The Burrup Peninsula – Murujuga

The Burrup Peninsula – Murujuga

burrupThe Burrup Peninsula, also known as Murujuga, has one of the largest, if not the largest, collection of engraved rock art (also known as petroglyphs) in the world.

It is estimated that the Burrup Peninsula and the surrounding islands of the Dampier Archipelago may contain up to one million individual motifs. The engravings of the Burrup Peninsula depict a diverse range of motifs, including extinct fauna such as the thylacine, human figures undertaking subsistence and ceremonial activities, and a style of motif known as archaic faces that links the Burrup Peninsula with the Western Desert and beyond.

As well as the numerous engravings, the Burrup Peninsula also contains a range of other heritage values such as standing stones, middens and artefacts scatters, to name a few.

To date, the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH) has a record of more than 2,300 locations on the Burrup Peninsula where these values can be found.


Management, projects  and protection

The Commonwealth Government recognised the significance of large portions of the Burrup Peninsula and the surrounding islands of the Dampier Archipelago by their inclusion on the National Heritage List in July 2007. National Heritage Values are protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

The State Government has declared 44 per cent of the Burrup Peninsula a National Park – Murujuga National Park, the 100th National Park in Western Australia. The park will be jointly managed by Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation and the Department of Environment and Conservation. The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs has appointed a DPLH representative to the Murujuga National Park Management Board.

DPLH identified the Burrup Peninsula as a Priority Heritage Protection project in its 2012-2014 Strategic Framework. The project sought to further record the heritage values of the Burrup Peninsula as well as undertake site management activities and provide training to the Murujuga Rangers.

In 2002, the State Government established the independent Burrup Rock Art Monitoring Management Committee. This committee has since been replaced by the Burrup Rock Art Technical Working Group, which oversees studies that are being conducted to establish whether industrial emissions could affect the petroglyphs. Regular independent monitoring of colour change and spectral mineralogy by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has not identified any impact to the rock art by industrial emissions. DPLH is represented on the Burrup Rock Art Technical Working Group.