Underwater Aboriginal heritage sites have been around for a very long time but have only become a talking point in recent years.
Around 65,000 years ago sea levels were about 80 metres lower than they are today. During that period, Aboriginal people would have settled along coastlines, lived and worked on what is now called Sea Country.
The underwater cultural landscapes known as Sea Country, hold a strong cultural and spiritual connection for many Indigenous Australians. Throughout these underwater sites, there have been many artefacts found, ranging from spear heads to grinding stones and fishing traps. Waterholes and vantage sites have also been found and studied.
These precious heritage sites are in danger of being damaged and potentially destroyed. Threats include erosion from oil and gas installations, dredging, port developments and commercial fishing.
There is now a campaign to have these sites protected via the Underwater Cultural Heritage Act, which automatically covers more sites relating to modern historical incidents like sunken aircrafts and shipwrecks. Like heritage sites on land, care and protection are vital to keeping these underwater sites preserved for future generations to appreciate and safeguard.