Cultural heritage

Aboriginal heritage

The people of the Worimi tribe are the traditional owners of the Port Stephens and Myall Lakes area.

Many significant Aboriginal cultural and spiritual sites are located within or adjacent to the Marine Park including:

  • middens;
  • burial sites;
  • traditional campsites.

Aboriginal people's association with the area's sea and land dates back thousands of years and local people still gather food in the traditional way.

The Worimi people view land and sea country as one living entity, interconnected through many diverse environmental systems, which include rivers, creeks, streams, wetlands, waterholes, springs, the ocean, all wildlife, plant and animal species, and natural resources.

The Worimi people consider the Port Stephens–Great Lakes Marine Park as part of a significant cultural landscape created by our ancestors in the Dreaming; the period of creation. Worimi ancestors and their descendants have used sustainable management of landscapes for many thousands of years.

The park area has been used, and is still used, by Aboriginal peoples for a wide range of activities, including: collecting shells, gathering shellfish, trapping fish, crabs, worming, hunting, social activities and camping.

See the Aboriginal engagement and cultural use of fisheries resources policy for more information.

Maritime heritage

The park has 18 Heritage Places (in or adjacent to the Port Stephens–Great Lakes Marine Park) and 187 shipwrecks.

Any shipwreck in excess of 75 years of age (from the time of being wrecked) is automatically a declared shipwreck under the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976. Two 'Places' are already protected under the NSW Heritage Act (Point Stephens Lighthouse and Tahlee Bible College) and 25 shipwrecks are recognised by the Heritage Council of NSW.