quality Management Systems
  • Cultural heritage assessment training (Cert III)

Cultural Heritage Assessments

Cultural Heritage Assessments refers to a combination of a due diligence assessment (desktop review) and on-ground comprehensive survey that are used to identify the presence of aboriginal cultural heritage, the nature of the heritage, the potential for the cultural heritage to be harmed and management recommendations used to guide the project planning and delivery to avoid harm to aboriginal cultural heritage.

Cultural heritage assessments may include cultural mapping to guide development, mining, extraction, or construction activities prior to the commencement of proposed activities. This tool is particularly useful for informing the planning stages of a project, prior to any earth disturbance.

Often cultural heritage assessments are confused with a desk top due diligence study, which are used to provide preliminary advice to Sponsors.  Whereas a cultural heritage assessment requires the engagement of Aboriginal Parties local to the area subject to the cultural heritage assessment.  Aboriginal parties are very important to identifying the presence of cultural heritage, the nature of the heritage and the management recommendations required to advise the project planning and development.

In fact without the local aboriginal party involvement no cultural significance can be identified.  An archaeologist should not provide cultural significance to an area or item.  An archaeologist should provide scientific significance, based on criteria and characterisation that should provide a body of evidence that answers the question as to whether the area has been used by people and that any objects are man-made and the archaeological term for those objects.

The local Aboriginal people provide cultural values and significance to an area and objects, as it is their unique cultural perspective that attributes cultural significance.

Under the Queensland Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act (2003), there are 3 primary principles that are vital to ensuring successful agreements:

1. Aboriginal People are the knowledge holders.  It is important to note at this point that even if a Traditional Owner Community have been effected by events that have impacted on their ability to continue to pass information on, does not mean that they are not the inheritors of their cultural heritage and therefore important custodians of the sites and objects.

2. Agreement is with the Aboriginal Party.

3. Aboriginal cultural heritage cannot be harmed or removed without the consent of the Aboriginal Party. The role of a cultural heritage assessment should be viewed with consideration of the above 3 principles.

Cultural heritage assessments should be comprehensive and be able to provide greater certainty to both Sponsors and the Aboriginal Party, as to the presence of Aboriginal cultural heritage, the nature of the cultural heritage and the management requirements recommended.

A cultural heritage assessment should be an action identified within a Cultural Heritage Management Plan (CHMP) or Cultural Heritage Management Agreement (CHMA).  The reason for this is because in Queensland both the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 & Torres Strait Islands Cultural Heritage Act 2003 place importance upon agreement being reached between the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island Party and the Sponsor.

This approach varies within each State and Territory of Australia.

A cultural heritage assessment should incorporate the following themes of the Duty of Care Guidelines (QLD) and place importance on the methodology and approach to identifying Aboriginal cultural heritage in a landscape context, in agreement with the local Aboriginal people.

1. What was the past use of the area;

2. What Aboriginal cultural heritage exists in and near the area, including:

a. The taking into account of landscape features (e.g. waterholes, vegetation, geology, topography, stone sources, etc),

b. The taking into account characteristics such as the presence of cultural sites such as dispute rings, ceremonial sites, scarred trees, or stone tools (to name a few),

c. The existence of registered sites (in and around the area)

3. What is the proposed new use of the area, and; The degree of disturbance between the past and proposed use;

Additionally a cultural heritage assessment should include:

1. Assessment and recording of surface cultural heritage;

2. Assessment of whether sub-surface investigation is required (this depends entirely on the local geology, geomorphology and topography of the area subject to the assessment);

3. If sub-surface investigation is identified as a an extension of the process for identifying cultural heritage, then a mitigation strategy should be developed;

4. Landscape prediction and rationale supporting use and occupation;

5. Definition of cultural objects/items identified, features, characteristics, vegetation, and;

6. Requirements for collection, curation, relocation and avoidance strategies, registration, recording for local community records and evidence of local Aboriginal Party consultation, participation and involvement in management requirements.

Aboriginal Culture

Aboriginal Cultural Heritage of South East Queensland

This article was written by Madonna Thomson for the newsletter of the Land for Wildlife Program South East Queensland APRIL 2014 Volume 8 Number 2.

The occupation of Australia by Aboriginal people has been estimated to be more than 50,000 years.

Over this time changes in natural environment and sea levels saw the population of Aboriginal people living along the eastern seaboard increase, supported by diverse and flourishing natural resources. Along with the increase in resources and population, there was the increase in the social and ceremonial activities undertaken by Aboriginal people. With activities being at the centre of daily business, there were significant numbers of increase sites, occupation sites and general evidence of occupation across the region.

