We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of country and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.

TLCMap development is based in land of the Pambalong clan of the Awabakal people, at the Callaghan campus of the University of Newcastle. TLCMap employs indigenous staff working across systems and projects.

Indigenous and non-Indigenous people are welcome to use TLCMap tools. Use of these tools should be guided by ethics, such as described in United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the AIATSIS Guidelines for Ethical Research in Australian Indigenous Studies. Use is bound by University of Newcastle terms and conditions.

The focus of TLCMap tools is on open knowledge, education and research. TLCMap is mainly for information that should be well known to everyone. Although constraints and terms and conditions can be applied that restrict re-use of information, it is better not to add anything secret or that should not be common knowledge to TLCMapping systems. This might apply to sacred sites, or sites that should be protected for any reason. There may be other specialised systems for taking care of that kind of information.

First Nations Fellowships

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander involvement and collaboration is essential when mapping the meaning and cultural value of locations on the Australian continent. With this in mind, TLCMap offered two $10,000 First Nations Fellowships (applications closed 15 September 2023), a key part of our 2023-24 LIEF project. This will provide collaborative opportunities for the development team to learn from Indigenous researchers, and for the Indigenous Fellows to steer development and use TLCMap systems for projects of their own choosing.


Decolonisation is an ongoing process. From the beginning there have been projects involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that are intended to direct what functionality we develop. The following are projects that have a specific focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and history.

Ngadjuri Heritage Mapping

This project is a collaboration between Ngadjuri people, particularly Quenten Agius, and University of South Australia staff, particularly Prof Ning Gu and Dr Julie Nichols. This project aims to improve best practice for digital mapping of indigenous heritage including virtual reality, panoramas and 3D architectural modelling.

Journey Ways

This project is a collaboration with Dr Noel Nannup (Nyoongar), Prof Paul Arthur and Dr Francesca Robinson, in consultation with Aboriginal people across WA. It is based on research that went into the ‘Great Journeys’ booklet and making this available in digital form. It describes the Aboriginal perspectives and stories that relate to major roads across Western Australia, which often follow traditional routes, and which have become further storied with historical use. It delves also into deep time, showing how stories relate to events of thousands of years ago according to geological time.

NSW Aborigines Protection/Welfare Board 1883-1969: A History

https://www.newcastle.edu.au/research-and-innovation/centre/purai/history-of-nsw-aborigines-protectionwelfare-board-1883-1969 This project provides a web interface and map into a research collection of Aboriginal Protection/Welfare Board sites in NSW and interviews with and photographs of people about their personal experiences with them. This project is lead by indigenous academic/s, employs indigenous research assistants, and presents Aboriginal perspectives. Aboriginal historians on this project are Prof John Maynard (UON), Dr Lawrence Bamblett (ANU), Dr Lorina Barker (UNE), Dr Ray Kelly (UoN) and Prof Jaky Troy (USyd) and indigenous PhD student, Ms Ashlen Francisco.

Endangered Languages Map Data

This project aims to consolidate and archive an overview of information about indigenous languages, particularly endangered languages in Australia in a way that can be accessed by others. Care has been taken to ensure that only information that can be made public is included in the open archive. This is part of long term work with speakers of endangered languages.


This linguistics project looks at how spatial relations and orientation is conceptualised and spoken about in Australian indigenous languages. It has two main parts, one is a database of languages with information describing the spatial and orientation features of languages, providing an overview. The other is visualisation tools, in particular tools that attempt to illustrate how space and orientation works in that language.

Colonial Frontier Massacres


This project maps colonial frontier massacres in Australia from 1780 to 1930.

System Design

“The Time Layered Cultural Map (TLCMap) digital humanities mapping infrastructure is for everyone, but the inspiration, conception and development of it has always had Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mapping at its heart. If Australian culture is world famous for anything it is the world’s oldest living culture, a culture for which connection to country is of vital importance. Many years ago, when a simple desire took shape to make it possible for people to add cultural layers to maps that other people could find, it was unthinkable without first considering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and mapping technology. Indigenous views on country and its representation have factored into the software architecture and vision from the beginning. The transformational effect that the Colonial Frontier Massacres project has had on Australian culture was a catalyst sparking recognition of the important role digital humanities maps can play in the lives of Australians and played a role in the truth telling process of reconciliation. For me, listening to responses, it has also highlighted the need to celebrate the good as much as acknowledge the bad, and to pay attention to what is under our feet, beneath the superficial layers, and that the more we understand what a place means, the stronger our connection to it and the more we learn to value it. Who makes maps is important because they are a way of asserting what is there. I hope that TLCMapping tools will be used by many people for many purposes. To start things off five of the main projects in TLCMap are focused on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and both acknowledge history and celebrate living culture. These projects come to TLCMap already as collaborations with non-indigenous, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and indigenous Australians are employed in TLCMap software development and research.”

– Bill Pascoe, System Architect