Our land has a big story. Sometimes we tell a little bit at a time. Come and hear our stories, see our land. A little bit might stay in your hearts. If you want more, you come back. Jacob Nayinggul - Manilakarr clan.
Located 240 kilometres east of Darwin in Australia’s tropical north, Kakadu is one of the largest national parks in Australia. Kakadu covers almost 20,000 square kilometres and is a place of enormous ecological and biological diversity. It extends from the coast and estuaries in the north through floodplains, billabongs and lowlands to rocky ridges and stone country in the south. These landscapes are home to a range of rare and endemic plants and animals, including more than one-third of Australia's bird species and one-quarter of its freshwater and estuarine fish species.
Kakadu is considered a living cultural landscape. The traditional owners Bininj Mungguy have lived on and cared for this country for more than 50,000 years. Their deep spiritual connection to the land dates back to the Creation and has always been an important part of the Kakadu story.
World Heritage listing
The extraordinary natural beauty and ancient cultural heritage of this land was recognised internationally in 1981 when it was first inscribed on the World Heritage list. Further land was added to the listing in 1987 and 1992. In 2011, the Koongarra land, which had previously been excluded from the listing because of its potential uranium resources, was added to the Kakadu World Heritage Area following decades of lobbying by Koongarra's senior custodian Jeffrey Lee. The land is now part of Kakadu National Park, protecting its significant cultural and heritage values for future generations.
Today, the World Heritage-listed park remains well protected by a board of management, which has an Aboriginal majority representing the traditional owners. This arrangement showcases to the world how 'joint management' can combine ancient culture and modern practice.