The Aboriginal Heritage Office is an award-winning partnership of six local Sydney Councils working to protect Aboriginal sites and promote Aboriginal history and heritage in each of the Councils’ areas. The AHO’s activities are based on three main areas:
The AHO provides assistance to partner Councils and residents to help protect Aboriginal sites in the area. Site management plans, potential area reports, site inspections, site conservation works and monitoring are some of the activities carried out by the AHO.
The AHO provides assistance to partner Councils to help protect Aboriginal sites in each local government area. This includes strategic planning issues, development referrals, Council staff training and lots more.
The AHO provides free presentations, walks, talks and other activities for the local community as well as local schools within a partner Council boundary, subject to staff availability. The program is designed to inform people about the Aboriginal history and heritage of the local area and how to better view the local landscape from an Indigenous perspective.
The AHO hosts a museum and education centre with Aboriginal artefacts and historical displays covering pre-invasion times to the modern day. Find out more.
The AHO Story
An Aboriginal Heritage Officer, David Watts, was first employed by North Sydney Council in 1999 to help improve its Aboriginal heritage management and develop a position that could be shared by several Councils. In 2000 Lane Cove, North Sydney, former Warringah, and Willoughby Councils signed an agreement and employed the first Aboriginal Heritage Officer at local government for an initial period of five years. The position was upgraded to Aboriginal Heritage Manager in recognition of the complexities involved. As the number of staff and consultants grew, the Aboriginal Heritage Office became more of a distinct entity. The former Manly Council joined the partnership in 2005, followed by Ku-ring-gai in 2006, former Pittwater in 2007, Armidale Dumaresq in 2008 for a 2 year project-based arrangement and Ryde for a five year period (2010 to 2015). Strathfield council joined the partnership in 2017. The AHO currently has a partnership with six local councils, following the merger of 3 councils (Manly, Pittwater and Warringah).
Read about how it all started in our 21st anniversary Newsletter Yarnupings edition.