Mapping the Aboriginal Nations of NSW

Improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health is a significant focus of Australian government health departments, as part of their commitment to the Close the Gap initiative. To improve Aboriginal cultural awareness, in 2009 I was asked to develop a series of maps of the Aboriginal Nations that made up New South Wales and the (at the time) eight Area Health Services that NSW Health was divided into.

Until I was assigned this project I hadn’t realised how many Aboriginal Nations there were and how many native languages existed in pre-colonial Australia. I designed the maps based on a few samples that I had been given from the Aboriginal Land Council and matched them as well as I could – the borders were never as well-defined as these maps would lead you to believe, so it is an approximation of where the nations existed. I then broke down the NSW map into the eight Area Health Services and provided the maps to each in a variety of formats (jpegs, Word docs, Powerpoint slides, press-ready artwork and eps) so they could be used in a variety of ways.  A sample of the NSW map and a few of the AHS posters are below.

The eight Area Health Services were replaced with the current 15 Local Health Districts (eight metropolitan, seven rural and regional) in late 2010, after I had left the Ministry section of NSW Health to take up a new role at a related health agency. If you have a burning desire to see the maps of the current Local Health Districts, they can be found at the NSW Health website.

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