Presented by: Jo Kreibich and John Pratt
Review written by Jo Kreibich
The first in a new series looking at UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites was presented jointly by Jo Kreibich and John Pratt. Jo first of all explained the role of UNESCO and the selection of sites worthy of the label World Heritage; members were supplied with a detailed list of the criteria for selection and John pointed out that being on the list did not mean membership ad infinitum. Jo then gave a power point presentation of all the cultural W.H. Sites in Oceania starting firstly with Australia which, being a “young” country, has comparatively fewer man-made offerings than most others. Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building and Sydney’s Opera House along with many penal sites in and around Australia were looked at, plus many more ancient cultural sites such as rock art, sacred places such as Uluru, and evidence of human occupation found in caves and Lake Mungo area in N.S.W. A tour of cultural sites throughout the Pacific Islands included Norfolk Island, Vanuatu, Fiji and Easter Island. New Zealand, as yet, has no designated cultural sites.
In the second half of the show John showed films and slides of incredible Oceania natural World Heritage Sites including our Great Barrier Reef. The underwater filming was superb and made us all realise just how vulnerable the reef is to attack from natural predators such as the Crown of Thorns starfish and human activities. The film included ways that we humans are attacking the problems and hopefully we can save The Reef and prevent it’s threatened removal from the W.H.S listing.
The beautiful areas of Northern Queensland explored included Cairns and the Daintree River, and the Cape Tribulation regions. Northern Territory’s Kakadu and Litchfield Park areas plus Uluru and The Olgas were a must on WHS list and on our audience’s travels in their Ac-cent Chairs. Perhaps the most beautiful of all the sites to our north is the Kimberley with its incredible Bungle Bungles.
Cook’s Tours of the beautiful Pacific Islands including N.Z., Hawaii and the other islands mentioned above re-iterated John’s pleas for the need to protect our planet for future generations and emphasised the great work being done by the World Heritage Site organization, part of UNESCO.
The audience went away with mixed emotions; joy at seeing so many places many of them had been to and apprehension for the future of the Great Barrier Reef. Next month Jo and John will take us to Eastern Europe.