Learning from the Past? Some Early Attempts at Protecting Indigenous Intangible Heritage in Australia


  • Michael Davis University of Sydney


The introduction of effective measures to ensure recognition of Indigenous rights in ecological knowledge and associated practices has long eluded governments and policy-makers in Australia. It is acknowledged that existing intellectual property regimes (IPRs) do not provide adequate scope for such recognition. Yet among the many potential benefits of an appropriate recognition regime for ecological knowledge and associated practices are the opportunities it may offer for strengthening Indigenous peoples’ capacity for equal participating in the management and conservation of national parks and other protected areas. In this paper I outline two early attempts in Australia to propose legislative measures that would have the potential to provide protection for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ intangible heritage, including ecological knowledge and practices.


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