We recognise the Traditional Owners of the Queensland section of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage area (Gondwana Rainforests)—the Yugambeh, Yuggera Ugarapul and Githabul peoples—and pay our respects to Elders past and present.
The First Nations peoples of the Gondwana Rainforests have ancient and enduring relationships with these landscapes which are a source of their physical and spiritual cultural practices.
The Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area is a serial, cross-jurisdictional property comprising of the major remaining areas of rainforest in southeast Queensland and northeast New South Wales. The Gondwana Rainforests encompass the Country of many First Nations peoples.
Originally listed in 1986 to cover remnant patches of rainforest in New South Wales, the property was extended in 1994 to include remnant rainforests on the Queensland side of the border. It currently includes parts of 40 protected areas located largely on the Great Dividing Range and eastern escarpment, extending from Main Range National Park in southeast Queensland to Barrington Tops National Park in New South Wales. An estimated two million people a year visit this World Heritage area.
Gondwana is listed for three of the ten World Heritage criteria:
- Outstanding examples representing major stages of earth’s history
- Outstanding examples representing significant on-going geological and biological processes
- Containing the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity.
The property has an entire area of 366,507 hectares, with 59,223 hectares in Queensland—including Lamington, Springbrook, Mount Barney and Main Range national parks. Visit the links to find visitor information including park safety updates.
Discover the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area including Lamington, Springbrook, Mount Barney and Main Range national parks.
View Gondwana's digital story to discover more about the ancient biodiversity of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area.
First Nations partners
The Queensland Government acknowledges that the unique values of the Gondwana Rainforests are a result of First Nations peoples' land management practices and stewardship over countless generations.
First Nations peoples have lived in this area, carefully protecting, managing and using its rich natural resources for thousands of years.
We acknowledge the Yugambeh, Yuggera Ugarapul and Githabul people who have rights and interests over the Queensland section of the property. The department has active partnerships with these groups to care for the area.
Known as ‘Woonoongoora’ in the Yugambeh language, the mountains of Lamington National Park that run through Gondwana, are sacred and spiritual, places to be nurtured and respected.
The Yugambeh family groups are identified as the Wangerriburra, Birinburra, Gugingin, Migunberri, Mununjali, Bollongin, Minjungbal and Kombumerri. They shared language, ceremonies, celebrations and economic exchange.
This kinship group used both the open forest and rainforest. Evidence of their occupation has been found in various parts of the park, including the ‘Kweebani’ (cooking) cave near Binna Burra. It is believed a traditional pathway passed through the southern section of Lamington National Park.
Values of the World Heritage area
The internationally recognised Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area tells us so much about the development of Australia’s landscape, plants and animals. Containing rainforests similar to those that once covered the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana but have now contracted to these isolated pockets on the east coast. These rainforests are biodiversity hot-spots containing a fascinating diversity of plants and animals with species from ancient times as well as those recently evolved.
The Gondwana Rainforests protect many rainforest types including warm temperate, cool temperate, subtropical, littoral and dry rainforests. The World Heritage Area is home to extensive subtropical rainforest and nearly all the world's Antarctic beech cool temperate rainforest, and provides a home for many rare and threatened plants and animals, and ancient life forms.
A full description of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, including the criteria and attributes, can be found on the Australian Government website.
Did you know?
The Gondwana Rainforests provides habitat for more than 200 rare or threatened plant and animal species including Albert’s lyrebird, rufous scrub-bird, and marbled frogmouth. The Hastings River mouse and the parma wallaby, recent rediscoveries, were previously considered to be extinct.
The Gondwana Rainforests is named after the ancient supercontinent Gondwana that existed in the southern hemisphere 500–550 million years ago. Present day Australia is a fragment of this southern land that started to break up 180 million years ago.
The Great Escarpment that runs the length of eastern Australia from Victoria to North Queensland, formed during the break-up of the Gondwana super-continent when ancient seabeds were uplifted to create elevated high country, also known as the Great Dividing Range.
Volcanoes shaped this World Heritage Area. Volcanoes erupted leaving behind the remnants of Main Range, Focal Peak, Tweed, Ebor and Barrington volcanic shields. All lie within the Gondwana Rainforests.
Wollumbin (Mount Warning) is a remnant of the central magma chamber of the ancient, massive, now extinct Tweed Volcano. It is the largest and best example of an erosion caldera in the world.
Management of the World Heritage Area
Management arrangements for Gondwana Rainforests involve the Australian Government, the New South Wales Government and the Queensland Government. The New South Wales and Queensland governments have a cooperative arrangement to coordinate activities across the World Heritage Area to care for and protect this property. The property contains 40 parks and reserves across New South Wales and Queensland. Read more about the New South Wales property.
The properties are managed principally by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (as part of the Queensland Department of Environment and Science (DES)) and the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service (part of the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment), where possible in partnership with First Nations peoples.
Advisory committees for World Heritage areas provide advice to management agencies and State and Australian Government Ministers responsible for World Heritage on matters relating to the identification, protection, conservation, presentation and transmission to future generations, of the cultural and natural heritage. Advisory committees are supported through the department, with funding provided by the Australian Government.
The Gondwana Rainforests previously had two advisory committees: the Community Advisory Committee and the Technical and Scientific Advisory Committee, both of which were hosted primarily by New South Wales.
The Queensland Department of Environment and Science identified the need to enhance the participation of First Nations peoples in the governance and management of the World Heritage property. Consultation was undertaken, including with First Nations peoples with rights and interest in the property, which has informed a new culturally appropriate Queensland specific advisory committee.
The new Queensland Gondwana World Heritage Advisory Committee (Committee) has been formed and includes First Nations representatives, scientists and community members, and an independent Chair.
The Committee will work with land managers to identify key priorities that contribute to the protection and conservation of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area and ensure that cross-jurisdictional coordination occurs to protect the entire Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area for future generations.
The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service is responsible for the day-to-day management of Queensland parks within the Gondwana Rainforests.
If you are interested in joining our mailing list for being informed about future opportunities to be involved in the advisory committees or for any further information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Following each advisory committee meeting , the Chair prepares a Communique which is sent to the Queensland and Commonwealth Ministers responsible for World Heritage matters. Communiques outline high-level discussions and key recommendations of advisory committees.
Communiques for the new Queensland Gondwana World Heritage Advisory Committee will be published when they are available. The following Communiques relate to the former Community Advisory Committee and Technical and Scientific Advisory Committee.
Applications open for new cultural ecotourism funding
Grant funding of up to $275,000 is available to support First Nations cultural tourism within the Gondwana Rainforests World Heritage Area.
Read more and apply by 9 October 2023.