World Heritage Sites of Australia

World Heritage Sites of Australia

The first book to describe and showcase 19 of Australia's World Heritage sites.

From the ancient, pristine temperate rainforests in the south to the massive escarpments and tropical wetlands in the north, Australia's World Heritage sites are dazzling in their ecological complexity and the record they offer of life on this planet and the human experience in Australia.

In the new book World Heritages Sites of Australia (NLA Publishing $49.99), author Peter Valentine provides a fascinating historic and photographic guide to 19 of Australia's World Heritage sites and the role they place in shaping our natural and cultural history. Each of the sites"which include Kakadu National Park, the Great Barrier Reef, Shark Bay, Macquarie Island and the Gondwana Rainforests"are described and illustrated in exquisite detail, along with an account of how the site came to be included on the World Heritage List.

A testament to his decades of involvement in World Heritage, Valentine includes in each chapter a reflection on his observations, involvement with or connection to each site, from a conversation with the late Kakadu Elder Bill Neidjie to diving on the Great Barrier Reef and developing safe protocols for swimming with the whale sharks at the Ningaloo Coast.

With a thoughtful foreword by former minister for the environment, heritage and the arts and Midnight Oil lead singer Peter Garrett, World Heritages Sites of Australia is a celebration of the exceptional contribution Australian sites make to humanity's collective legacy and highlights the need to preserve them for future generations.

Peter Valentine is an adjunct professor at James Cook University, following an academic career in environmental management and conservation. His focus on matters World Heritage began through involvement in Australian tropical rainforest conservation and he subsequently became a member of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas in 1989. He has been intensely involved in natural heritage across Australia and throughout the world for many decades, assisting with the evaluation of nominations; establishing a graduate university program in World Heritage management; participating in the management and evaluation of several World Heritage sites; serving terms as director and chair of the Wet Tropics Management Authority; and serving as a natural heritage expert on the Australian Heritage Council.

World Heritages Sites of Australia
NLA Publishing
Author: Peter Valentine
ISBN: 9780642279422
RRP: $49.99

 

Interview with Peter Valentine

Question: What inspired your passion for Australia's world heritage sites?

Peter Valentine: Once we saw the first photo of our Earth from space it was clear that a global view was essential for our own future. The idea of thinking globally and acting locally is brilliant. World Heritage is about our most outstanding places (and those of every other country also) and we need to work together to achieve permanent protection. That also allows us, and future generations, the opportunity to enjoy these amazing places.


Question: Why are these sites important to preserve?

Peter Valentine: Our Australian World Heritage sites are extraordinary and as the only nation to occupy an entire continent we have significant responsibilities. Because Australia as a continent was isolated for many millions of years during the long drift north from Gondwana, life here is so very different and fascinating. But importantly, Australian Aboriginal people are unique in the long period of their occupation (>60,000 years) and the astonishing culture developed including paintings and rock art.


Question: How did the foreword from Peter Garrett, come about?

Peter Valentine: The head of IUCN's World Commission on Protected Areas, Penny Figgis, suggested Peter Garrett as a highly appropriate person; partly from his work and commitment on conservation in Australia but also for his strong record of support for both nature and culture. I first met Peter Garrett when he was President of the Australian Conservation Foundation and I was a Councillor from Queensland. Later it was Peter (as Minister for the Environment) who appointed me to the Australian Heritage Council. His values and experience make him a perfect choice.


Question: Which of the sites holds the most memories, for you?

Peter Valentine: It is impossible to go favourites when so much is outstanding. I treasure my times in Kakadu, but so too in the Tasmanian Wilderness site. I have had amazing experiences at Ningaloo and also in the Great Barrier Reef. But I suppose the greatest amount and variety of memories comes from the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area – from endemic wildlife, spectacular scenery and the unforgettable rainforest. It's not surprising perhaps that I chose to live there.


Interview by Brooke Hunter

World Heritages Sites of Australia 
NLA Publishing
Author: Peter Valentine
ISBN: 9780642279422 
RRP: $49.99 




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