The oldest sites have become covered with soil that has been moved and relocated through various flood events and changes in sea levels. Over the last 240 years the South East coast has been subject to enormous change. Sites and cultural objects that are presently on the surface show evidence of 3000 years of Aboriginal occupation, with the majority of the oldest and untouched sites believed to exist below the surface.

South East Queensland has some of the most diverse and plentiful Aboriginal sites in Australia. There are over 200 Bora (ceremonial rings) sites recorded, significant cave etchings and paintings, scarred trees, fish traps, burial sites, Aboriginal quarries, grinding grooves, hearth sites, multiple dreaming sites, deity sites and story lines, dispute rings, massacre sites, old mission sites, camping sites and large concentrated areas of stone tools within manufacturing sites. Some Aboriginal cultural heritage sites occur on Land for Wildlife properties.

There are sites recorded in South East Queensland that have been carbon dated to more than 3000 years ago with some being continually used up to the 1930s. There are examples of such sites around Ipswich and within now-existing rail corridors. A site at Springfield, recently excavated by Jagera Daran and Turnstone Archaeology, produced a carbon date of approximately 2948 years ago.

A site recorded within SEQ has been dated as having been developed and used from some 22,000 to 10,000 years ago.

In recognition of the need to protect such unique heritage, the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments have enacted legislation that is designed to ensure that Aboriginal Heritage is preserved.

The Commonwealth legislation is the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 and the Queensland legislation is the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 and the Torres Strait Islander Cultural Heritage Act 2003. The AboriginalCultural Heritage Act 2003 promotes the importance of the local Traditional Owners as the ‘knowledge holders’ in identifying their cultural heritage and in communicating appropriate management recommendations.

At the centre of the Queensland Acts is the principle of the ‘duty of care’. As a duty of care, landholders and land users must take all reasonable and practical measures to ensure that their activities do not harm Aboriginal cultural heritage. This includes cultural heritage located on freehold land regardless of whether or not it has been identified or recorded in a database. Duty of Care Guidelines have been developed to help individuals and organisations meet their cultural heritage duty of care. The guidelines can be downloaded from the DATSIMA (Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs) website.

The second significant principle of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 is the concept of ‘agreement’ between the local Traditional Owners and the organisation or individual that is undertaking an activity that may harm Aboriginal cultural heritage. This agreement is referred to as a Cultural Heritage Management Plan. The DATSIMA website also provides guidelines to assist in the development of a Cultural Heritage Management Plan.

In South East Queensland, Aboriginal cultural heritage may exist around the following types of landscape features:cave

  • Large and small sandstone outcrops (housing, storage, burials, processing sites)
  • Watercourses, lakes and springs
  • Ridgelines and terraced areas
  • Stone sources such as silcrete, chalcedony, chert, basalt or granite
  • Alluvial soils
  • Large trees (scarred trees, marked trees).

Examples of the types of cultural heritage sites commonly found are:

  • Fish traps (both salt and fresh water areas)
  • Scarred trees (usually not far from water sources)
  • Stone tools
  • Bora rings (earth mound rings)
  • Dispute rings (stone ring arrangements)
  • Manufacturing sites (mass manufacturing of stone tools)
  • Trade areas (characterised by significant numbers and diversity of stone tools)
  • Burials (both in sandstone caves/ openings and below the surface)
  • Camping sites.

There are also unseen or intangible sites that exist in South East Queensland. Some of these sites have been recorded, but the majority are known only by the local Traditional Owners.

Examples of intangible sites are:

  • Birthing sites
  • Dreaming sites
  • Story lines
  • Taboo areas
  • Men’s and Women’s areas.

The Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 allows individuals, such as landholders, to register Aboriginal cultural heritage sites and objects on their property. Individuals can submit information for inclusion on the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Database. The purpose of this database is to assemble information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage in a central location. The database is not publicly available; however, DATSIMA can provide information from the database to Aboriginal parties with responsibilities to the area, land owners and/or land users to help them satisfy their duty of care.

Guidelines and a Deposition Form for adding information to the database can be obtained from the DATSIMA website. The form will require information about the nature of the site, location and local government area. Please be aware that Section 29 of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 states that a person cannot submit information if they know it is of a secret or sacred nature and the relevant Traditional Owners have not agreed to the information’s submission.

Consultation with the relevant local Traditional Owners will help with understanding the management of the site registered. For more information, contact the Cultural Heritage Coordination Unit on (07) 3405 3050.

Please remember that all Aboriginal cultural heritage sites and objects located within your property are your responsibility to protect under the Act.

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