Murujuga National Park

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Place Category: WA and National Parks WA

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  • Murujuga has the distinction of being the 100th National Park declared in Western Australia. It hosts the largest concentration of rock art in the world.

    Murujuga is vested with the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation (MAC) comprising traditional custodians the Ngarluma-Yindjibarndi, the Yaburara-Mardudhunera and the Woon-goo-tt-oo. The land is leased back to the WA State Government as national park, and is jointly managed by the representatives of MAC and the Department of Parks and Wildlife. The recognition of ongoing Aboriginal interests and responsibilities for managing country is at the core of this innovative and inclusive approach.

    The park lies within a larger National Heritage Listed place, created in July 2007 over the Burrup Peninsula and the Dampier Archipelago. The area contains one of the densest concentrations of rock engravings in Australia with some sites containing thousands or tens of thousands of images. The rock engravings comprise images of avian, marine and terrestrial fauna, schematised human figures, figures with mixed human and animal characteristics and geometric designs. At a national level it has an exceptionally diverse and dynamic range of schematised human figures some of which are arranged in complex scenes. The fine execution and dynamic nature of the engravings, particularly some of the composite panels, exhibit a degree of creativity that is unusual in Australian rock engravings.

    The rock art not only tells the story of human habitation, dating back to when the land was some 100 kilometres inland from the sea, but it also records the lore for Aboriginal people to the north western tip of Australia, south past Carnarvon and east as far as Alice Springs. Therefore the rock art has deep meaning for the local Aboriginal people. The rock art itself is a record of the sea levels rising over time, depicting extinct land animals and then sea animals as the local Aboriginal population adapted to the changing land.

    The park’s extensive rock art and associated archaeological materials include shell middens, stone artifact scatters, quarries, stone arrangements, ceremonial and mythological sites, graves and petroglyphs.

    The park lies at the western edge of the semi-arid tropical Pilbara region within Australia’s arid zone. From May to November the weather is fine, warm and dry. December to March is hot with some relief provided by ocean winds, and rainfall associated with tropical lows, cyclones and scattered thunderstorms. July is the coolest month with average minimum temperature of 13° and maximum of 26°.

    The park is ecologically and biologically diverse. Major landforms and habitats within the park include steep scree-strewn granophyres and gabbro hills, narrow valleys, sandy and rocky shores, mangroves, mudflats and sea cliffs. The rock piles are important for providing refuge to fire sensitive plants.

    Over 14 native ground mammal species, at least 14 species of bats, 58 reptile and two frog species are recorded from the area. Notable species include the Pilbara olive python, Rothschild’s rock wallaby and a number of shorebirds protected under international agreements.

    Getting there

    Leave the Dampier Road and turn onto the Burrup Peninsula Road. The national park is located on the right hand side of the road and includes the hills surrounding Hearson Cove. Hearson Cove itself is not a part of the national park.

    Continue along the Burrup Peninsula Road. Turn right onto the road to Withnell Bay. The national park lies north and east of Withnell Bay.

    From Withnell Bay onward the track is rough and suitable for walking, mountain bikes or high-clearance four wheel drives only. Stay on existing tracks.

    We acknowledge the Ngarluma-Yindjibarndi, the Yaburara-Mardudhunera and the Woon-goo-tt-oo people as the Traditional Custodians of Murujuga National Park.

    – See more at: http://parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/park/murujuga#sthash.dWprY8u7.dpuf

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