The Premier of South Australia, responsible for the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988 (SA) (Act), has received an application, under section 21 and section 23 of the Act, from Berri Barmera Council to support its Lake Bonney Nature and Cultural Tourism Project (Project).

Lake Bonney is one of South Australia’s largest permanent freshwater lakes, located in Barmera, approximately 220 km north-east of Adelaide.

The lake and its surrounds are used for a variety of tourism activities and regular events, including:

  • camping
  • off-road biking and driving
  • picnicking
  • horse riding
  • jet skiing
  • walking
  • cycling.

The lake is also used for water-based activities such as:

  • swimming
  • sailing
  • skiing
  • fishing
  • kayaking
  • canoeing
  • boating
  • rowing.

Lake Bonney and its surrounds hold cultural significance to the First Peoples of the River Murray and Mallee Region and contain a high density of Aboriginal archaeological sites, particularly on or near to the lake foreshore.

Section 21 of the Act makes it an offence to excavate land to uncover Aboriginal sites, objects and/or remains (Aboriginal heritage) without authorisations. Section 23 of the Act makes it an offence to damage, disturb or interfere with Aboriginal heritage without authorisations.

The central archives, which include the Register of Aboriginal Sites and Objects, are maintained by Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation (AAR) on behalf of the Premier. The central archives contain records for 29 Aboriginal sites within the application area, some of which contain Aboriginal ancestral remains.

Berri Barmera Council advises that very minimal ground disturbance will occur as a result of the Project and, it does not anticipate any disturbance or adverse impact to any Aboriginal heritage as part of the Project works.

Berri Barmera Council further advises that it has designed the Project in such a way that it limits the risk that Aboriginal heritage will be encountered and/or disturbed.

In order to manage Aboriginal heritage during the Project, Berri Barmera Council has considered and adopted a number of cultural heritage management measures, including the implementation of a cultural heritage management plan.

Traditional Owners and other Aboriginal parties with an interest in the application area may contact AAR for further information about the nature of these sites (i.e. site type). Contact information is available on the about page.

If you are a Traditional Owner or an Aboriginal party with an interest in the application area, read the Consultation Information Package and get involved.