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Video copyright Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is one of the few World Heritage properties listed for both its natural and cultural values. It was first listed in 1987 for two natural criteria:
- an outstanding example representing significant ongoing geological processes, biological evolution and man's interaction with his natural environment, and
- contains unique, rare or superlative natural phenomena, formations or features or areas of exceptional natural beauty, such as superlative examples of most important ecosystems to man, natural features, sweeping vistas covered by natural vegetation and exceptional combinations of natural or cultural elements.
In 1994 Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park then became the second property in the world to be listed as a Cultural Landscape. It was successfully nominated as a World Heritage property under this category because it is:
- a cultural landscape representing the combined work of nature and of man, manifesting the interaction between humankind and its natural environment, and
- an associative landscape having powerful religious, artistic and cultural associations of the natural element.
Anangu and World Heritage
- The listing of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park as a World Heritage Property for its natural and cultural values represents years of work by Anangu to assert their role as custodians of their traditional lands. This international recognition is a significant victory for Anangu as it confirms the validity of Tjukurpa as being the primary tool for looking after country.
The independent International Council for Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) which assessed the cultural values of Uluru - Kata Tjuta National Park for the World Heritage Council gave international recognition of:
- Tjukurpa as a religious philosophy linking Anangu to their environment,
- Anangu culture as an integral part of the landscape,
- Anangu understanding of and interaction with the landscape.
This is one of the reasons Anangu want people to refer to the lands of the park by their traditional names Uluru and Kata Tjuta, not the non-Anangu names given by people from elsewhere.
Benefits for visitors
- The listing of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park ensures the park remains a world class destination for both its cultural and natural heritage. Visitors will continue to have an unique cultural experience at the park and leave knowing that the park is managed according to cultural practices that date back tens of thousands of years.
- Since listing the park as World Heritage annual visitor numbers have risen to over 400,000 visitors in the year 2000. Increased tourism provides regional and national economic benefits. It also presents an ongoing challenge to balance conservation of cultural values and visitor needs.
- The listing of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park as a doubly-listed World Heritage Area is a source of pride for all Australians.
- The World Heritage listings also mean that we all have a responsibility to look after Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park for future generations.