Aboriginal people have lived in Tasmania for at least 35,000 years. We know this from carbon dating of some of the material from Aboriginal heritage sites in Tasmania. The effects of climate change since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) have included a dramatic rise in sea level which led to many of the older sites being inundated. Some of the sites which are under water may potentially be far older than 35,000 years.
The Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) through its numerous National Parks, Reserves and Conservation Areas has management responsibilites for over 34% of the land in the State. A large percentage of the area managed by the PWS is remote wilderness and rugged coastline. Within this large and diverse management area are many Aboriginal heritage sites, some of which are of national and international significance.
As a result of the large number of Aboriginal heritage sites that fall within the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service's management area, staff - in particular the field and operational staff - play an integral role in the protection and conservation of Aboriginal heritage sites. PWS works closely with Aboriginal Heritage Tasmania (AHT) to ensure that all staff are aware of sites, how important they are, and how to protect them.
Aboriginal Heritage Tasmania is a division within the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment. AHT employs a diverse crew of people who utilise a wide range of skills to protect, conserve and promote Tasmania’s unique Aboriginal heritage and increase community understanding and valuing of that heritage. AHT work in conjunction with PWS to help build understanding and increase protection of Aboriginal sites within Tasmania.
Through Aboriginal community engagement and partnerships with both the Aboriginal community and various land managers the rich cultural history is being protected and promoted, with education and interpretation becoming increasingly important for the conservation of our rich and unique heritage.
The Needwonnee Walk is a living, changing interpretive experience, with sculptural installations interpreting some of the story of the Aboriginal people of the Melaleuca/Cox Bight region in the remote southwest. See our YouTube channel for a video of the Needwonnee Walk
. A booklet/DVD "Needwonnee ... connecting and sharing"
describes the people and the experience. Copies are available for purchase from the Parks online shop