Now Closed

This online engagement was hosted on YourSAy from 4 September to 12 October 2020. Below is a record of the engagement.


Image courtesy of Dr Keryn Walshe.

Tell us your views on whether a research proposal seeking to better understand the Aboriginal history of Koonalda Cave should go ahead.

What’s being decided?

Koonalda Cave contains significant Aboriginal cultural heritage features including well preserved, fragile and complex geometric markings, known as finger flutings, as well as engraved lines made by sharp tools. The cave is registered on the South Australian Heritage Register and the National Heritage List.

The Department for Environment and Water (DEW) is seeking authorisation under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988 (SA) (Act) to conduct a research proposal that aims to better understand the Aboriginal history of Koonalda Cave. 

As part of the research, DEW proposes to:

  • remove 50 charcoal samples from the area within Koonalda Cave known as the Art Chamber,
  • transport those samples out of South Australia,
  • conduct destructive radiocarbon analysis on those samples in order to ascertain their age, and,
  • undertake non-invasive laser mapping within the Art Chamber.

DEW considers the research proposal to be an opportunity to learn more about the timescale of Aboriginal presence within Koonalda Cave and, specifically, the chronology of the cave's rock art.

Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation (AAR), on behalf of the Premier of South Australia, is seeking feedback from the Aboriginal community, in particular, Traditional Owners of Koonalda Cave, and other Aboriginal parties with an interest in the cave, on whether the authorisations sought should be granted.

Get involved

If you are a Traditional Owner of Koonalda Cave, or an Aboriginal party with an interest in the cave, read the research proposal and the Consultation Information Package and consider the following questions:

  • Should authorisation be granted to DEW to go ahead with their proposal? Why or why not?
  • If the authorisations are granted, what conditions, if any, should be imposed?
  • Are there any other matters that the Premier should be aware of when considering the application?

Have your say by:

  • Calling us on (08) 8226 8900
  • Emailing your feedback to
  • Posting your feedback to:

Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation 
GPO Box 2343

Your feedback will be treated confidentially.

Unless specified otherwise, submissions will be provided to DEW and presented to the State Aboriginal Heritage Committee (Committee) and the Premier for consideration.

How can your input influence the decision?

Your input will inform the Committee's advice to the Premier on whether the authorisation sought should be granted.

What are the next steps?

Once the consultation period closes, feedback will be forwarded to the Committee for its review and recommendations.

AAR will collate your and the Committee's feedback and provide it to the Premier in a report to assist him in making his final decision.

Contact details

If you would like to learn more about the proposal and/or wish to lodge a submission, please call AAR on (08) 8226 8900, or write to:

Mr Alex van Wessem 
Principal Project Officer (Heritage) 
Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation 
Department of the Premier and Cabinet 
GPO Box 2343

Or visit the AAR website.

Closing date: 5pm Monday 12 October 2020

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