Next Stand Up for the Burrup 2nd December.
Coalition for World Heritage Listing for the Murujuga/Dampier Archipelago Rock Art Precinct
P. O Box 2529. Port Lincoln SA
5606 0432 618296 firstname.lastname@example.org
This will serve to introduce the Coalition for World Heritage Listing for the Murujuga/Dampier Archipelago Rock Art Precinct.
We are a coalition of traditional elders and supporters in the wider community, formed in March 2012, with the objective of securing the Australian government’s nomination of the Murujuga/Dampier (‘Burrup’) rock art in NW Australia to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Murujuga/the Dampier Archipelago (‘the Burrup’)
Murujuga/the Dampier Archipelago, 1550 km north of Perth on the Pilbara Coast, is the world’s oldest and largest (most dense) petroglyph precinct. The estimated 1-2 m petroglyphs on the 42 islands (including the so-called Burrup Peninsula) include engravings of the fat-tailed kangaroo, extinct for 40-45,000 years, and the thylacine, extinct on the mainland for 3-3,500 years. Archaeologists estimate the oldest art to be at least 30,000 years old.
Murujuga is a Ngarda Ngarli peoples’ sacred site, and by traditional Lore much of the art is not be viewed by the uninitiated. Wilfred Hicks, spokesperson for Tim Douglas, Senor LawMan for the West Pilbara, has authorised publication of a limited number of images (attached).
Since the Port of Dampier’s construction in the mid-‘60s, the Burrup has been used to site two LNG plants, two further ports, the world’s biggest salt production facility, a fertiliser plant, a quarry, and other industrial facilities. Up to 25% of the pre-Ice Age sacred art has been destroyed.
More industrialisation is proposed, including a port on West Intercourse Island, just south of Dampier, home of the second largest number of pre-Ice Age engravings after the Burrup.
UNESCO World Heritage Listing
The world’s oldest and most extensive pre-Ice Age rock art landscapes should be protected by the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Australia’s nomination of the Dampier Archipelago to UNESCO has been called for by the New York-based World Monuments Fund, the International Federation of Rock Organisations, the National Trust of Australia, and other heritage and conservation organisations along with leading Australians including former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser. WA Premier Colin Barnett, when in Opposition, described World Heritage Listing for the Burrup as ‘inevitable’.
In July 2007, former Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull entered most of the Burrup and all the Archipelago’s other 41 islands on the National Heritage Register (while excising land for Woodside’s Pluto LNG plant, with the loss of more than 1000 petroglyphs). National Heritage Listing has however proved ineffectual in protecting the rock art, and the WA government yet to proclaim a National Park.
UNESCO World Heritage Listing cannot remove all threats to the rock art, particularly the long-term effects of acid rain deposits from the LNG plants’ flares. It does however impose upon the Australian government special duties to protect the art, and allows international monitors to inquire into and report on threats to it.
UNESCO World Heritage Listing is the highest level of legal protection available, and that is why we campaign for it.
Ngarda Ngarli peoples, the wider Australian community, and the world cannot afford to lose any more of the earliest evidence of humanity’s adaption to changing environments and sense of the sacred.
The Global Stand Up for the Burrup campaign
On 20 December 2006, a group of us organised at Perth’s Wesley Uniting Church the first of the Global ‘Stand Up for the Burrup’ photo-shoot actions. The campaign involves people literally Standing Up for the Burrup – wearing t-shirts or carrying placards that spell out our message.
On 20 December 2008, exactly 2 years later, at the same place, the writer chaired the 200th Global Stand Up for the Burrup action, with simultaneous actions at the Sphinx and Great Pyramids at Giza, the Louvre, and Nantes Cathedral.
In the intervening period, actions had been held in in every Australian State and mainland Territory, in 42 counties and on every continent except Antarctica (but we got close, on board the Sea Shepard Conservation Society’s ‘Steve Irwin’).
On 17 May this year, Elder Wilfred Hicks through our Stand Up for the Burrup Facebook page called for a second global campaign. On 1 June, the campaign was launched at the Melbourne Reconciliation Week concert by Bunna Lawrie, Mirning Elder and National NAIDOC Lifetime Achievement Award 2012 recipient.
