Before making a determination, giving an authorisation or declaring by regulation a site or object under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988, the Premier, as the Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, must take all reasonable steps to consult with:

  • The State Aboriginal Heritage Committee; and
  • Any Aboriginal organisation, Traditional Owners and other Aboriginal people that, in opinion of the Minister, have an interest in the matter.

Current applications

Application for Authorisation under Section 23 of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988 (SA) – Aboriginal Heritage Project  - Part 2 - (Destructive analysis of Aboriginal human hair samples)

Applicant: The University of Adelaide and the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, in collaboration with the South Australian Museum

Project: The Aboriginal Heritage Project - Part 2

Proposal: Destructive analysis of Aboriginal human hair samples

Hair Sample Collection Points: SA, WA, QLD, NSW, TAS, NT, VIC

The Premier of South Australia, as the Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation (AAR), has received an application for authorisation under section 23 of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988 SA (Act) to damage, disturb or interfere with Aboriginal sites, objects and remains. The application has been submitted by the University of Adelaide (UoA) and the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, in collaboration with the South Australian Museum (SAM) (collectively referred to herein as the Applicant), for authorisation to conduct destructive DNA analysis on Aboriginal human hair samples as part of the Aboriginal Heritage Project – Part Two (Project).

The Project will attempt to establish a baseline of DNA data to allow Aboriginal people to trace regional ancestry within Australia, and to reconstruct personal and family genealogical history prior to the arrival of Europeans. The Project will draw on hair samples collected from living Aboriginal participants by UoA’s Board of Anthropological Research expeditions undertaken between 1923 and 1963. While the DNA analysis is a destructive process, the Applicant advises that only one third of each sample will be analysed/destroyed.

The original hair donors, or their eldest direct descendant, will be identified through genealogical records held by SAM and publicly available information. The consultation model proposed by the Project has been informed by Aboriginal consultation carried out by Project team members over the past five years. Through this means of consultation, the Applicant seeks to gain informed consent from the original hair donors and/or their eldest direct descendant in relation to the samples that are the subject of this application.

Authorisation is sought to cover the analysis of 4,444 hair samples collected from 68 collection points across South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales. A list of the hair samples to which this application relates is contained within the Consultation Information Pack.

For further information relating to this application, please download a copy of the Consultation Information Pack or call AAR on (08) 8226 8900 to request a hard copy.

Aboriginal Heritage Project Part 2 Consultation Pack (PDF, 4.3 MB)

Consultation and submissions

Prior to the Premier considering the application, section 13 of the Act requires him to take all reasonable steps to consult with Traditional Owners, the State Aboriginal Heritage Committee, as well as any Aboriginal persons or organisations that, in the opinion of the Premier, may have a particular interest in the matter.

A consultation meeting will be held from 10:00 am on Wednesday 30 October 2019 at the Chifley Hotel on South Terrace, Adelaide. A light lunch and refreshments will be provided for attendees. Please note, no travel or accommodation funding is available. If you plan to attend, it would be appreciated if you could RSVP to AAR as soon as possible. Free car parking (subject to availability) is available at the venue by contacting the Chifley Reception.

The Premier also invites parties who satisfy the requirements of section 13 of the Act to submit verbal and written submissions in relation to the application. The closing date for submissions is Wednesday 27 November 2019 at 5:00 PM (ACDT).

For more information, or to lodge a written or verbal submission, please contact:

Mr Alex van Wessem
Principal Project Officer (Heritage)
Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation

Department of the Premier and Cabinet
GPO Box 320
ADELAIDE  SA  5001
Tel: 8226 8900

Email: DPC-AAR.CIR@sa.gov.au