Quandamooka World Heritage Tentative List Submission

Acknowledgement of Country—Quandamooka People

Wunjayi ngali yana Quandamooka Budjongjara

Yura nariba bing wangan, Quandamooka goori baje gahwaligu birran.

Today we walk on Quandamooka Mother Earth

We acknowledge our creator spirit, Quandamooka Elders past and present.

Quandamooka is the ancestral homeland of the Nunagal, Goenbal and Ngugi's peoples, together known as the Quandamooka People, who speak the Jandai, Gower and Munyan dialects which are part of the Yagara language. The Quandamooka People are people of sand and water, having owned and occupied the lands and waters of Quandamooka since time immemorial.

Quandamooka is a word from the Jandai dialect. When Quandamooka People talk about Quandamooka, they talk about land and sea country, which comprises Moreton Bay, Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island), Mulgumpin (Moreton Island), and several smaller islands and adjacent mainland.

Quandamooka Country in Moreton Bay, south east Queensland, is being proposed for a World Heritage listing in recognition of its unique cultural and natural values. World Heritage listing is the highest global recognition of the significance of a place.

Areas of Quandamooka Country being assessed for inclusion on Australia's World Heritage Tentative List include parts of Moreton Bay (near Brisbane), the major islands of Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island), Mulgumpin (Moreton Island) and the surrounding smaller islands.

The Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC) is working in partnership with the Queensland Government and the Australian Government to progress the Quandamooka submission for inclusion on Australia’s World Heritage Tentative List. QYAC represents the Quandamooka People and is leading the submission to ensure it adequately conveys the ancient and living heritage of Quandamooka People, their connection to Country and aspirations for it.

What are the unique values of Quandamooka?

The Quandamooka People, and their ancestors before them, have continuously occupied the lands and seas of Moreton Bay and the sandy bay islands for thousands of years. The archaeological heritage of Moreton Bay and the surrounding islands is an extensive, rich and diverse cultural record, comprising more than 1,000 known sites.

Contemporary cultural knowledge relating to these sites and landscapes remains strong, and is associated with living traditions, ideas and beliefs.

The islands, marine and wetland environments are outstanding natural habitats for the protection of many conservation significant species.

An array of marine and terrestrial wildlife inhabits the area, which is also an important feeding area for migratory wader birds on the East Asia-Australasia Flyway. The marine areas, from shallow lagoon to open sea on the east of the island, are important habitat for a rich diversity of fish, sharks, reptiles and marine mammals of international importance for conservation.

Quandamooka Country is particularly renowned for its significant and stable population of dugong, and for its three areas of the critically endangered Eastern Australia sub-population of grey nurse shark.

How will a World Heritage listing benefit the region?

A World Heritage nomination will further promote and protect outstanding Quandamooka Country examples of natural habitat and wildlife, rich cultural heritage and continuous land and sea management for current and future generations. Specifically, it would further protect:

  • the unique cultural relationship between the Quandamooka People and their country over more than 20,000 years, a total area of 3,200 km² of open and sheltered marine environments
  • the southernmost populations of dugong and a number of coral species
  • the most stable freshwater lake in the world.

World Heritage listing would also provide an opportunity for integrated management of areas that are already under conservation management, as well as increased tourist visitation, revenue and employment opportunities.

World heritage status will not have an impact on any existing lawful uses.

What is the process?

The first step towards World Heritage is to have a place added to the Australian World Heritage Tentative List, which indicates Australia’s future intention to nominate for World Heritage listing.

The tentative listing process for Quandamooka is currently taking place and involves collaborative engagement with stakeholders to ensure the natural, social, economic and cultural values of Quandamooka are carefully considered.