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World Heritage Exhibition Centre
Greater Blue Mountains
We acknowledge and pay our respects to the Aboriginal people and associated clans of the Darkinjung, Darug, Dharawal, Gundungurra, Wanaruah and Wiradjuri Language Groups as the traditional custodians of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.
The World Heritage Exhibition Centre at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden was launched on 24 July 2010. It features sweeping panoramic views of the Greater Blue Mountains Area and is surrounded by a world class collection of plants. The awe inspiring vista from the Centre creates a transcendental aura, transporting the visitor into another realm where the area’s history, flora, rare plants, geography and animals rule.
Former Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Director Rob Smith says 'this beautiful and sustainable new building provides a space where kids from 4 to 94 can play in a virtual world of canyons, touch diverse forms of gum trees, wander through a slot canyon without getting their feet wet, and in a full surround sound theatre experience a journey through the gigantic cliffs of the 1000 hectares of wilderness and National Park landscapes that make up the World Heritage Area.'
They can also get close to Silurian fossils from Jenolan caves or see fantastic ceramic gumnuts from Blue Mountains Artist Heather Jones. Mr Smith said 'The Centre gives the botanic garden visitor a 21st Century journey through these ancient landscapes as the world class Blue Mountains Botanic Garden becomes a focal centre for the surrounding seven National Parks and the Jenolan Caves Karst Reserve.'
The World Heritage Exhibition Centre is an extraordinary place. The vast natural landscape all around you encompasses eight national parks and reserves, six Aboriginal language groups and over a million hectares of sandstone plateaus, escarpments and gorges. The area is dominated by temperate eucalypt forests that date back about 60 million years. Scattered with Dreaming and rock art sites and remnants of colonial exploration, much of the wilderness remains isolated and this ancient area is conserving whole ecosystems with unique biodiversity. After a history of continuous care by Aboriginal people and years of campaigning for its recognition by conservation groups, individuals and governments, this Area’s significance was formally acknowledged by its inscription in the World Heritage List on 29 November 2000.
World Heritage Listing
It is the outstanding diversity of eucalypts and their abundance across the landscape that gained World Heritage listing for the Greater Blue Mountains. Australia has existed as an island continent for at least 35 million years. During this time, eucalypts have evolved and adapted to occupy a wide range of habitats from tall moist forests, to mallee heathlands and even deserts. There are over 100 species (14 per cent of the world’s eucalypts) in the Greater Blue Mountains, 12 of which occur only in the Sydney sandstone region.
World Heritage listing protects the rich biodiversity associated with this area. There are over 70 different vegetation communities, more than 1500 species of plants and an outstanding representation of Australia’s fauna. At least 52 native mammals, 265 birds (33 per cent of the Australian total), 63 reptiles, 30 frogs and species of global significance such as the platypus and the echidna are found here.
It’s hard to account for all the invertebrates but the area includes 125 butterflies, about 4000 moth species and 67 cave invertebrates (found at Jenolan Caves).
There are 127 plants of conservation significance and 52 endemic rare or threatened animals highlighted in the strategic plan for this World Heritage Area. Some of these species such as the Wollemi Pine and the dwarf Blue Mountains Pine have remained virtually unchanged in appearance for many millions of years and today survive only in highly restricted, often wet, habitats. These species are connections with Australia’s distant past - before it was an island continent - when it was part of a larger landmass called Gondwana.
On display at the Centre