Cultural heritage protection

Byron Shire Council recognises the Bundjalung of Byron Bay Arakwal people as Traditional Owners and custodians for parts of the Byron Shire. 

Protection and preservation of cultural heritage and the broader environment is very important to the Bundjalung Arakwal people and to people of the wider Bundjalung nation.  Byron Shire Council (in its role as land manager) is committed to working with Aboriginal custodians within the Shire to protect places of cultural significance.

Aboriginal places and objects are an important part of the rich heritage of Byron Shire, providing links to culture, environment and knowledge for local Aboriginal communities.

Ceremonial activity

Ceremonial and religious life was an important component of Aboriginal existence and the presence of bora grounds, stone arrangements and natural mythological sites remain as testimony to these activities.  In addition to local activities, the people of the north coast used to travel great distances to engage in regional ceremonial activities.  This included travelling to the ranges north of Brisbane for the Bunya festival.

Protecting Aboriginal cultural and heritage

The Indigenous Land Use Agreements and other negotiated agreements provide for the protection and management of Aboriginal cultural and heritage areas by the Bundjalung Arakwal people, eg Arakwal National Park.  The Memorandum of Understanding ensures that Council will work in partnership with the Bundjalung of Byron Bay Arakwal People to ensure preservation of cultural practices, traditional sites, significant places and expressions of cultural identity.  The Traditional Owners conduct cultural, eco-tourism and educational programs thus providing an important cross-cultural exchange between Aboriginal people and non-Aboriginal people.

Significant places

A number of significant places are described on the Bundjalung of Byron Bay (Arakwal) website:

NSW legislation

In NSW the principle laws which deal with Aboriginal heritage are:

The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage administers some of the legislation which ensures the protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage.