Murujuga for World Heritage Listing

The Burrup Peninsula ("Murujuga") adjoins the Dampier Archipelago, a unique series of islands with distinctive ecological and archaeological characteristics. It lies just off the Pilbara coast of Western Australia.

Murujuga contains the world’s largest and most important collection of petroglyphs (ancient rock art engravings) that present a chronology dating back as far as 30,000 years ago. To put that into perspective, the last Ice Age occurred roughly 14,000 years ago, and the World Heritage listed Stonehenge is estimated to be 5,000 years old.

In 2007, the Federal Government placed areas of Murujuga on the National Heritage list, but this hasn’t stopped the continuing abuse of this precious landscape. Vandalism and theft are on the rise, yet there is no permanent presence on the site to monitor or oversee the security of the rock art. The rock art is still at risk of damaging emissions from current and proposed heavy industry in and around Murujuga, with destruction being caused by sulphur and nitrogen in the atmosphere.

This precious area is long overdue for World Heritage listing, as confirmed by the 2012 Report by the Australian Heritage Council, which showed that The Dampier Peninsula meets UNESCO Outstanding Universal Values criteria for World Heritage listing. 

The World Monuments Fund listed the Dampier Rock Art Complex in 2004, 2006 and 2008 on their 100 Most Endangered Places in the world, the only such site in Australia, because of the continued mismanagement of the heritage and conservation values of Murujuga.

What can you do?

  • Write to the Hon. Josh Frydenberg, Minister for the Environment and Energy, M1:17 Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600. Let him know that you care about Murujuga and want the area World Heritage Listed.
  • Write or visit your local parliamentary member to alert them to the critical situation on Murujuga.
  • Find out more: check out the friendly crew at Friends of Australian Rock Art (FARA), they are always looking for support and new members.
  • Get into the media, perhaps by writing a letter to the editor.

Murujuga is part of the common heritage of us all. Take action now before it is lost forever.

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