Towards World Heritage recognition for Murujuga

Boardwalk at Ngajarli rock art site in Murujuga National Park. Photo credit: Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.

The Murujuga Cultural Landscape has been nominated by the Australian Government for inclusion on the World Heritage List.

The formal nomination was submitted to the UNESCO world Heritage Centre in late January 2023. It was prepared by the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation in partnership with the Western Australian Government, with support and advice from the Australian Government and technical experts.

If accepted, Murujuga will be the second site in Australia listed for World Heritage Status for First Nations cultural heritage.

The Murujuga Cultural Landscape, located in the north-west of Western Australia, is of immense cultural and spiritual significance and of continuous culture and practice. It contains evidence of continuous traditional culture and practice of the area over at least 50,000 years.

The nomination presents Murujuga as a living cultural landscape, with potential ‘Outstanding Universal Value’ demonstrated through the extensive petroglyph collection, the living cultural traditions and the deep time histories of land and sea use.

Murujuga has an estimated 1-2 million images in an area of more than 100,000 hectares, across land and sea country. This is the densest known concentration of hunter-gatherer petroglyphs anywhere in the world.

“Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation is proud to have led the preparation of this nomination, on behalf of the Traditional Owners and Custodians for Murujuga, and in partnership with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions,” said Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation CEO, Mr Peter Jeffries.

“For more than two decades, the Ngarda-Ngarli have aspired for World Heritage listing of Murujuga and for our traditional knowledge and lore to be at the centre of decision-making, governance and management of this land and sea country.”

UNESCO’s assessment process will take at least 18 months and the earliest the nomination is likely to be considered by the World Heritage Committee is mid-2024.

The Ngarjarli Art Viewing Trail in Murujuga National Park will be the subject of the keynote presentation at FACET’s 2023 Heritage Tourism Workshop to be held on Thursday 9th March 2023 at the Fremantle Town Hall.

More details, including the booking link for the 2023 Heritage Tourism Workshop, are available here.