Where ever you are in Australia you are on the lands and waters of Australia’s First Peoples. Only traditional custodians can speak for and welcome visitors to their homelands.
Identifying traditional owners
In some parts of the country, the traditional owners are well-known and therefore it’s quite easy to identify whose country you’re on. However, elsewhere in Australia research into the appropriate traditional owners is ongoing.
Identifying the traditional owners of a particular area sometimes takes a little effort however the result can be informative and rewarding.
There are a number of resources that can help.
- Start with the website for the local government authority (the shire or municipal council). Many council websites include an acknowledgement of the local traditional owners – perhaps on the home page, or elsewhere.
- State and territory government websites also include information about traditional owners in their jurisdictions, especially in the context of information about local offices. In addition, a number of states and territories have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consultative bodies, which themselves might offer advice.
- Land councils representing the local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander communities can help. You can find information for the relevant land councils on the Australian Government website. You can also find details about native title groups and corporations on the Prescribed Bodies Corporate website.
Download our guide to Engaging with traditional owners.
Matching postcodes to traditional place names
Australia Post have recently launched a campaign that allows people to include the traditional name of places in the address field. This is one way that you can acknowledge that places are firstly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander places.
However it’s important to note that in some regional areas a single postcode can extend across a large amount of territory, and a postcode could include the lands of more than one group of traditional owners. For this reason, across much of Australia it is not possible to match postcodes to traditional owners.