Indigenous Heritage Program

Up to $250,000 is available for projects that support the identification, conservation, and promotion of heritage places.


About the Indigenous Heritage Program

The Indigenous Heritage Program (IHP) is an ongoing competitive annual grants program which provides $3.645 million to support the identification, conservation, and promotion of heritage places important to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Since 2004, the program has provided over $25 million to support more than 450 Indigenous heritage projects across Australia.

This program forms part of the whole of government delivery of services to Indigenous Australians, and contributes to the Australian Government’s initiative of Closing the Gap on Indigenous disadvantage. As well as delivering strong heritage outcomes, the Indigenous Heritage Program delivers broader social, health and economic benefits which progress the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Closing the Gap targets. The program supports projects which provide Indigenous people with education, training, employment and business opportunities, and which foster Indigenous peoples’ aspirations to care for and reconnect with country and maintain their cultural traditions.

Making a difference

The quality and success of the program has been acknowledged nationally and internationally. The Indigenous Heritage Program was identified as one of the ‘things that work’ in the Productivity Commission’s report ‘Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Indicators 2011.’ Many of the participants in Indigenous Heritage Program projects have gained short-term employment, as well as marketable skills which contribute to greater economic participation through training in site survey and recording techniques, database management and fencing skills. Some organisations have reported using the cultural knowledge captured through Indigenous Heritage Program identification projects to contribute to the creation of successful cultural heritage tourism businesses.

IHP projects have contributed to safe and supportive communities and community cohesion through enhanced respect for the cultural knowledge of Elders, and reinvigorated pride in culture. By assisting Indigenous people to access traditional lands to undertake cultural heritage activities IHP projects have also delivered improved health outcomes and healthier lifestyles for participants.

Indigenous Heritage Program projects have been highlighted in numerous academic journals and through papers presented overseas by heritage professionals involved in Indigenous Heritage Program projects. In 2011 the spectacular Gabarnmung rock art gallery in the Northern Territory, one of over four thousand rock art sites which the Jawoyn people have rediscovered through support of the Indigenous Heritage Program, received international media attention. It was featured on Oprah Winfrey’s ‘Ultimate Adventure in Australia’.

Projects funded through the Indigenous Heritage Program in 2011-12 include conservation works at heritage sites such as rock art sites and mission buildings identification surveys, production of conservation management plans for Indigenous heritage places, installation of interpretive signage, recording traditional knowledge of sites using video, audio and GPS technology, establishing a keeping place for sacred objects, database establishment, and educational museum displays.

Who can apply?

Incorporated organisations can apply for projects up to $100,000 (GST exclusive). Individual applicants will generally be eligible for funding up to $10,000. Applications for larger amounts may be considered where the applicant demonstrates special circumstances or a genuine requirement for additional funds. Eligible organisations may also apply for triennial funding up to $250,000 (GST exclusive) through one application, but with annual reporting on outcomes. The Indigenous Heritage Program Guide for Applicants provides details on funding conditions.

The IHP may also help identify places likely to have outstanding Indigenous heritage value to Australia suitable for inclusion on the National Heritage List. If you are interested in National Heritage Listing please call the department’s Heritage Division freecall number on 1800 982 280 before completing your submission to discuss thresholds, processes and implications for listing.