Since 1 June, supporters have held more than 130 Stand Up for the Burrup photo-shoots actions, in every Australian capital city except Hobart, and in country towns and regional centres from Cairns to Margaret River, from the Illawarra to Broome, from the Barossa Valley to Bourke. Internationally, photo-shoots actions have been held in Spain, Malta, Italy, the USA, Isle of Wight, England, the Netherlands, Estonia, Bali, France, and Germany. A genuine grassroots national mass movement has formed and is growing, with strong international support.
Our next action, on 2 December 2021, calls for actions at 100 UNESCO World Heritage sites on one day. We are confident of reaching that target.
We send the images and messages from these actions to politicians in Canberra and Perth, media representatives, corporate executives and other decision makers and opinion formers. They also create media opportunities for our spokespersons and expert commentators.
Australian Heritage Council Final Report confirms UNESCO eligibility
On 27 May, the Australian Heritage Council, chaired by Dr Carmen Lawrence, presented its Final Report on the Dampier Archipelago to Australian Environment Minister Tony Burke.
The Final Report, which confirms that the Dampier rock art meets UNESCO’s Outstanding Universal Values criteria for World Heritage Listing, is attached. This timely report means that to oppose UNESCO World Heritage Listing the Australian government must argue against the advice of its own expert body – a position it cannot credibly defend.
UNESCO World Heritage Listing can be won
The timing is right for a renewed campaign. The Australian Greens have campaigned on the Burrup World Heritage issue and have balance of power in the Senate and House of Representatives. While the ALP is in office in Canberra (likely to be until mid to late 2013), the Greens have power to demand and win it. Our task is create the climate in which is it is possible.
WA Premier Colin Barnett, while formally opposing World Heritage Listing, supported it in Opposition and publicly acknowledged it as ‘inevitable’.
Former Howard Environment Minister David Kemp supported World Heritage Listing, as has former WA Premier Carmen Lawrence.
Our main opponents, Woodside and the WA Department of Industry and Resources, are not powerful enough to resist a strong national and international campaign that attracts support from across the political spectrum.
We can win, but we must do so by mid-2013. If we don’t effectively mobilise community, media, and political support by then, it will take several more years. By then, more irreplaceable world heritage pre-Ice Age art, the spiritual and cultural heritage of Ngarda Ngarli peoples, will be lost forever.
Artists for the Burrup – Julie Dowling fine art
Internationally acclaimed artist Julie Dowling of the Bademia Sovereign Nation in central Western Australia has kindly donated 27 artworks to support the campaign for UNESCO World Heritage Listing for the Burrup.
The artworks are mixed media collages: portraits in pastels, oil pastels, and mono-prints, some in gold paint, contrasted with found images from contemporaneous and later European culture.
A number of the pieces are portraits of Indigenous people named from the ‘Alias List’ maintained by the Western Australian government.
From the 1870s to the 1950s, the Western Australian government compelled station owners, police, native welfare officers, and clergy of all denominations to report to the Chief Protector of Aborigines the aliases (non-tribal names, usually given by station owners) and locations of Indigenous people.
The Alias List served eugenicist and surveillance purposes, principally to remove children from their parents and to punish LawMen who practiced and taught traditional Lore and Culture. Many of Julie Dowling’s family members are on the Western Australian government’s Alias List
Julie Dowling’s kind donation makes it possible for the Coalition for World Heritage Listing for the Murujuga/Dampier Archipelago Rock Art Precinct, through the Global Stand Up for the Burrup campaign, to achieve its objective.
We are now offering these highly collectible artworks for sale. In order to further assist the cause, Julie has priced them at below market value. The artworks, which vary in price between $1000 and $4000, may be viewed in the attached file.
The file also shows Julie’s work-in-progress for a triptych about Murujuga and Ngarda Ngarli people that Julie is also generously donating to the cause.
If you are interested in purchasing some Julie’s art, will you please let us know by emailing us murujuga2012 @gmail.com or calling the writer on 0432 618 296? If you know other people who may be interested, will you please forward this email and attachments to them?
Kind regards Mark Lawrence LL.B., B.Lab.St, Secretary,
for Wilfred Hicks, spokesperson for Tim Douglas, Senior LawMan for the West Pilbara, Chairperson Coalition for World Heritage Listing for the Murujuga/Dampier Archipelago Rock Art Precinct.