Register of Aboriginal sites
The Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 specifies that a Register of Aboriginal sites must be maintained. Under current arrangements the Register of Aboriginal sites is held and maintained at the Department of Indigenous Affairs (DIA).
The Register consists of:
- Site files: information related to each place or object stored in a hard copy administration file. The site files include site recording forms, relevant pages from heritage survey reports, photographs, maps, drawings, and other miscellaneous materials pertaining to each site.
- Heritage survey reports: a catalogue of hard copy reports conducted for various purposes relating to Aboriginal heritage in Western Australia. The authors of most of these reports are professional consultants specialising in the field of Aboriginal heritage, and report upon anthropology or archaeology associated with a survey area.
- The Aboriginal Heritage Management System (AHMS): the electronic index to the registered sites and their related heritage survey reports. Online access to the system is available for the public, see link below, or you can contact DIA to make an appointment to access the site and survey registers.
Search for Aboriginal sites and surveys
Read the Register of Aboriginal sites policies and procedures
Download site information
All places reported to the Registrar of Aboriginal Sites are assessed within the terms of Section 5 of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972. The site status is the assessment outcome. For more information read the DIA Site Assessment Policy.
Registration, whether assessed or not, does not change the legal status of places alleged to be Aboriginal sites because the AHA protects all Aboriginal sites in Western Australia, whether they are known to DIA or not. The Register operates primarily as a form of notice that places may be of Aboriginal heritage significance, and hence fall under the ambit of the Act. However, entry onto the Sites Register indicates that a place has been assessed by the ACMC and has met the criteria for definition as an Aboriginal site, and hence the provisions of the Act will apply.
Confidential information and materials
The Register of Aboriginal sites contains information and other materials that are confidential and have restricted access. As a general rule, if you wish to access information held or managed by DIA that is culturally sensitive to Aboriginal people, you can only do so with the express written permission of the persons (or their descendants) who can be identified as informants for the information. For more information read the DIA Information Access Policy.