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Minister for the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts 2001-2004

The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP



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Joint Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
Federal Member for Cook
Bruce Baird MP

18 May 2004

Kurnell Peninsula national heritage nomination

The Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, today met with the Federal Member for Cook, Mr Bruce Baird, to accept the nomination of the Kurnell Peninsula for inclusion on the National Heritage List.

"The Kurnell area has a wealth of Indigenous, historic and natural values and I welcome the nomination of the area by Mr Baird," Dr Kemp said.

"It is a place that tells us much about our natural heritage, Australia's Indigenous past and the momentous event of European arrival in the late eighteenth century.

"I will be referring the nomination to my independent advisory body, the Australian Heritage Council, for their assessment of the national heritage values."

Mr Baird said many Australians are familiar with the name Kurnell because of Lieutenant, later Captain, James Cook's landing there on 29 April 1770, which led to the establishment of a British colony eighteen years later by Governor Arthur Phillip.

"Kurnell has a collection of memorials commemorating these historic events associated with Cook, the earliest erected in 1822, while a later obelisk dates from 1870. Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander who played such significant roles in this founding period of Australian science are remembered for their important association with the area," Mr Baird said.

"Additionally, there is the monument to Forby Sutherland, the first British subject to die in Australia.

"Kurnell is of great significance to Indigenous people. There is a range of sites relating to Aboriginal life in the area prior to the arrival of Europeans, including carvings, ceremonial sites, middens and stone tools. The Kurnell sand dune has helped to conserve many archaeological sites."

Dr Kemp added the Kurnell area is also botanically significant.

"Banks and Solander collected 83 plant specimens here, many of which are the type specimens of species and genera, including the Banksia genus. The area also contains the best representation of a wetland ecosystem in the Sydney region," Dr Kemp said.

"The wetlands are listed under the Ramsar Convention due to their international significance as a wader habitat. The wetlands are also an important resting place for many migratory bird species in transit."

Assessment of the Kurnell nomination against stringent national heritage criteria will be undertaken by the Australian Heritage Council over the next 12 months. The Council will then advise the Minister whether the place has National Heritage values.

At least two other groups have expressed interest in nominating the Kurnell-Botany Bay area for inclusion on the National Heritage List. Other National Heritage listing nominations currently being assessed include Dampier Archipelago art site area in Western Australia and Port Arthur Historic site in Tasmania.

"The outstanding heritage values of places included on the List will reflect the contribution each place has made to Australia's unique character and national story," Dr Kemp said.

"So important are the values of these places that they will be protected and managed under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999."

For more information on the National Heritage List and nominations, visit or call 1800 020 625.

Commonwealth of Australia