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Fraser Island World Heritage Area

What is a World Heritage area?

World Heritage areas are places listed under the World Heritage Convention that have cultural or natural values of such importance that they are recognised as sites of heritage for all people of the world.

The World Heritage Convention (adopted by General Assembly of UNESCO in 1972) promotes cooperation among nations, in order to identify and protect these World Heritage sites for current and future generations. Australia was one of the first countries to ratify the convention in 1974. As of 2011, there are 19 Australian properties on the World Heritage List.

Other examples of places on the World Heritage List include the Grand Canyon, Stonehenge, Egyptian Pyramids, parts of the Amazon and the Great Wall of China.

Why was Fraser Island listed as a World Heritage area?

Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island—a giant sandmass 123 km long and 25 km at its widest point. It was World Heritage-listed in 1992. Under the provisions of the World Heritage Convention, all of Fraser Island was given World Heritage status because it satisfied the following three selection criteria:

Superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance.

The island includes over 250 km of sandy beaches with long uninterrupted sweeps of ocean beach, more than 40 km of strikingly coloured sand cliffs, as well as spectacular dune blowouts, tall rainforests on sand, dune lakes and a mosaic of landscapes.

Outstanding examples which represent major stages of earth’s history, including the record of life, significant ongoing geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features.

Fraser Island has still-evolving, complex coastal dune formations and an array of dunes and dune lakes, exceptional in number, diversity and age. These features provide evidence of dynamic and developmental stages in soil development, plant succession and retrogression.

Outstanding examples representing significant ongoing ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals.

This includes rainforest growing on tall sand dunes, species of flora and fauna adapted to nutrient poor acidic sands of the island, acid frogs and the diversity of plant and animal species.

How is the Fraser Island World Heritage Area managed?

Day-to-day management and protection of the World Heritage property is carried out by the Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing’s (NPSR) Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS), under the provisions of the Nature Conservation Act 1992, the Recreation Area Management Act 2006, the Marine Parks Act 2004 and the Sustainable Planning Act 2009.

Australia’s World Heritage properties are also protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). World Heritage properties are recognised as a matter of national environmental significance under the EPBC Act’s assessment and approval provisions.

Fraser Island World Heritage Area advisory committees

There are three Fraser Island World Heritage Area (FIWHA) advisory committees (PDF, 18K)*.

These are:

  • the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC)
  • the Community Advisory Committee (CAC)
  • the Indigenous Advisory Committee (IAC).

These committees, funded by the Australian Government, provide Indigenous, community and scientific advice to the State of Queensland and Australian Governments on protection and management of Fraser Island's World Heritage values. The Fraser Island World Heritage Area Management Committee is responsible for coordinating the work of the Community, Indigenous and Scientific advisory committees.

For further information, please contact world.heritage@ehp.qld.gov.au

More information

More information on visiting Fraser Island (Great Sandy National Park) is available.

Safety information about dingoes on Fraser Island

Also see About Fraser Island dingoes 

Dingo management on Fraser Island

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Last updated
12 March 2015