The Willandra Lakes Region is in the south west of New South Wales. The region is a World Heritage site because it has met two of the ten criteria set for being a World Heritage site. These criteria are:
Criterion (iii): "bears a unique or exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared"
Criterion (viii): "is an outstanding example representing major stages of Earth's history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features"
Who are the owners of this region?
Pastoral stations comprise the majority of the area which can be leased from the State and administered by the NSW Land and Property Management Authority. The remaining land is managed by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service as the Mungo National Park. There are also some small areas of freehold land within the property. Archaeological expertise is ...view middle of the document...
Humans have not only occupy this region 50 000 years ago. Evidence has so far point to human occupation over long periods of time. The latest is just 10 000 years ago.
What species are found in this region?
There were more than 55 species here, 40 have now moved away and 11 of which are extinct. 22 species there are mammals, with bats being the most diverse group. There are a significant amount of reptiles and amphibians, totalling 40 species. Birds in this region are similar to many other semiarid areas of Australia. Of the birds, parrots, cockatoos and finches are the most conspicuous.
How were the lunettes made?
For a period of about 30 000 years, the lakes were full of deep, relatively fresh water. This came to an end about 19 000 years ago. The earliest sediments are more than 50 000 years old, in an orange-red colour. Clean quartz sand and soil above all clays were deposited along the lakes’ edges when they were full. The top layer is composed largely of wind-blown clay particles heaped up on the lunettes during periods of fluctuating water levels, before the lakes finally dried up. That is why most of the lakes are fringed by a lunette on their eastern shore.
Why is the Willandra Lakes Region of environmental importance?
Criterion (iii): When the lakes dried up, it allowed the survival of important evidence on the way the indigenous people interacted with their environment. It shows evidence of the earliest known cremation, fossil trackways, early use of grindstone technology and the exploitation of fresh water resources, proving exceptional testimony of human development during the Pleistocene period.
Criterion (viii): The Willandra Lakes provide insight in the Australian geological environment, with its low topographic relief and low energy systems, its uniqueness in the longevity of the landscapes it preserves, and provides info about the climate and related environmental changes over the last 100 000 years. The region is largely unmodified since its rivers dried out; provide excellent conditions for recording the events of the Pleistocene Epoch, and demonstrate how non-glaciated zones responded to the major glacial-interglacial fluctuations.