Logo of the Traditional Owner Reference Group.


In 2016 for the first time, indigenous cultural heritage sites in the Mackay-Whitsundays region were assessed for their value, importance, and condition, for inclusion in the 2015 Report Card.

The 2018 report card (released in 2019) will provide an updated assessment of indigenous cultural heritage sites, based on surveys that were conducted earlier in 2018 with the Traditional Owner Reference Group (TORG), Reef Catchments, Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership and external consultants, Ken Markwell and Associates. The TORG include representatives of the Gia, Ngaro, Juru, Yuwibara, Koinmerburra, and Barada/Wiri Traditional Owners.

Indicators for indigenous cultural heritage assessments include:

Spiritual/social value: This indicator is measured with Traditional Owner consultation and relates to knowledge of the sites within the zone, the sense of connection with those sites, and the regularity of visitation to the zone/sites.

Scientific value: This indicator relates to the number and diversity of sites within a zone, how well the sites represent traditional land use of the zone, how unique the identified sites are, and whether artefacts are in situ (i.e. have they been disturbed or moved historically).

Physical condition: This indicator is perhaps the most obvious indication of site condition and relates to ground disturbance and the impact of that disturbance on a site’s heritage values. It also includes the presence of threats such as erosion, trampling by animals, and human interaction (e.g. pathways/trampling)

Protection of sites: This indicator relates to the physical protection of sites within a zone to mitigate threats and includes registration of sites on applicable heritage registers, management of threats to sites within a zone, and control of access to sites (e.g. by boardwalks, fencing etc).

Cultural maintenance: This indicator is designed to reflect the reality of cultural health in zones being managed by Traditional Owners and includes further research of sites, development of additional physical and digital cultural resources, and engaging with stakeholders to fulfil cultural heritage aims.

For more information please contact the Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership