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Friday, November 12, 2010

Tour to Blue Mountains World Heritage

The Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage listing was achieved in 2000. It is time to celebrate a decade of our region being on the world stage. Ten years ago on November 29 the eight interconnected conservation areas in the Greater Blue Mountains region were given an amazing gift by the United Nations — World Heritage status.

It took just a few words from the Blue Mountains Mayor Jim Angel at the dedication ceremony held at Govetts Leap to sum up just how much that gift meant.We are (now) the only city on this planet that is surrounded and enclosed by a World Heritage listed national park.

The reason the Blue Mountains qualified to be just the 14th World Heritage Area in Australia was its rich biodiversity of eucalyptus trees, of which there are more than 92 different species across what is fondly known as the lungs of Sydney — an area extending 220 km from the Southern Highlands to the Hunter Valley, reaching to within 60 km of Australia’s largest metropolis.

The nomination document to the UN, penned by current Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area Advisory Committee chairperson Joan Domicelj with a team of specialists, explained the area represents an extraordinary story of natural antiquity, diversity, beauty and human attachment.

The Greater Blue Mountains has a rich cultural history that is fundamental to the continuing integrity of its natural values, featuring the Darug, Gundungurra, Wanaruah, Wiradjuri, Darkinjung and Tharawal Aboriginal peoples as well as post-European exploration, settlement, walking track and tourism industry development, contributing to the integrity and condition of the area’s natural resources.

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