Peter Garrett has written the forward for this magnificent book created by Peter Valentine and in it he has stressed how very important it is to understand our history, especially the majestic and awe inspiring natural wonders Australia has in abundance, compared to so many other countries, and the need for the public to keep the Government of the of day, committed to protecting these special and significant locations.
In World Heritage Sites of Australia, Peter Valentine has presented a comprehensive and significant book that details the work carried out by UNESCO, the process of having sites considered in jeopardy listed and the reasons behind the listings put on, and occasionally removed, from locations, buildings and so much more, considered as treasures of the World. Each of the sections also contain his personal perspective and opinion for each of the listed Australian sites.
Visitors to Australia are overwhelmed by the magnificence of the Great Barrier Reef, now endangered by climate change, the wonders of Kakadu National Park, home to the earliest peoples of Australia and still home to their descendants, the stunning, raw, pristine beauty of the Tasmanian Wilderness, the Greater Blue Mountains and the Sydney Opera House, to name just a few of the UNESCO Sites.
We who live here, often take them for granted and therefor, as Garrett says in his Introduction, ‘If there is meagre understanding by current generations of the natural wonders or significant human accomplishments that make up our world, then their fate is uncertain’, which is sadly very true.
Valentine has drawn together the nineteen Australian World Heritage sites listed by UNESCO and with some absolutely superb photography, has captured the very essence of these incredibly special places, perhaps better than the words that accompany them.
In the Kakadu National Park section there is a recorded conversation with Kakadu Elder, the late Bill Neidjie, which brings all the strands of life together as one force, as only the Elders can understand, and as people born ‘on country’ are trying in desperation to pass on, before this too has passed into time.
As the first book to have ever recorded all nineteen of the sites as of 2019, it is a work of love, as well as a work of concern that the wonders of Australia are recorded for all time. It is also a wake-up call to the public of Australia to be informed, to strive to understand the treasures that are the children’s and future generations inheritance and to maintain the pressure on Governments to preserve the real treasure, the vibrant and majestic beauty of Australia.
To the rear of this book there is a section listing Potential New World Heritage Sites in Australia; as if nineteen were not enough, there are now another thirteen more for consideration, and four existing sites seeking potential extensions to those listings.
Thankfully, all is not bleak as Australia and the Australian public have long played a leading role in support of the World Heritage Convention, with suitable legislation being enacted over the years to allow the Australian Government, to operate effectively and within the terms of the UNESCO conventions.
By the end of the book it is to be wondered why it has taken so long to document, in such a stunning and accessible manner, the rich heritage of Australia, but thankfully it has been done, now recording into time so many of Australia’s real treasures.
|Author||Peter Valentine, foreword by Peter Garrett|
|Publisher||National Library of Australia|