Previously Funded Projects

Table Indigenous Heritage Program: Funding Outcomes 2011-2012
Project TitleProject DescriptionOrganisationFunding Amount
Western Australia
Alive with the Dreaming- Songlines of the Western Desert ARC Linkage ProjectIn close collaboration with Western Desert artists and knowledge holders, this project will uncover, record and interpret the many layers of ‘open’ knowledge in Tjukurpa Songlines as expressed through the performative arts of story, song and dance; the graphic language of ancient rock art and modern visual arts; the kinship of people to each other and country; and their management of cultural and natural heritage.Australian National University – research School of Humanities and the Arts$40,000 (2011/12)
$40,000 (2012/13)
$40,000 (2013/14)
Gabbie Kylie Foundation: Community Education and Interpretation for the Esperance Region of WAThe Gabbie Kylie Foundation and the Esperance Noongar community will develop an educational museum display, heritage trail and interpretive cultural map, and a DVD showcasing the traditional and cultural connections across the Esperance region of WA (year 2 of 3 year project).National Trust of Australia (WA)$89,700 (2011/12)
$77,600 (2012/13)
$69,100 (2013/14)
Northern Territory
Sacred Sea Places of the Groote ArchipelagoThis project will identify and record sacred sites in sea country located in the Groote Archipelago, Northern Territory, relating to four dreaming track stories and nine totemic figures.Anindilyakwa Land Council$78,300
Rock Art Site Mapping of Djelk IPAThis project will identify and record rock art sites within the Djelk Indigenous Protected Area, Arnhem Coast, Northern Territory, for future management and protection.Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation$82,500
Supporting Traditional Owners from Central Australia to Manage Indigenous Cultural HeritageThis project will support traditional owners to manage cultural heritage values at Cleland Hills and Walka, west of Alice Springs, Northern Territory, by undertaking identification surveys, developing Cultural Heritage Management Plans, and undertaking heritage conservation works at each site.Central Land Council$98,900
Dhimurru Cultural Landscape Mapping ProjectThis project will survey and record sites on the Dhimurru IPA, located at Nhulunbuy, Northern Territory and record the data on the organisation’s database. The project includes conservation work which will be carried out at selected sites, management planning and installation of signage and protective bollards.Dhimurru Land Management Aboriginal Corporation$86,000
Jawoyn History – In the Footsteps of Maddock & Edwards (#2)This project will research and retrace the 1960s fieldwork of Dr Ken Maddock and Bob Edwards, in southern Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, in order to identify and record the location of lost Jawoyn rock art sites and link the sites to the traditional knowledge recorded by Dr. Maddock.Jawoyn Association Aboriginal Corporation$93,500
Jawoyn Rangers – Rock Art Conservation Project 2011 (#3)This project will allow Jawoyn elders to pass on to Jawoyn Rangers important traditional knowledge about significant sites. The Rangers will identify and record significant sites across the Jawoyn lands in southern Arnhem Land, NT, and carry out important maintenance activities under the direction of the Elders.Jawoyn Association Aboriginal Corporation$31,500
Jawoyn Rock Art & Cultural Heritage Project – Stage 7 (#1)This project will allow the Jawoyn Association to continue the detailed identification and recording of rock art and other heritage sites, located in remote areas of southern Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory.Jawoyn Association Aboriginal Corporation$100,000
Identifying Indigenous heritage sites on Angas Downs Indigenous Protected AreaThis project will identify and record sites of significance on the Angus Downs Station Indigenous Protected Area located in the Northern Territory, resulting in site condition assessments and the production of small scale management plans for the conservation of sites.Lisanote Pty Ltd$92,300
Judbarra Cultural Heritage ProjectThis project will engage the younger generation of traditional owners in the recording and protection of significant sites and associated knowledge in Judbarra (Gregory) National Park, Northern Territory.Northern Lands Council$69,100
Jajikal Warra Heritage SurveyThe project will survey sites in Jajikal Country in the Cedar Bay National Park and the Plantation River in Cape York. Elders and young people will travel to eight story places to record traditional knowledge using video, audio and GPS technology. Selected stories will be shared via short films on the web.Balkanu Cape York Development Corporation$66,800
Mt Croll Indigenous Cultural SurveyThe project will survey sites at the Mt Croll Nature Refuge in Cape York using video, audio and GPS technology, place all information collected on a database accessible to all Kaantju people. Heritage sites will be conserved through fencing and the traditional knowledge of the sites will be transmitted to younger people through the Elders.Balkanu Cape York Development Corporation$73,100
