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Rainforest Aboriginal landscape

Rainforest Aboriginal people have occupied, used and enjoyed their lands in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area since time immemorial. There are 18 Aboriginal tribal groups with ongoing traditional connections to land in and around the Area. To Rainforest  Aboriginal people the Area is a series of complex living cultural landscapes. This means that the country and its natural features and resources are central to Rainforest Aboriginal people’s spirituality, culture, social organisation and economic use (see the table below).

Conservation of natural World Heritage values is inextricably linked with that of Aboriginal cultural and spiritual values. The ecosystems of the Wet Tropics region have evolved over thousands of years through active Aboriginal interaction with the land and management of its resources. The participation of Traditional Owners and their cultural knowledge and perspectives of plants, animals and ecological processes creates a special context for conservation management and research of the Area. Activities such as fire management, hunting and gathering, and harvesting of materials for shelter, tools, ceremony or art and craft are essential for the maintenance of Aboriginal culture and have always been integral to the ecology of the Wet Tropics. The table below lists some of these Aboriginal cultural values. It should be noted that many of these values could easily fit into several categories. For instance, hunting can also have spiritual, social and ecological values.

Rainforest Aboriginal Country has its own special section where you can learn all about Rainforest Aboriginal people and their role in World Heritage management.


Spiritual Ecological Social Economic

• creation stories
• sacred sites
• burial grounds
bora grounds
• ceremony
• responsibility for country
• totems

• bush tucker (animals and plants)
• bush medicine
• knowledge of ecological relationships
• fire management
• seasonal calendar

• language
• living areas and camps
• walking tracks
• kinship systems
• clans
• cultural identity
• traditional law

• hunting and gathering
• tools
• food preparation
• shelter building
• harvesting resources
• art and craft



News and Events

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News and Events

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New cassowary rehabilitation centre announced for far north Queensland

New cassowary rehabilitation centre announced for far north Queensland

A privately operated cassowary rehabilitation facility has received approval from the Department of Environment Protection (EHP) to open on the A... READ MORE

Advisory committees to inform Wet Tropics board

Advisory committees to inform Wet Tropics board

Leading experts and industry leaders will play a critical role in protecting one of tropical north Queensland’s most valuable natural resources.... READ MORE

Promoting initiatives that showcase all the Wet Tropics has to offer

Promoting initiatives that showcase all the Wet Tropics has to offer

New partnerships are helping develop sustainable tourism opportunities in the Wet Tropics region.... READ MORE