Mapping the Lake Eyre Basin's rich Aboriginal history

Release Date: 
1 August 2018
Media release

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources - The Hon. David Littleproud MP
Minister for Indigenous Affairs - Senator the Hon. Nigel Scullion

  •  'Aboriginal Way' maps Aboriginal people, places, cultures and histories across the Basin
  • Map to raise awareness of Aboriginal management of water and land in the Lake Eyre Basin
  • Aboriginal elders will hand the map to the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies for future management and ongoing dialogue with Aboriginal people

The rich history of the Lake Eyre Basin is being celebrated with a mapping project showing Aboriginal stories, songlines, trade routes, and language groups.

Minister for Water Resources David Littleproud said the project produced a truly valuable document.

"The map will help governments and Aboriginal communities work together," Minister Littleproud said.

"The 'Aboriginal Way' map marks out traditional lands and significant sites to Aboriginal people.

"I would like to thank the committee members for their work to bring the map to life."

Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion said the project had brought Aboriginal people together to help protect their cultures and identities.

"Aboriginal people have shared many thousands of years of history and practice in developing this important resource," Minister Scullion said.

"The Commonwealth Government is committed to working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and I congratulate everyone involved in this important project that will help all Australians understand the connection to country for local Aboriginal people.

"I hope the map will inspire people to learn the traditions of the Basin and help them do so respectfully."

The 'Aboriginal Way' map was first proposed at the Aboriginal Forum at Mount Serle, SA in 2006.

The Aboriginal Map Steering Committee provided cultural advice to the Lake Eyre Basin Community Advisory Committee and managed consultations.

The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies will be responsible for the longterm management of the 'Aboriginal Way' map.

Further information on the 'Aboriginal Way' map can be found at

Fast Facts:

  • The Lake Eyre Basin covers almost one sixth of Australia at 1.2 million square kilometres across Queensland, South Australia the Northern Territory and NSW
  • The Lake Eyre Basin is one of the world's largest internally draining river systems
  • An estimated 60,000 people live in the Lake Eyre Basin