Running Creek Indigenous Cultural SurveyThe project will survey sites in Running Creek Nature Refuge, Cape York, using video, audio and GPS technology. All information collected will be placed on a database and made accessible to the Lama Lama traditional owners. Training in recording techniques will be provided to young Lama Lama people and elders will transmit traditional knowledge about heritage sites to young people on country. Selected stories will be shared with the general public via short films, videos and a web page.Balkanu Cape York Development Corporation$67,000
Bunya Mountains Assessment fo Aboriginal Cultural ValuesThis project will record the Indigenuous heritage values of the Bunya Mountains in south-east Queensland.Burnett Mary Regional Group for NRM Inc$100,000
Kuuku I’yu Northern Kaanju Ngaachi Cultural Heritage Project IIThe project will protect the cultural heritage of the Kuuku I’yu Northern Kaanju Ngaachi (KINKN) in eastern Cape York by implementing the KINKN Cultural Heritage Conservation Management Plan.Chuulangun Aboriginal Corporation$60,000
Sculptures of the Dreamtime – Connecting Community and CountryThis project will create public artworks and interpretative signage which will tell women’s Dreamtime Serpent stories of the Mithika, Wangkamardla, and Yarluyandi/ Wangkangurru people, to be installed in Birdsville, Bedourie and Betoota, in south-west Queensland.Diamantina Shire Council$67,200
Dugalunji Cultural Heritage Program: Stage 1This project will develop a cultural information management system for the traditional country of the Indjalandji-Dhidhanu people, located in north-west Queensland, and will provide training for community members in the use of this system.Dugalunji Aboriginal Corporation$97,500
Eastern Kuku Yalanji Strategic Cultural Heritage Management PlanThe project will develop a strategic plan for the management of cultural heritage across Eastern Kuku Yalanji country in eastern Cape York.Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation$95,200
Mapoon DOGIT Cultural Heritage Management PlanThis project will record elders’ knowledge for the identification and assessment of cultural heritage sites and values of the Old Mapoon Mission and other places in the Mapoon Deed of Grant in Trust, Cape York, Queensland, as well as produce a Cultural Heritage Management Plan.Mapoon Aboriginal Council$83,100
Identifying, Recording & Conserving Heritage sites against a Changing ClimateThe project will assist Kurtijar and Tagalaka Indigenous groups to identify, record and conserve cultural heritage sites on country.Northern Gulf Resource Management Group$79,700
Heritage survey of the Douglas Track, Quinkan ReserveThis project will fund Laura Rangers to survey the Douglas Track on the Quinkan Reserve on Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, to identify and record rock art sites, and other sites of heritage significance.South Cape York Catchments$100,000
The Mine Island ceremonial stone arrangement management projectThis project will comprehensively map kilometres of stone arrangements, midden sites and an ochre quarry on Mine Island, north of Bowen, Qld, and develop a Cultural Heritage Management plan for the island.University of Southern Queensland$48,200
New South Wales
Northern Sydney Bushland Reserve Site SurveyThis project will seek to identify previously unrecorded Aboriginal heritage sites in Council reserves and parks in northern Sydney’s urban bushland, NSW.Aboriginal Heritage Office, Northern Region$28,700
Baiame’s Ngunnhu Hertiage ProjectThis project will install bilingual interpretive signage and continue the implementation of a Conservation Heritage Management Plan for the National Heritage Listed fish traps located at Brewarrina NSW, including maintaining the riverbank and controlling weed infestation.Brewarrina Business Cooperative Ltd$100,000
Dharriwaa Cultural Values Management 2011-12The project will undertake conservation works at a selection of places identified in the Dharriwaa Elders Group Cultural Values Register, including recording and identifying sites of significance near Lightning Ridge and Walgett, in northern NSW. The project will also prepare detailed documentation of the Indigenous heritage values of Narran Lakes, Dungalear and the Freedom Rides.Dharriwaa Elders Group Incorporated$100,000
South Australia
Finniss Springs Pastoral Station and Mission Buildings ConservationThis project supports conservation works to a 1922 stone homestead and a station hand’s corrugated iron house, located at Finniss Springs Pastoral Station and Mission site in northern South Australia.Aboriginal Lands Trust (SA)$70,000
Apara Springs FencingThis project will construct a fence to protect the Apara Springs, an important cultural site located in the Anagu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands, north-west SA, which has suffered degradation caused by feral herbivores.Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara$85,700
Witjira National Park Park Cultural Heritage Management PlanThis project will undertake a desk-top study, identify and record places of heritage significance, develop a Cultural Heritage Management Plan, as well as develop a site database and management strategies, including actions to protect sites, for the Witjira National Park in northern SA.SA Native Title Services Ltd$95,000
