Cultural Landscapes of Cape York Peninsula added to Australia’s UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List

Dept of Climate Change, Energy, Environment & Water

The Cultural Landscapes of Cape York Peninsula have been added to Australia’s UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List.

It includes spectacular landscapes, rivers and Sea Country, shaped by ancestral beings since the beginning of time.

The Cultural Landscapes of Cape York Peninsula have been included on the World Heritage Tentative List, with the free, prior and informed consent of Traditional Owner groups.

The tentative listing recognises the significant cultural and natural values of parts of Cape York Peninsula. It also acknowledges the role of Traditional Owner groups in their enduring care for and management of Country.

The rock art galleries of Quinkan Country include paintings which date back around 17,000 years, depicting Quinkan spirit beings. These beings are key figures in traditional stories and are of continuing significance to the Western Yalanji, Kuku Warra, Possum and (Balnggarrwarra) Guugu Yimidhirr people.

Cape York Peninsula is home to almost 20% of native plant species, despite only making up 3% of Australia’s landmass.

Being added to the Tentative List is the first step towards a World Heritage nomination. This marks an important milestone to further preserve and protect area for future generations.

To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of Outstanding Universal Value and meet set criteria. Nominations for the World Heritage List are only considered if a site is included on the Tentative List. This process can take between 5 to 10 years.

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