On Country Heritage and Consulting is a specialist cultural heritage consultancy focused on providing innovative and dynamic approaches to heritage and land management. We bring together research expertise in Aboriginal cultural heritage, archaeology, history and anthropology, along with our core strengths in working with community ‘On Country’.
Our highly qualified team provides professional and independent heritage advice to ensure that clients meet the requirements of various state and commonwealth legislative frameworks. Notably, the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 and Victorian Heritage Act 1995. We are committed to working with our clients to guide them through the heritage process to ensure long-term success and value. We also provide a range of associated anthropological, historical and archaeological research services attuned to respectful engagement Aboriginal Traditional Owners and the wider Australian community.
Cultural Values Assessments
We conduct desktop and field-based assessments of existing cultural heritage, and consult with local Traditional Owner groups to guide projects and developments before the compliance stage. This enables clients to begin considering Aboriginal heritage in the design and planning phase of a project. This can help to reduce costs and mitigate compliance issues surrounding Aboriginal Heritage management.
Cultural Heritage Management Plans
On Country Heritage draws on the experience of the Federation of Traditional Owner Corporations, Victorian Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAPs), and our team of highly qualified archaeologists, anthropologists, and heritage specialists, to provide professional heritage management recommendations to ensure that your project is compliant with relevant legislation. Our staff can assist clients through all stages of the heritage management process and our extensive experience in report writing ensures that you receive easy to follow and reliable advice for your project or development.
Due Diligence Assessments
Due Diligence Assessments or ‘desktop assessments’ may be required when the threshold triggers that would necessitate a Cultural Heritage Management Plan (CHMP) are unclear or ambiguous. Our knowledgeable heritage professionals can assist you to determine if CHMPs are required for your project, and advise you on preliminary heritage concerns prior to the development of a CHMP.
Approved archaeological excavations
Our archaeologists can assist with approved excavations, test pits, and shovel tests, auger testing, sieving, and other methods for the excavation of sub-surface archaeological material. We can ensure that your excavation is compliant with relevant legislation and that management, documentation, and repatriation of Aboriginal cultural artefacts is aligned with legislative requirements, and the wishes of Traditional Owners.
Cultural Interpretation Projects
Our anthropologists, archaeologists, and heritage professionals can assist with Cultural Interpretation Projects including signage with traditional names/language, visual aids for cultural education in public areas, interpretive planning for development of public spaces and incorporating cultural values into developments. Our team can help you to incorporate Aboriginal cultural values into any project and build awareness and respect for Aboriginal culture and history through increased public engagement and education.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Our GIS and mapping team has expertise across a broad range of GIS functions including geographic data processing, spatial analysis, spatial database development and administration, visual design and cartography. We have in-house expertise on a variety of industry leading desktop and web-based geospatial software suites and can effectively link these with existing GIS capability that your organization has, or develop individual solutions tailored to your specific requirements. We have the ability to produce, analyse, and display GIS information in ways that are relevant and meaningful to your audience.
On Country Heritage and Consulting can assist with the production of cultural maps for a variety of purposes in a variety of formats. We are able to create 2D and 3D representations of culturally significant places or objects and embed them in easy to use web-based or standalone software systems to facilitate education and transfer of cultural knowledge. We can map small to large areas and embed video, audio, photos, panoramic images, and text to produce an immersive user experience that conveys a comprehensive and visceral sense of place. We can guide you through the process of cultural map production and suggest appropriate technologies for your individual requirements.
Ethnobotanical mapping, flora and fauna surveys
On Country Heritage and Consulting combines the experience of environmental professionals, anthropologists, archaeologists, and heritage professionals to conduct ethnobotanical surveys, flora and fauna surveys, and suggest management recommendations that recognise the intrinsic links between culture, heritage, and the natural environment. We can provide advice for your project at any stage from planning through to rehabilitation and we have experience working in a variety of environmental and biological regions and sub-regions.
Community consultation and engagement
Our anthropologists and community consultation specialists work closely with our project management team to prepare community engagement strategies to ensure that stakeholders’ voices are accurately represented. We realise that community support contributes heavily to your project’s success and you can rely on our team of experienced consultants to communicate your project plan to stakeholders, and obtain relevant and detailed feedback to inform your planning phase. Our extensive experience in Aboriginal engagement ensures that communication with Traditional Owners is respectful, professional, and considerate of cultural protocols.
Aboriginal Heritage Management
The foundation of On Country Heritage and Consulting is our experience in applied Aboriginal Heritage Management. We have assisted some of Australia’s largest companies and Traditional Owner groups to implement successful heritage management strategies that have contributed not only to the success of projects, but to outcomes for communities and Traditional Owners. We see the management of Aboriginal heritage as an important responsibility and our role is to assist industry, government, and Traditional Owners to collaborate effectively to develop heritage management strategies that provide positive outcomes for all parties.
Mediation and dispute resolution services
On Country Heritage and Consulting employs accredited mediators (both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal) from a variety of backgrounds, including, law, social sciences and Aboriginal community services. Our mediators are accredited through the Australian Mediation Association (AMA), and we only engage mediators with a nationally recognised mediation accreditation, and extensive experience in mediating community disputes. On Country mediators help and support parties to hear and recognise each other’s concerns. This empowers parties to be in control of developing their own mutually acceptable and sustainable outcomes drawing on the knowledge, values, and the life experience of each party. Where appropriate, we can arrange for co-mediators with specific cultural or local knowledge.