On Country

Marc Wohling

The Indigenous Ranger program is an Australian success story. In this podcast I go behind the scenes, to tell the incredible stories of the people who made it happen. I also talk to the people who continue working for its future and discuss what may lay ahead, for the management of our country. read less
Society & CultureSociety & Culture


Ep3: Professor Sharon Sullivan 'they were heady days...', the beginnings of cultural resource management
Oct 14 2023
Ep3: Professor Sharon Sullivan 'they were heady days...', the beginnings of cultural resource management
My guest this week is Professor Sharon Sullivan AO.  At 80 years old, Professor Sullivan, remains an intellectual firebrand. She continues to bring energy and commitment to not only protecting Australia’s cultural landscapes but educating the broader global public of their enormous cultural value.  Professor Sullivan, has had a distinguished career in cultural heritage management and is a former Executive Director of the Australian Heritage Commission and a former member of the World Heritage Committee. She is the author of five books and fifty papers, contributing to the development of cultural heritage management in Australia, and internationally including in the USA, China, Africa and Cambodia for over 40 years. She is the deputy Chair of the NSW Heritage Council and Chair of the Port Arthur Heritage Sites Authority. Sharon has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate from James Cook University and the University of New England and has been appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia and a life member of UNESCOS’s ICOMOS, for services to heritage conservation. She has been awarded the Rhys Jones Memorial Medal for Services to Archaeology. In this episode, I continue tracing the origins of the Indigenous ranger program but this time by looking at the evolution of cultural resource management, at a time when nature and culture were still seen as oppositional concepts and Indigenous people were still excluded from having any control or jurisdiction over their traditional landscapes and sites. From the late 1960’s through the 70’s and 80’s, Professor Sullivan, together with her Indigenous colleagues, Ray Kelly, Glen Morris, Terry Donavan, Badger Bates, David Crew and Jenny Carrol, virtually invented the field of modern, collaborative cultural resource management, radically changing the way Indigenous heritage was valued assessed and protected.  Their work laid the foundation for placing Indigenous people at the centre of cultural landscape management in Australia.