Protecting Aboriginal Heritage

Finding Aboriginal Artifacts

NEMTB and its members have a statutory and social responsibility to conserve and protect Aboriginal heritage items of the local Aboriginal People.

Under the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NPW Act, s 86(2)) it is illegal to remove or harm an Aboriginal object (artifacts) and sites. This is an obligation of the entire community and businesses, not just relating to the use and maintenance of mountain bike trails.

Removal or harm to Aboriginal Artifacts

If we find an Aboriginal artifact (or site) we are obliged to contact the Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System (AHIMS) team, who can help with reporting the find, and future management, care, or repatriation of objects.

If you find an artifact please take a picture, record the location and contact the club Secretary ( who will notify the appropriate landowner who will coordinate ongoing management of the site or artifact. 

What does an Aboriginal Artifact look like?

Typically, it is understood that the following items are the most common artifacts that have been found around the mountain bike trail networks.

Flaked Stones Tools

A flake stone is made by being knocked off a core stone. This flake stone can then be used as a cutting or scraping tool. The flake stones sharp edge dulls with use and the person would knock off a new flake to replace or retouch the edge. If you find one of these replace in the location found or, if on the trail, place adjacent to the trail to prevent damage and conserve.

A key aspect of identifying a flake tool is that a ‘striking platform’ is visible and they are usually less than 50mm long, as shown in the below diagram. Core stones are typically fist-size or smaller and have one or more scars where flakes have been removed (

These are the most common artifact found and have typically been white in colour contrasting the surrounding brown or black soils and rocks.

Diagram showing basic stone flake characteristics.

Ground-edge Axes

Ground-edge axe tools are round or spherical stone with a ground cutting edge.Ground-stone axe heads are a valuable source of information about the past. If you find one of these replace in the location found or, if on the trail, place it adjacent to the trail to prevent damage and conserve.

For further information see First People – State Relations Victory Premier and Cabinet Aboriginal Ground-edge Axe Fact Sheet

Greenstone axe blank (left) and ground-edge axe (right) Source:

Scar Trees

There have been numerous scarred trees located in the vicinity of the NEMTB maintained trails.

These scars have been caused by the removal of the bark for various purposes. These trees are usually over 200 years old. Scarred trees provide valuable clues about the use of perishable materials by Aboriginal people.  

Scarred trees are easier to find than many other archaeological sites. They tell us where Aboriginal people used to live, and help us find other types of archaeological sites, such as scatters of stone tools. Scarred trees also provide Aboriginal people today with an important link to their culture and their past.

Further Information

For further information on other Aboriginal Artifacts see the following link -