Tallaringa Conservation Park Cultural Heritage Management PlanThis project will undertake a desk-top study, identify and record places of heritage significance, develop a Cultural Heritage Management Plan, and develop a site database and management strategies, including actions to protect sites, for the Tallaringa Conservation Park in north-west SASA Native Title Services Ltd$92,400
Lake Condah Aquaculture Conservation ProjectThis project will develop and implement an assured methodology for the safe removal of trees and vegetation from the traditional stone aquaculture system at Lake Condah in south-west Victoria, referencing the existing Cultural Heritage Management Plan.Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation$75,600
Tyrendarra IPA Traditional Aquaculture Management Planning and ImplementationThis project will develop a Cultural Heritage Management Plan for the reestablishment of an appropriate hydrological management regime to promote traditional aquaculture in the Tyrendarra Indigenous Protected Area in south-west Victoria, which is part of the Budj Bim National Heritage Landscape. On-ground conservation works will also be undertaken in accordance with the Cultural Heritage Management Plan.Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation$100,000
Devilbend Natural Feature Reserve – Conservation of Aboriginal Cultural PlacesThis project will undertake conservation works at four Aboriginal cultural sites in the Devilbend Nature Features Reserve, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, as recommended in the Draft Cultural Heritage Management Plan. The works will include the provision of protective fencing, covering sites with geotextile fabric, overlaying with soil and agreed planting, to slow erosion of these sites.Parks Victoria$38,900
In perpetuity protection of a culturally significant area at Neds Corner StationThis project will install fencing around a 600 hectare area within Neds Corner, in north-western Victoria, which contains many culturally significant sites, including middens, hearths, stone tools and other cultural objects. The fencing will protect these sites from a variety of threats, including rabbits, kangaroos, wind erosion, and pedestrian and vehicular traffic, and allow re-establishment of native vegetation.Trust for Nature (Victoria)$96,100
Western Australia
Kuju Wangka (One Voice) for the Canning Stock RouteThis project will enable traditional owners of the Canning Stock Route in Western Australia, to finalise a draft plan of management for the stock route and to implement the key recommendations of the Australian National University’s Australian Research Council Linkage Canning Stock Route Project, to protect the stock route’s important cultural heritage values.Central Desert Native Title Services Limited$100,000
Wongatha Keeping PlaceThis project will enable the Wongatha elders to establish a keeping place for sacred objects at Morapoi Station in the Goldfields region of WA.Goldfields Land and Sea Council Aboriginal Corporation$30,000
Honouring Indigenous War GravesThis project will place headstones on the unmarked graves of 14 Indigenous veterans in WA and conduct ceremonies to acknowledge and honour their contribution to Australia in time of war.Honouring Indigenous War Graves Inc.$100,000
Northern Spinifex Heritage ProjectThe Spinifex elders and youth will undertake bush trips to significant sites in Northern Spinifex country, east of Laverton in WA, to document the sites, record and pass on traditional cultural knowledge, and plan for future conservation and management.Ilkurlka Aboriginal Corporation$42,000
Helicopter Surveys of Martu Dreaming SitesThe project will map and document significant sites along the major Martu dreaming track of the Ngayurnangalku, which focuses on Kumpupirntily (Lake Disappointment) but travels a long distance through Martu country in the east Pilbara region of Western Australia.Kalyuku Ninti-Puntuku Ngurra Ltd$78,900
Kalyuku Ninti (Knowledge of Waterholes)This project will enable Martu elders to take young adults to visit significant sites in remote desert country in the Eastern Pilbara of WA for the intergenerational transfer of critical cultural knowledge. The location and cultural heritage values of the sites will be recorded to assist with conservation planning and management.Kalyuku Ninti-Puntuku Ngurra Ltd$98,400
Kimberley Cultural Heritage DatabaseThis project will develop a cultural heritage database to record and share Kimberley traditional owner’s country and heritage stories. The database will assist with future cultural heritage management planning.Kimberely Land Council$79,600
Conserving the dreaming tracks of the area North West of Warburton, WAThis project will assist the traditional owners to map four significant dreaming tracks in an area north-west of Warburton in central WA. The significant sites along the tracks will be recorded and maintained, and the related stories and cultural responsibilities passed on to younger community members. The recorded data will assist with the protection and management of the sites.Ngaanyatjarra Council Aboriginal Corporation$84,600
Spinifex Heritage ProjectThe Spinifex Heritage Project will assist elders to document, record and transmit traditional Spinifex knowledge relating to significant sites in the southern part of the Spinifex Native Title Claim Area, east of Laverton, WA.Pila Nguru Aboriginal Corporation$49,400

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