World Heritage

To qualify for inscription on the World Heritage List, nominated properties must have values that are outstanding and universal. The Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention provide guidance to the World Heritage Committee in deciding which nominations should be included on the List. These guidelines state that nominations should be based on cultural, natural and/or mixed cultural and natural criteria.

Australia’s World Heritage

World heritage sites are places that are important to and belong to everyone, irrespective of where they are located. They have universal value that transcends the value they hold for a particular nation.

These qualities are expressed in the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (the World Heritage Convention).

The World Heritage Convention aims to promote cooperation among nations to protect heritage from around the world that is of such outstanding universal value that its conservation is important for current and future generations.

World Heritage List Australia

  • Great Barrier Reef
  • Kakadu National Park
  • Willandra Lakes Region
  • Lord Howe Island Group
  • Tasmanian Wilderness
  • Gondwana Rainforests of Australia 1
  • Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park 2
  • Wet Tropics of Queensland
  • Shark Bay, Western Australia
  • Fraser Island
  • Australian Fossil Mammal Sites (Riversleigh / Naracoorte)
  • Heard and McDonald Islands
  • Macquarie Island
  • Greater Blue Mountains Area
  • Purnululu National Park
  • Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens
  • Sydney Opera House
  • Australian Convict Sites
  • Ningaloo Coast

Queensland’s Wet Tropics World Heritage

Wet Tropics in the top most irreplaceable Protected Areas on Earth. Of over 173,000 protected areas, the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area is the second most ‘irreplaceable’ natural World Heritage Areas on earth and the sixth most irreplaceable protected area, according to a team of international scientists.

Data on the world’s 173,461 terrestrial protected areas and 21,419 species on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species were analysed to provide advice on improving the effectiveness of the earth’s protected areas in protecting our global biodiversity.

An area’s level of irreplaceability reflects the dependence of wildlife species on that area for survival, with the level of irreplaceability increasing the more a species is restricted to that area.

A high number of species in the Wet Tropics are only found here such as the mahogany glider and our two tree-kangaroo species. These, along with the area’s large number of threatened species such as the southern cassowary and their distinct habitats, contributed to the Wet Tropics’ high score of irreplaceability.

As of 2014 there were 45 World Heritage “sites in danger”, in danger of loosing the values that saw them inscribed on the World Heritage, list in accordance with Article 11 (4) of the Convention.

These included both Natural and Cultural sites.

Listed below are some of these sites

Natural Sites


Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (2009)

Central Affrican Rpublic

Manovo – Gounda St Floris National Park (1997)


Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (2011)


Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (2011)

United States of America

Everglades National Park (2010)


Rainforests of the Atsinanana (2010)


Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (1992)

Cultural Sites


Abu Mena (2011)


Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (2012)
Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (2014)

Jerusalem (Site proposed by Jordan)

Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (1982)

Syrian Arab Republic

Ancient City of Aleppo (2013)
Ancient City of Bosra (2013)
Ancient City of Damascus (2013)
Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (2013)
Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (2013)


Timbuktu (2012)
Tomb of Askia (2012)


Historic Town of Zabid (2000)

© Melissa Clinton 2017