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.</