Ancient Heritage at the Burrup Peninsula in Western Australia
Up to one million of these ancient rock carvings date back as far as the last
- The Burrup Peninsula, traditionally called Murujuga,
on the north western coast of Western Australia, and sacred to the Yaburara
clan, contains one of
the world's largest and most important concentrations of prehistoric
rock art (petroglyphs).
- Murujuga consists of up to one million
of these ancient rock carvings recording up to 30,000
years of continuous use
and occupation by Australia’s
very first people. The diversity of images is said to be
unmatched anywhere in the
world with the oldest possibly dating back to the last ice age.
The collection of standing stones may be the largest known.
campsites and artefacts
cover the whole area.
- Older than the Egyptian pyramids by up to
tens of thousands of years, this place of incredible
national and world heritage values has already
estimated 20% of the stones through removal, destruction or pollution
from emissions of the industrial estate that has been allowed to
- Despite this, the Australian Government and Western
Australian Government still allow industrial development
in the Rock Art Precinct to continue.
This has resulted in the physical removal and destruction of
hundreds of cultural
features and thousands of individual petroglyphs.
of the Dampier Rock Art Precinct to Australia’s National
Heritage List was made in 2004, with the government’s own Heritage
Council unequivocally advising the Precinct should be listed. However some
after nomination, the Minister continues to defer making a decision.
December 2006 Peter, with Greens Senator Rachel Siewart and Labor
MP Carmen Lawrence, made
application for emergency
listing of the Precinct
to the National
Heritage List. This was in response to imminent removal and
destruction of petroglyphs with the development of Woodside Energy’s
Pluto gas processing plant on the Burrup Peninsula.
- That application
was strenuously opposed by industry and by the Western
Australian government, and the application was refused by the federal
of petroglyphs and destruction of the site is now occurring.
Rock Art Precinct has remained on the World Monuments Fund’s
list of 100 Most Threatened Monuments in the world since 2003.
The Precinct is listed as one of the ten most threatened
sites in the world by
the International Sacred Sites Trust. The traditional Aboriginal
the area oppose and condemn any further development of the Burrup
Peninsula, and nearly 25,000 Australians have signed a
petition calling for protection
of the area.
And all because of the refusal to insist further industrial development relocate
Peter continues to raise this issue where possible, and has alerted other
politicians, community leaders and groups, and international forums. But the
Burrup needs your help.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Alert your friends, family and colleagues by sending information to as many
contacts you can, both in Australia and internationally.
Learn More by clicking on the links in the right hand column
Read Peter’s parliamentary speeches on the Environment & Heritage
Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2006 and on the Aboriginal & Torres
Strait Islander Heritage Protection Amendment Bill 2005
Check if your financial institutions (including your Super’ fund) invest
in Woodside & alert them to this issue.
Contact the following:
- Premier of Western Australia, Mr Alan Carpenter:
197 St George’s Terrace, PERTH WA 6000
Fax: +61 (8) 9322 1213
- Federal Minister for Environment & Water Resources,
Mr Malcolm Turnbull:
PO Box 6022, Parliament House, CANBERRA ACT 2600
Fax: +61 (2) 6273 6101
- Your own Federal Members and Senators – see “Who’s who” at
- CEO of Woodside Energy, Don Voelte:
240 St Georges Terrace, Perth WA 6000
T: +61 (8) 9348 4000
F: +61 (8) 9214 2777
- Los Angeles office: Woodside Natural Gas
1901 Avenue of the Stars, Level 2, Century City, LA CALIFORNIA
F: 0011 (1) 310 461 1304
- Newspapers and media, keep it short and
simple. Try the West Australian at www.thewest.com.au
National Trust of Australia (WA)
Clear summary of the place & issue
Australian Rock Art Research Association
Robert Bednarik started studying the site in 1967
Sign the petition
Dampier Rock Art Media
History of media coverage
Comprehensive plain English resource
Western Australia Endangered Places
Amazing images of the art
You need broadband for this
White Man’s Business
ABC’s Four Corners transcript 2000