Aboriginal Heritage Tasmania (AHT) is part of the Natural and Cultural Heritage Division within the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment.  AHT aims to protect, conserve and promote Tasmania’s unique Aboriginal heritage, while adopting a partnership approach with Aboriginal community organisations.  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.

An occupied rockshelter located on the east coast of Tasmania. Stone tools, shell and bone were recovered when this site was excavated by S. Brown in the 1980s.

The Aboriginal Heritage Council (AHC) recently welcomed three members of the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council (VAHC) on a visit to Tasmania. Plans for the visit began in late 2016 as a way to build a relationship between the councils.

The Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council members, Eleanor Bourke (Chairperson), Nellie Flagg and Sissy Havea have extensive involvement in their local communities as well as Council responsibilities. There were many shared experiences about the challenges of being actively involved among community organisations and working with government.

The following day with the support of Parks and Wildlife Services staff at Arthur River, the AHC and VAHC members visited several Aboriginal heritage sites on the northwest coast such as Ordinance Point and laraturunawn / Sundown Point. Councillors discussed the respective heritage management frameworks in each state and the ongoing challenges of identifying and protecting heritage as well as community education and renewing cultural practices.

The Aboriginal Heritage Council is looking forward to further opportunities to develop the relationship with the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council as well as with colleagues in South Australia.

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Aboriginal people have lived in Tasmania for at least 35,000 years – and possibly as long as 70,000 years. Scientific studies have revealed rich archaeological deposits that have been firmly dated to between 35,000 years ago and the present. This confirms that Aboriginal people in Tasmania survived the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) around 21,000 years ago which would have caused cooler, harsher and drier environmental conditions. At the end of the LGM around 12,000 years ago, the sea level rose and Tasmania became isolated from the mainland of Australia. read more