Indigenous Cultural Heritage in Australia: The Control of Living Heritages.

Judith Bannister

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


If we Aborigines cannot control our own heritage,what the hell can we control? Rosalind Langford1

The common way to commence any discussion of Australian Indigenous cultures is to emphasise that they are the oldest living cultures in the world. From discussions of archaeological material in museums,2to corporate community engagement by banks,3the survival of Australian Aboriginal cultures is celebrated with some relief. In centuries past the demise of Australia’s original inhabitants was thought to be inevitable,4but against the odds, Indigenous Australians and their cultures have survived. So now a nation with a troubled history and uneasy conscience5celebratesIndigenous culture, while still struggling with the significant disparities in economic well-being, health and life expectancy that exist between Indigenous Australians and the wider community.6We now speak of the living cultural heritage of Indigenous Australians, and it is that concept of a living heritage that will be analysed in this chapter in the context of the protections granted by law.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIndigenous Intellectual Property
Subtitle of host publicationA Handbook of Contemporary Research
EditorsMatthew Rimmer
Place of PublicationCheltenham
PublisherEdward Elgar
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781781955901
ISBN (Print)9781781955895
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameResearch Handbooks in Intellectual Property
PublisherEdward Elgar


  • Law - Academic
  • Cultural heritage and art law
  • Human rights
  • Intellectual property
  • Intellectual property law
  • Indigenous Australians


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