Project Summary

The Avenel-Mt Westwood Station consists of a remote and ecologically diverse landscape located on the NSW/South Australian border, with a range of arid zone landforms that transition into gibber plains and dune fields of the Strzelecki Desert. The property was purchased by NPWS in order to expand the networks of national parks in Far Western NSW, and to conserve significant areas of critically important habitat types. It formed part of the largest acquisition of land for a national park in NPWS history. As part of the commitment to open Avenel-Mt Westwood Station to the public, NPWS engaged Austral to assist with identifying and managing potential heritage impacts associated with the installation of new campgrounds, walking trails, and a 4WD trail.

Austral highly values working collaboratively with Aboriginal people to record their cultural values, and this project offered another opportunity to work alongside and to learn from Traditional Owners of the Barkindji and Malyangapa people, by camping and living together while on remote fieldwork. Being able to incorporate the views of Traditional Owners into the assessment process has led NPWS to be able to modify the potential for their development to impact on cultural sites and has provided the best outcome for a project which will allow wider access to a beautiful part of Australia.


– Background research
– Remote fieldwork and survey
– Use of paperless recording
– Involvement and engagement with TOs

"Being on Country with Malyangapa and Barkindji people who hadn't visited this area for years was deeply humbling. To see and feel people come alive and be in awe of their own cultural heritage and the richness of the desert after rain will stay with me for the rest of my life."

Doctor Amanda MarkhamPrincipal Archaeologist, Austral