World Heritage Places - Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park - World Heritage values

Northern Territory

World Heritage Values

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park was inscribed on the World Heritage List for natural values in 1987 and subsequently inscribed for cultural values in 1994. The World Heritage criteria against which Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park was listed remain the formal criteria for this property. The World Heritage criteria are periodically revised and the criteria against which the property was listed in 1987 and 1994 are not necessarily identical with the current criteria.

Criteria

Outstanding examples of significant ongoing geological processes

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park includes the monoliths of Uluru and Kata Tjuta which are exceptional examples of tectonic, geochemical and geomorphic processes. The World Heritage values include:

  • Uluru, one of the largest monoliths in the world, which is affected by erosional processes including sheeting of rock parallel to the surface and granular disintegration known as cavernous weathering;
  • tectonic, geochemical and geomorphic processes associated with the inselbergs of Uluru and Kata Tjuta which result in the different composition of these two relatively close outcroppings, their different extent of block tilting and types of erosion, the spalling of the arkose sediments of Uluru and massive 'off loading' of conglomerate at Kata Tjuta.

Contain unique, rare and superlative natural phenomena, formations and features and areas of exceptional natural beauty.

The huge monoliths of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, including one of the largest in the world, which are set in a contrasting sand plain environment provide a landscape of exceptional natural beauty and scenic grandeur. The World Heritage values include:

  • the remarkable and unique natural geological and landform features formed by the huge monoliths of Uluru and Kata Tjuta set in a contrasting sand plain environment;
  • the immense size and structural integrity of Uluru which is emphasised by its sheer, steep sides rising abruptly from the surrounding plain;
  • the relative simplicity of the monolith of Uluru and its contrasts with the many domes of Kata Tjuta; and
  • the exceptional natural beauty of the view fields in which the contrasts and the scenic grandeur of the monoliths create a landscape of outstanding beauty of symbolic importance to both Anangu and European cultures.

Outstanding example of a traditional human settlement or land-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is an outstanding example of the traditional human settlement and land-use known as hunting and gathering. Relatively few contemporary hunting and gathering cultures now exist throughout the world. The World Heritage values include:

  • the continuing cultural landscape of the Anangu Tjukurpa (see note below) that constitutes the landscape of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and which:
    • is an outstanding example of a traditional human type of settlement and land-use, namely hunting and gathering, that dominated the entire Australian continent up to modern times;
    • shows the interactions between humans and their environment;
    • is in large part the outcome of millenia of management using traditional Anangu methods governed by the Tjukurpa*;
    • is one of relatively few places in Australia where landscapes are actively managed by Aboriginal communities on a substantial scale using traditional practices and knowledge that include:
      • particular types of social organisation, ceremonies and rituals which form an adaptation to the fragile and unpredictable ecosystems of the arid landscape;
      • detailed systems of ecological knowledge that closely parallel, yet differ from, the Western scientific classification; and
      • management techniques to conserve biodiversity such as the use of fire and the creation and maintenance of water sources such as wells and rockholes.

Directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is directly and tangibly associated with events, living traditions, ideas and beliefs of outstanding universal significance. The World Heritage values include:

  • the continuing cultural landscape of Uluru and Kata Tjuta National Park which is imbued with the values of creative powers of cultural history through the Tjukurpa and the phenomenon of sacred sites;
  • the associated powerful religious, artistic and cultural qualities of this cultural landscape; and
  • the network of ancestral tracks established during the Tjukurpa in which Uluru and Kata Tjuta are meeting points.

* Note:
The Tjukurpa ('the Law') is an outstanding example of an Indigenous philosophy. It is founded upon a time when heroic beings, who combined the attributes of humans and animals, camped and travelled across the landscape. As they did, they shaped and created the features of the land. The actions of the heroes established the code of behaviour, followed by Anangu today, which regulate all aspects of life, from foraging behaviour and management of the landscape to social relationships and personal identity. It is expressed in verbal narratives, through lengthy inma (song cycles and associated ritual), through art and through the landscape itself. For Anangu the landscape is the narratives, songs and art of the Tjukurpa.