AHO Volunteer Site Monitors Win Award
The AHO team of volunteer site monitors have been recognized with an award through the eleventh annual NSW Government Heritage Volunteer Awards(December 2012). Congratulations to everyone who has helped make this program a success.
The volunteers are local residents of the partner Councils who responded to the Aboriginal Heritage Office (AHO) requests for volunteer site monitors. Some volunteers have been part of the program since 2007, while others have only recently joined up. The volunteers are from diverse backgrounds and ages, Indigenous and non-Indigenous. From professionals to retirees, from recent arrivals to northern Sydney and Australia to ‘rusted-on’ residents with decades of stories, the common denominator is their wish to learn more about the area’s local Aboriginal heritage and to help protect it for future generations.
The AHO will have another training session for new volunteers early in the New Year. Keep an eye on “What’s On” for the latest.
More About the Project: This volunteer program, also known as ‘Site Care’, is a monitoring program that trains volunteers in Aboriginal sites awareness. A network of volunteer monitors has been established throughout the region to provide regular monitoring and care of specific Aboriginal sites. The first phase of this project, funded by the Federal Department of the Environment and Heritage, was completed successfully in 2007-2008.
The volunteers are currently monitoring around 50 key Aboriginal sites, including rock art sites, rock engravings, axe sharpening grooves and shell middens. With over 800 recorded Aboriginal sites within the partner Council lands of northern Sydney, the volunteers are worth their weight in gold to the AHO and the North Shore Community.
The large group of people working in many different places under different conditions, helping to provide early warning of problems to important and irreplaceable heritage is quite inspiring. Not only do the volunteers provide valuable information to help with site management, they are also contributing to the raising of awareness in the local community of the importance and value of Aboriginal history and heritage. Just as bush regenerators and rubbish collectors are changing the urban landscape from ‘neglected’ to ‘cared for’, so these volunteers too are doing their bit in looking after the land.