Western Australia
Place: The Dampier Rock Art Precinct previously referred to as the Burrup Peninsula, located approximately 1550kms north of Perth, near Dampier, in the Shire of Roebourne.
Threat:  Destruction and decay from industrial development


Significance of Place

The Dampier Rock Art Precinct is thought to comprise the largest concentration of petroglyphs (rock carvings) in the world, and the largest collection of standing stones, grinding patches and other stone arrangements in Australia . Created as far back as the last Ice Age, the place is of sacred importance to the traditional owners (the Wong-Goo-Tt-Oo, the Yarubara/Murduhunera and the Ngaluma/ Yindjibarndi peoples). It has the potential to reveal extensive information about the daily life in the Pilbara region, dating back 10, 000 years.


Description of Threat

Destruction of the rock art and other rock features for industrial infrastructure, without reference to a thorough inventory of rock art or singular management plan. A portion of the rock art collection has already been destroyed since industry began operating out of the port at Dampier in the 1960s. The remainder are under threat from industrial emissions, which destroy the rock surface the carvings are etched into. Without the completion of a comprehensive study, and without the completion of the existence of a holistic management plan, the Western Australian government continues to approve new infrastructure ventures—despite the fact that an alternate site exists near by which would be far more suitable for industry.


Action Required

The National Trust of Australia (WA) calls for the creation of a single management plan for the area, to replace the separate, individual management plans currently in place. This new Management Plan must include a complete inventory, a heritage agreement and results from the completion of emission studies. In the meantime, a cautious approach is recommended, to ensure the Dampier Rock Art Precinct is protected for future generations.


The Dampier Rock Art Precinct was first nominated as an Endangered place in 2002, and was the first Australian site entered on the World Monuments Fund’s List of Most Endangered Sites in 2004. The site is currently under consideration for the National Heritage List, and has the potential to be of World Heritage Significance.