World Heritage National Park

Kakadu is Australia’s largest National Park and is one of only a handful of World Heritage properties registered for both natural and cultural values.

The World Heritage criteria for which Kakadu are listed are as follows (note that phrasing of the criteria has been amended since the adoption of the Convention in 1972). Kakadu is incribed under two of the cultural criteria and four of the natural criteria.

  • To represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;
  • To be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance.
  • To contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance;
  • To be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals;
  • To contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.

Kakadu is one of three World Heritage properties with uranium mining. This distinction is shared with the Grand Canyon in Arizona and Selous National Park in Tanzania. The old uranium mines in the Grand Canyon continue to leech radioactive contaminants into the land and rivers of the region. In 2012 World Heritage meeting in St Petersberg saw the World Heritage Committee shamefully alter the boundaries of the World Heritage area to permit a new uranium mine.

There are two other World Heritage sites which represent an end use of uranium. The Hiroshima Peace Dome (Genbaku Dome) was inscribed in 1996 and the Bikini Atoll Nuclear Test Site in the Marshall Islands in 2010. The latter sustained 67 nuclear explosions between 1946 and 1958 with a total explosive impact 7000 times that of Hiroshima.