National Heritage listing

Black Mountain
Photographer: Campbell Clarke

The National Heritage List

In May 2007, the Wet Tropics of Queensland was added to the National Heritage List alongside other World Heritage Areas. Australia's national heritage comprises exceptional natural and cultural places which help give Australia its national identity. Such places are a living and accessible record of the nation's evolving landscapes and experiences.

National Heritage defines the critical moments in Australia's development as a nation and reflects achievements, joys and sorrows in the lives of Australians. It also encompasses those places that reveal the richness of Australia's extraordinarily diverse natural heritage.

Each place on the List is assessed by the Australian Heritage Council as having national heritage values which can be protected and managed under a range of Commonwealth powers.

National Heritage Listing of Indigenous Values

On 9 November 2012 the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area's Indigenous heritage values were included as part of the existing Wet Tropics of Queensland National Heritage Listing. The listing recognises that Rainforest Aboriginal heritage is unique to the Wet Tropics and is a remarkable and continuous Indigenous connection with a tropical rainforest environment. To quote the Australian Government website:

The Aboriginal Rainforest People of the Wet Tropics of Queensland have lived continuously in the rainforest environment for at least 5,000 years and this is the only place in Australia where Aboriginal people have permanently inhabited a tropical rainforest environment.

The Rainforest Aboriginal people developed a distinctive cultural heritage determined by their dreamtime and creation stories and their traditional food gathering, processing and land management techniques. Reliance on their traditions helped Rainforest Aboriginal people to survive in this at times inhospitable environment. The distinctiveness of the traditions and technical innovation and expertise needed to process and prepare toxic plants as food and the use of fire is of outstanding heritage value to the nation and are now protected for future generations under national environmental law.

National Heritage List criteriaRainforest fruits
Photographer: WTMA

The National Heritage criteria that the Wet Tropics of Queensland was listed for in 2007 corresponds to its World Heritage criteria. In 2012 the Area was also listed for an additional criterion to recognise its cultural values.

The Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area is considered to have outstanding heritage value to the nation because of:


                                     Criterion (a)                                  Criterion (b)

the place's importance in the course, or pattern, of Australia's natural or cultural history.

the place's possession of uncommon, rare or endangered aspects of Australia's natural or cultural history.

                                    Criterion (c)                                  Criterion (d)

the place's potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of Australia's natural or cultural history.

the place's importance in demonstrating the principal characteristics of (i) a class of Australia's natural or cultural places; or (ii) a class of Australia's natural or cultural environments.

                                  Criterion (e)  

the place's importance in exhibiting particular aesthetic characteristics valued by a community or cultural group.


For a full listing of Australia's National Heritage places, visit the Department of the Environment and Energy website.

National heritage logo
Photographer: SEWPAC

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