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Farmers and Local Land Services protecting Aboriginal cultural values

A chance encounter by farmer Michael Zell has seen a historic Aboriginal grave site protected on his Gulargambone property.

While inspecting a fox den, Mr Zell discovered the culturally significant burial site.

This led to a chain of events which saw the site fenced and protected with support from Central West Local Land Services. This project also helped Mr Zell better understand the Aboriginal cultural values on his land.

Local Land Services works with landholders on a range of production and environmental issues, including protecting Aboriginal cultural values.

Central West Local Land Services currently has grants available to landholders wanting to find out more about Aboriginal cultural values on their land.

Like many properties across Australia, 'Memsie' has signs of historic Aboriginal occupation.

"We have often come across stone tools in paddocks," Mr Zell said.

"As a practice we move them under trees to stop them getting damaged from farm machinery.

"The project with Local Land Services is another way we're trying to protect what is here."

After discovering the grave site, Michael first contacted police. After inspection the officers put him in touch with an archaeologist from the Office of Environment and Heritage who confirmed the burial was of historic Aboriginal origin, ran an investigation and organised an appropriate reburial.

This led to the project with Local Land Services to fence the site and protect it from inadvertent damage.

Local Land Services is keen to work with farmers like Mr Zell who want to better understand and protect cultural heritage values on their farms, according to Local Land Services Aboriginal Communities Officer, Mike Nolan.

"This project is a great example of where a farmer has worked with us and the local Aboriginal community to help preserve our culture," said Mr Nolan.

"The wider Aboriginal community is incredibly grateful when people like Michael value the significant areas on their land and work to protect them.

"Michael was very interested in the Aboriginal culture on his property. Though the project we were able to bring in members of the local Aboriginal community to share appropriate knowledge."

Landholders wanting to better understand the Aboriginal cultural values on their land should nearest Local Land Services office, call 1300 795 299 or visit the Local Land Services website.

Image available on request: Aboriginal Communities Officer Mike Nolan (right) with farmer Michael Zell.

Media contact: Rod Campbell (0447 430 160 or rodney.campbell@lls.nsw.gov.au)