Calga Aboriginal Women’s Site

Expert Witness

Australian Wildlife Walkabout Park

Central Coast LGA

GML Heritage was engaged by the Australian Wildlife Walkabout Park to act as expert witnesses in a Land and Environment Court case about a proposed expansion to a sand mine at Calga in 2015.

The Land and Environment Court upheld the appeal against the expansion, in a landmark decision that reinforced the importance of considering the cultural heritage landscape context when assessing impacts on Aboriginal cultural heritage.
The Darkinjung Aboriginal Land Council, Australian Wildlife Walkabout Park, local activists and environmentalists, who sought to safeguard the cultural heritage values of the area for almost a decade, were elated with the Land and Environment Court’s decision.

Calga is of special significance to Darkinjung women. It has spiritual values, significant engravings and other important places. It was recognised that an impact to the setting around the women’s’ site would adversely impact not only the significance of the women’s site but the heritage values and associations within the broader cultural landscape.

The case has implications for land managers and developers. GML advocates a consultative cultural landscape approach, where early consultation with relevant local Aboriginal people will allow time for significant Aboriginal heritage values to be identified and incorporated into compatible future land use planning and management.