Aboriginal cultural heritage in the Redlands

Redlands has many significant sites of Aboriginal cultural heritage. This heritage may take the form of physical artefacts, such as spearheads and middens, or significant places of ceremony.

As with all significant heritage of our city, Aboriginal cultural heritage must be protected and preserved.

For more information on Aboriginal cultural heritage, visit the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships (DATSIP).

Types of Aboriginal cultural heritage

Some forms of Aboriginal cultural heritage seen in the Redlands include:

Stone artefacts: Aboriginal People used stones for a variety of purposes. Artefacts can include grinding stones, axeheads, spearheads.

Qyac green stone axe ground edge

Middens: These are found in sites across the Redlands and are the remains of campsites where Aboriginal People gathered. They typically show the remains of shells and animal bones, gathered over thousands of years, but may also contain stone tools and other items of significance.

Qyac sub surface midden deposit

Fish traps: Stone fish traps can be found in the Redlands. These were used to gather food, with the rock walls acting as a barrier to trap fish and other species.

Qyac stone arrangement fish trap

Scar Trees: Scar Trees are living examples of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage and may appear as oval space carved out of the outer bark of a tree. Aboriginal People used bark from trees for many purposes including shelters, containers, shields and canoes.

Qyac scar tree

Bora Rings: Bora Rings are places where ceremonies took place. Bora Rings are found throughout the Redlands and can appear as circular areas of hardened earth, with an outer raised area.

Qyac cleveland bora ground

Settlements: Many Aboriginal people were displaced and resettled in new areas following European settlement. These places have become an important part of the history of many Aboriginal people in the Redlands.

Sacred places: as well as Bora Rings, there are many other sites of significance in Aboriginal culture. These include places of other ceremony, pathways or travel routes, burial places and places connected to the dreaming stories of the area.

Qyac sacred places kabora blue lake

These sites may not contain physical evidence of Aboriginal occupation, but they remain of sacred significance to Aboriginal people.

Finding something of significance

If you think you have found something of Aboriginal cultural heritage significance, stop your activity, notify the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships (DATSIP) immediately on 13 74 68 and seek their advice. 

The Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act

The main purpose of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 is to recognise, protect and conserve Aboriginal cultural heritage. It recognises and respects that the Aboriginal people should be the keepers and knowledge holders of their culture.

The Act outlines processes to avoid or minimise disruption or damage to Aboriginal cultural sites and artefacts.

Heavy penalties can apply to individual and organisations where the Act has not been followed and damage has occurred to Aboriginal cultural heritage.

Advice on Aboriginal cultural heritage

Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC) is the registered Cultural Heritage Body for land within their native title determination area, including Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island).

QYAC is also the registered Cultural Heritage Body for the area covered by the Quandamooka Coast Native Title Claim currently being determined by the Federal Court of Australia. This claim covers areas including Lamb, Macleay, Karragarra and Coochiemudlo Islands and much of mainland Redland City.

QYAC should be your first point of contact regarding Aboriginal cultural heritage matters in these areas.

DATSIP also has on online portal containing information about the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act, and how you can help preserve Aboriginal history and fulfil your obligations under the Act.

Photo credit

Redland City Council acknowledges and thanks Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation for the cultural heritage photos on this page.