About the document
The Waters of Australian Deserts Cultural Thematic Study is a report commissioned by the Australian Heritage Council to provide Council with a better understanding of the range, diversity and forms of cultural heritage places and areas in the Australian arid zone. It is preliminary research into the historic and Indigenous National Heritage values associated with Australian deserts. The report was prepared for the Council by researchers Dr Ingereth Macfarlane and Ms Anne McConnell.
The thematic study focuses on the centrality of water in the traditional and contemporary histories of Australian deserts. The rivers, waterholes and wetlands of Australian deserts are of great significance to Aboriginal traditional and recent life, songs and stories; and for early European explorers, the establishment of pastoralism, and in the foundation of Australia’s inland agriculture. The report also proposes a ranked shortlist of places for possible consideration for inclusion in the National Heritage List (NHL) in accordance with the National Heritage List criteria.
The Waters of Australian Deserts Cultural Thematic Study was prepared using published and unpublished sources. There was limited opportunity to make contact with Aboriginal parties or Corporations during the preparation of the report. Consultation is an integral element of the Australian Heritage Council assessment process should any of these places be nominated for inclusion in the NHL.