What is a sacred site?Sacred sites are places within the landscape that have a special significance under Aboriginal tradition. Hills, rocks, waterholes, trees, plains and other natural features may be sacred sites. In coastal and sea areas, sacred sites may include features which lie both above and below the water. Sometimes sacred sites are obvious, such as ochre deposits, rock art galleries, or spectacular natural features. In other instances sacred sites may be unremarkable to an outside observer. They can range in size from a single stone or plant, to an entire mountain range.
Legal Definition"Sacred site" means a site that is sacred to Aboriginals or is otherwise of significance according to Aboriginal tradition, and includes any land that, under a law of the Northern Territory, is declared to be sacred to Aboriginals or of significance according to Aboriginal tradition. Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976, Part VII, s.69
Why do they need protection?Sacred sites are irreplaceable heritage places for Aboriginal custodians and all Australians. They are an intrinsic part of a continuing body of practices and beliefs emanating from Aboriginal laws and traditions. Sacred sites give meaning to the natural landscape. They anchor cultural values, spiritual and kin-based relationships in the land. Custodians of sacred sites are concerned for the safety of all people, and the protection of sacred sites is integral to ensuring the wellbeing of the country and the wider community. The AAPA works directly with Aboriginal custodians to maintain the integrity of sacred sites within the physical and cultural landscape across the whole of the Northern Territory.
Cnr Bath & Parsons Streets,
ALICE SPRINGS NT.
GPO Box 1890,
DARWIN NT 0801.
Tel: +61 (08) 8999 5511
Fax: +61 (08) 8999 4334