An attempted sale of possible Aboriginal artefacts is being investigated after the seizure of almost 40 stone items in a raid on a Hobart residence.
The investigation came after a member of Tasmania’s Aboriginal community said artefacts were being offered for sale by a member of the public on a website.
Natural and Cultural Heritage Division chief enforcement officer Luke Bond said 38 items were discovered during a search at a Hobart house.
“Investigations are continuing to confirm the origin and authenticity of the seized items. A male person is assisting investigators with their inquiries,” he said.
“The items consist of a range of stone materials. We are liaising with Aboriginal heritage experts to try and identify and authenticate the objects.”
Director of Aboriginal Heritage Tasmania Steve Gall said it was important that people were aware of the laws in place to protect Aboriginal heritage, and reports of breaches were investigated.
“Aboriginal heritage provides an important link for the Aboriginal community to their old people. It also represents the history of Tasmania,” he said.
Under Tasmania’s Aboriginal Relics Act 1975, it is an offence to sell or offer for sale an Aboriginal relic or object that could be implied to be Aboriginal relics.
Penalties include fines and a potential six months’ imprisonment.
The state’s new Aboriginal Relics Amendment Act 2017 will commence mid-August this year.