South Australia’s iconic Flinders Ranges could be on track to become the nation’s next Unesco World Heritage Site.
A nomination has been submitted by the Federal Government on behalf of the South Australian Government and the area’s Traditional Owners, the Adnyamathanha People, who have been custodians of the land for tens of thousands of years.
The Flinders Ranges forms the largest mountain range in SA and begins about 200km north of Adelaide. It stretches for more than 430km, starting at the lead-smelting city of Port Pirie and going through to Lake Callabonna, a dry salt lake in the Far North of the state.
Outstanding beauty and exceptional scientific values
Its best-known landmark is Wilpena Pound – a large sickle-shaped natural amphitheatre that covers 80 square km and contains the range’s highest peak, St Mary Peak, which is 1,171m in height.
“The Flinders Ranges is known for its outstanding aesthetic beauty, diverse landscapes, rich biodiversity and exceptional scientific values,” Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley, said.
“It is also considered to be a window into a major stage in Earth’s history known as the ‘dawn of animal life’, a geological record of wildly fluctuating climate conditions and environments over a period of 350 million years.”
The minister said the nomination follows extensive consultation with the Traditional Owners, local communities, scientific experts and other stakeholders with an interest in preserving the rich array of cultural sites and historical features scattered across the ranges.
Ranges could join likes of Uluru and the Barrier Reef
“This nomination recognises the significance of the region and, if accepted, will place the ranges among our nation’s most treasured locations such as the Great Barrier Reef, the Greater Blue Mountains and Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park,” Ley stated.
David Speirs, the Federal Minister for Environment and Water, said achieving World Heritage status requires a place to be aligned with very specific criteria and strong evidence that the values being nominated are unique and not replicated anywhere else in the world.
“This tentative listing provides us with an opportunity to celebrate and share this unique part of South Australia on a global scale,” he noted.
Tentative listing is the first step towards the World Heritage nomination process, with sites needing to spend at least 12 months on the Tentative list before being further considered. To be included on the Unesco list, sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one of 10 selection criteria.