New national park plan to protect Waanyi culture

07 June 2022

Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Youth Affairs

The Honourable Meaghan Scanlon


One of Queensland’s most iconic national parks will be jointly-managed by the Waanyi People and QPWS to ensure the traditional knowledge of the area’s First Nations peoples will be protected and shared for future generations, while also creating new economic, job and training opportunities.


Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said the Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park management plan, launched today (7 June) with a special celebration at Parliament House in Brisbane, takes a cooperative approach to national park management that incorporates the important cultural knowledge of the Waanyi Peoples. 


“Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park is the heart of Waanyi Country, in the north-west highlands of western Queensland and features spectacular gorges, sandstone ranges and World Heritage fossils,” Minister Scanlon said.


“The Waanyi People have lived in the area for thousands of years and have developed a rich, strong connection to the area through their Dreamings, skins and customs.


“The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) and the Waanyi People have worked together to co-design a plan that will protect Boodjamulla’s key natural and cultural features, whilst providing visitors with a memorable experience.


“It’s about sharing and protecting Waanyi culture, but also unlocking new opportunities for the Waanyi People through sustainable tourism, conservation projects and park management.


“The national park is home to the World Heritage Riversleigh fossil deposit and consists of three significant ecosystems that provide habitat for rare and threatened species.


“Lawn Hill Gorge, with its sandstone cliffs and emerald waters, is a stunning oasis in the outback that attracts an abundance of wildlife and thousands of tourists every year.”


Waanyi Lore Man and chairman of the Waanyi Prescribed Body Corporate Alec Doomadgee said his People had occupied Boodjamulla for thousands of years and it was integral to their culture and Country.


“This Management Plan recognises the integral historical and future role of Waanyi in the park management,” Mr Doomadgee said.


“In partnership with QPWS, Waanyi People look forward to building on the awareness of Boodjamulla and enhancing visitor knowledge and experience on Waanyi Country.”


Ms Scanlon said co-design of the management plan started nearly two years ago and involved a range of experts and dedicated individuals.


“The plan identifies a number of opportunities and challenges that QPWS and the Waanyi People would focus on managing over the next 10 years,” she said.


“This includes protecting Waanyi cultural sites, managing fire for conservation outcomes, controlling pest plants and animals, and sustainably enhancing the experiences provided for domestic and international visitors.


“With such a significant number of cultural, natural and social values, Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park is considered one of Queensland’s top 10 iconic parks, alongside the Whitsunday Islands, Great Barrier Reef, Daintree, Carnarvon and Lamington national parks.”


The management plan was developed using a values-based management framework that is based on international standards and best practice, and identifies eight key values:


Waanyi Culture – Waanyi lore, custom and heritage

Riversleigh’s fossil deposits

freshwater systems

mixed shrubby woodlands on limestone

lancewood communities

sandstone spinifex communities

tussock grasslands

eco-tourism and visitor experience


Lawn Hill Gorge was first gazetted as national park in December 1984. Prior to this, it was part of a significant cattle grazing property known as Lawn Hill Station.


The park was extended in March 1992 to include the Riversleigh World Heritage Site which is one of the most significant fossil deposits in the world, and the richest known fossil mammal deposit in Australia.


The Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park management plan is available here.


More information on the national park can be viewed at: Lawn Hill Gorge, Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park




Media contact: Francis Dela Cruz - 0420 592 078