Indigenous Communities

and the Environment

Angas Downs on the map

Angas Downs Indigenous Protected Area

Central Australia | Declared in June 2009

Angas Downs Indigenous Protected Area stretches across more than 320,000 hectares of Australia's Red Centre, where the hot, arid sand plains reveal an incredibly rich biodiversity.

Angas Downs is also of great historical and cultural value with many Anangu culturally important sites including waterholes, rock engravings and ceremonial sites.

Learning from elders

Angas Downs  Working on Country

Quandong harvesting

Photos: George Wilson Australian Wildlife Service

In June 2009 the traditional owners decided to declare Angas Downs an Indigenous Protected Area to protect its cultural sites, plants and animals for future generations.

Anangu elder Margaret Smith said teaching young people the value of Tjukurpa (law) as well as scientific methods of conservation remained a very important part of caring for the country.

"Both ways, Tjukurpa and European knowledge, are very important to us, sharing this knowledge," she said.

"Sacred sites like the Wilpia Soak are very important - it's the olden place water site where we went for water and give water for all the animals.

"Plants and animals like quandong and the thorny devils, emus and kangaroos are important to us. The emus need help to grow up - we need to get them emus growing, to grow them up and get them out on country."

Part of the Nyangatjatjara region of the Northern Territory's south-west, Angas Downs pastoral lease is owned by the Imanpa Indigenous community.

Residents of Imanpa include Matutjara descendents - the original occupiers of the Angas Downs region - Yankunytjara and Pitjantjatjara.

The Yankunytjara and Pitjantjatjara have maintained a continued connection to the property, including its past life as a sheep and cattle property.

The Imanpa Development Association purchased the lease in 1994 on behalf of the Imanpa community. The association's trading company Lisanote Pty Ltd now manages Angas Downs on behalf of the community.

Today Traditional Owners continue to work as Indigenous rangers on the property, sharing their knowledge with young Anangu to make sure Angas Downs is managed with Anangu customary knowledge as well as scientific knowledge.

These rangers are supported by the Australian Government's Working on Country program, part of its Caring for our Country initiative.

The rangers are now working on several projects to restore and protect the native habitat of Angas Downs, in line with a plan of management.

Like all of Australia's Indigenous Protected Areas, Angas Downs is part of the National Reserve System - our nation's most secure way of protecting native habitat for future generations.

For more information download the Angas Downs factsheet (PDF 627KB)