Places as unique and diverse as the wilds of East Africa’s Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America make up our world’s heritage. What makes the concept of World Heritage exceptional is its universal application. World Heritage sites belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. This is embodied in an international treaty called the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972. The Convention defines the kind of natural or cultural sites which can be considered for inscription on the World Heritage List.
The Mount Lofty Ranges World Heritage Bid spans the world-renowned food, wine and tourism regions of the Clare and Barossa Valleys, Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Peninsula. Our bid for UNESCO World Heritage recognition is building the case that the rural landscapes of the Mount Lofty Ranges are an outstanding and continuing expression of our Aboriginal culture, our globally significant colonial history and our exceptional ability to adapt, innovate and evolve with changing nature over time. The bid has a core ambition to deliver real and lasting economic, cultural and environmental benefits regardless of its outcome.
We are pursuing listing for the heritage values associated with a ground-breaking 19th century model of colonisation. South Australia was the first place in Australia to be planned and developed by free settlers without the use of convict labour, and the first place in the world to apply the ‘systematic colonisation’ model developed by Edward Gibbon Wakefield, John Stuart Mill, Jeremy Bentham and members of the British-based ‘National Colonization Society.’ According to Wakefield, it was ‘the first attempt since the time of the ancient Greeks to colonise systematically’.
The region’s links to this unique philosophical movement of universal significance, and the continuing reflection of those original utopian ideals in the contemporary landscape and contemporary land management practice form the basis of the World Heritage bid.