Sacred sites are places within the landscape that have a special meaning or significance under Aboriginal tradition. Hills, rocks, waterholes, trees, plains, lakes, billabongs and other natural features can be sacred sites. In coastal and sea areas, sacred sites may include features which lie both above and below the water.
Sacred sites derive their status from their association with particular aspects of Aboriginal social and cultural tradition. This body of tradition is mainly concerned with the activities of ancestral beings, collectively known as ‘Dreamings’ whose travels across the land and sea created the physical and social world that people now inhabit.
Aboriginal sacred sites are recognised and protected as an integral part of the Northern Territory’s and Australia’s cultural heritage, under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Land Rights Act) and the Northern Territory Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act (Sacred Sites Act) 1989.