Joint Media Release with Minister for the Environment The Hon Melissa Price MP and Member for Leichardt Warren Entsch MP
One of Australia’s most important and distinctive rock art regions, Quinkan Country, has been added to Australia’s National Heritage List.Minister for the Environment, the Hon Melissa Price MP, approved the listing this week, ensuring the ongoing protection of a region that has been inhabited for at least 34,000 years.
“Quinkan Country is a very significant part of our history – it stands out among other regions because of the richness, size and density of its rock art, and the extraordinary array of Aboriginal paintings and engravings,” Minister Price said.
“Our Government is committed to protecting and preserving places that reflect our incredibly diverse heritage and there is widespread support among the local community for Quinkan Country to be included in our National Heritage List.”
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion said traditional owners and cultural custodians of Quinkan Country have maintained a strong and proud connection to their country for millennia.
Through the Ang-Gnarra Aboriginal Corporation, Quinkan Country will be protected for many millennia more.
“To have such an important and culturally valuable site recognised and protected in this way is a testament to the traditional custodians and the strength of their traditions, kin structures and practices to maintain their connection to country, culture and identity,” Minister Scullion said.
Warren Entsch MP, Federal Member for Leichhardt, said Quinkan Country is also recognised for the diversity of Aboriginal paintings and engravings, located in its numerous shelters, overhangs and on rock surfaces.
“Ongoing collaboration between traditional owners and researchers continues to inform our understanding of Australia’s pre-history, Aboriginal occupation of the north-west region of Australia and the shared wider history of early human habitation and pre-historic art,” he said.
The National Heritage List now recognises 116 places of outstanding heritage value to the nation including the Dampier Archipelago, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and the West Kimberley.
Places on the list are protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, which requires that approval be obtained before any action occurs that could have a significant impact on the National Heritage values of a listed place.
The Federal Government will work with the landowners on a management plan.
Quinkan Country is located near the small town of Laura in the south-east region of Cape York Peninsula in Northern Queensland. Beyond Quinkan Country lies the Ringurru (Lakefield) National Park to the north, the Great Dividing Range to the south and the Koolburra Plateau to the west. The Western Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation has Native Title over a part of Quinkan Country.