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Rainforest Aboriginal landscape

Rainforest Aboriginal people have occupied, used and enjoyed their lands in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area since time immemorial. There are 18 Aboriginal tribal groups with ongoing traditional connections to land in and around the Area. To Rainforest  Aboriginal people the Area is a series of complex living cultural landscapes. This means that the country and its natural features and resources are central to Rainforest Aboriginal people’s spirituality, culture, social organisation and economic use (see the table below).

Conservation of natural World Heritage values is inextricably linked with that of Aboriginal cultural and spiritual values. The ecosystems of the Wet Tropics region have evolved over thousands of years through active Aboriginal interaction with the land and management of its resources. The participation of Traditional Owners and their cultural knowledge and perspectives of plants, animals and ecological processes creates a special context for conservation management and research of the Area. Activities such as fire management, hunting and gathering, and harvesting of materials for shelter, tools, ceremony or art and craft are essential for the maintenance of Aboriginal culture and have always been integral to the ecology of the Wet Tropics. The table below lists some of these Aboriginal cultural values. It should be noted that many of these values could easily fit into several categories. For instance, hunting can also have spiritual, social and ecological values.

Rainforest Aboriginal Country has its own special section where you can learn all about Rainforest Aboriginal people and their role in World Heritage management.


Spiritual Ecological Social Economic

• creation stories
• sacred sites
• burial grounds
bora grounds
• ceremony
• responsibility for country
• totems

• bush tucker (animals and plants)
• bush medicine
• knowledge of ecological relationships
• fire management
• seasonal calendar

• language
• living areas and camps
• walking tracks
• kinship systems
• clans
• cultural identity
• traditional law

• hunting and gathering
• tools
• food preparation
• shelter building
• harvesting resources
• art and craft



News and Events

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News and Events

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Corridor opens new avenues for Wet Tropics wildlife

Corridor opens new avenues for Wet Tropics wildlife

A vigorous tree planting session held in March is set to create a critical ecological corridor for Wet Tropics wildlife, linking the tropical coa... READ MORE

Research grants fund further study into Wet Tropics

Research grants fund further study into Wet Tropics

The plight of some of Australia's rarest marsupials headline the latest funding splash into the world's oldest rainforest.... READ MORE

Yellow crazy ants discovered at new site in Cairns

Yellow crazy ants discovered at new site in Cairns

Authorities are working to contain a small outbreak of yellow crazy ants discovered in a south Cairns suburb.... READ MORE