aboriginalheritagecouncil.vic.gov.au

Report secret or sacred objects

Report a secret or sacred Aboriginal object to the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council. Council will then return the object to the right Traditional Owners.

What are secret or sacred objects

Under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 an Aboriginal object is one that is of cultural heritage significance to Aboriginal people generally or a particular group or community of Aboriginal people in Victoria.

Secret or sacred objects are secret or sacred according to Aboriginal tradition. Aboriginal Traditional Owners are best placed to determine what Aboriginal objects are classified as secret or sacred.

Objects that would fall under this definition include but are not limited to the following:

  • associated with a traditional burial
  • created for ceremonial, religious or burial purposes
  • used or seen only by certain people 
  • sourced from or containing materials that are restricted to certain members of the community

Objects made for sale are not considered to be secret or sacred items.

Returning objects to Traditional Owners

Following changes to the Aboriginal Heritage Act in August 2016, legal ownership of secret and sacred objects belong to the Traditional Owners (where the object originated). Anyone who has a secret or sacred object should report it to us. 

Report an object

Step 1: Contact us to confirm whether the object is secret or sacred

Step 2: Complete the report form

If we advise that the object may be secret or sacred, complete the form:

We'll assess the report and will contact the Traditional Owners, if the object is considered to be secret or sacred. 

Aboriginal Heritage Council

Reviewed 06 November 2018