Name: Willandra Lakes Region
Location: Approximately 120 kilometres north of Balranald (partially contained in Wentworth Shire)
Use: Former Lakes System
Constructed: 0
Demolished: 0
Theme: Landscape
Endorsements: World Heritage Listing; Registered Item of the National Estate, National Parks and Wildlife Aboriginal Relic Register

Statement of Heritage Significance:

The Lakes System, a remnant of the Lachlan River drainage pattern is approximately 150 kilometres long and 40 kilometres wide and runs generally in a north south direction from Lake Muluru in the north to the Prungle Lakes in the south. Parallel to the eastern shores, white sand and clay lunettes rise 40 metres above the plain, while deep gullies have been cut through the lake shore deposits. The landscape surrounding the system is one of low parallel ridges of fine red sand. The extensive flat plains of lake floors preserve evidence of their final saline phase in the stunted blue bush and salt bush.

Aboriginal occupation of the area is thought to be 40,000 years old. A cremation dated 26,000 BP is the oldest cremation in the world. A male in humated burial dated approximately 30,000 BP had been thickly dusted with ochre. The use of ochre parallels with use in upper paleolithic France. Due to alkaline sediments, shell, bone and fish otholiths and stone tools are preserved well. Research on the former lake shores of Mungo, Arumpo, Leaghur and Garnpang have provided data amongst the oldest in the world. Stone artifacts from Lake Mungo serve as a type assemblage for “The Australian Core and Scraper Tradition”. There are 8 middens, 6 burial and 70 open sites in the area.

Conservation by inclusion in the Local Environmental Plan as being environmentally sensitive.

National Estate Register

Recording Date: 20/11/1987

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