This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the Greater Blue Mountains region being granted World Heritage status by the United Nations. 

As one of only two cities in the world situated within a World Heritage Area - the other being the picturesque town of Banff in Canada - the City of Blue Mountains holds special significance not only within Australia, but around the world.

Sites which are protected under the UNESCO World Heritage List are defined as having ‘cultural and/or natural significance which is so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and to be of importance.. for all humanity'*. 

Inclusion on this list in 2000, put the Greater Blue Mountains area in the company of other world attractions like Mt Everest, the Pyramids of Egypt and the Great Wall of China.

Marking the milestone

Blue Mountains City Council will mark this important milestone from July to December 2020, by celebrating the unique privilege of managing a City within a World Heritage Area.

Over the next six months Council will showcase how we help preserve an area of such special significance, including recognition of Traditional Ownership, protection of the environment and threatened species, water resource management and strategic planning.

By celebrating the important milestone of 20 years as a City within a World Heritage Area, there will be opportunities for the whole community to come together, to learn, share knowledge and celebrate the joy of living in one of the most unique and beautiful places on earth.

Recognition of Traditional Owners

The Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area (WHA) is located within the Country of six first nations being the Darkinjung, Dharawal, Dharug, Gundungurra, Wonnarua and Wiradjuri Traditional Owners. 

The City of the Blue Mountains within the WHA is in the Ngurra (Country) of the Dharug and Gundungurra Traditional Owners who have a continuous and deep relationship with Ngurra since the time of creation. 

For countless generations the Traditional Owners of Country in what is now the WHA sustainably managed and lived in a harmonious balance with the land and waters and all that is within them, with this ensuring the health of the natural environment that in turn underpins the WHA status.   

This Traditional Ownership was never ceded or surrendered and the relationships with and profound care for Country that Dharug and Gundungurra Traditional Owners still hold continues today.

The Council is committed to continue to work with Dharug and Gundungurra Traditional Owners to Care for Country, which contributes to enhancing the values of the WHA. One key way in which the Council work with Gundungurra Traditional Owners to Care for Country is through the Gundungurra Indigenous Land Use Agreement. 

The Council will continue its leadership in working through the Gundungurra ILUA and other similar agreement with Dharug Traditional Owners to Care for Country to support the ongoing values of the WHA.

In consultation with Traditional Owners the Council may also develop an activity which reflects on the critical role that Traditional Owners have held for time beyond measure, and the partnerships with Traditional Owners in managing what is now called the WHA.

*Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, July 2012.