Cultural Heritage in the Mackay-Whitsunday-Isaac Region

The Partnership acknowledges the continuing land and sea country management of the Traditional Owner groups within the Mackay-Whitsunday-Isaac region and Great Barrier Reef whose rich cultures, heritage values, enduring connections and shared efforts protect the land and Reef for future generations.

Cultural heritage surveys in the Mackay-Whitsunday-Isaac region are reported by the Partnership every three years, with the 2021 report card (released in 2022) showcasing the latest cultural heritage scores for the Region. The 2021 cultural heritage scores represented the second assessment of Indigenous cultural heritage indicators for the Region’s report card.

The aim of the assessments is to monitor the state of culturally important places and highlight areas requiring maintenance and preservation. The 2021 grades are based on assessments of 17 sites from four zones, which took place on the traditional country of the Juru, Ngaro, Gia, Koinmerburra, Barada, and Widi Peoples in October 2020. 

Site types assessed include shell middens and scatters, rock shelters, paintings, engravings, stone artefacts and resources, and glass artefacts.

Photo credit: Converge

2021 Cultural Heritage Grades


Regional Grade


The 2021 Cultural Heritage Assessments found the most prominent concerns in the MWI region were:

  • Traditional Owners having sufficient access to sites to maintain cultural continuity
  • Development and exploitation of the natural environment.
Read the Executive Summary for more details.

Islands of the



Airlie Beach &



Lake Elphinstone &

Mt Britton


St Lawrence



This assessment was undertaken for the Mackay-Whitsunday-Isaac (MWI) Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership (HR2RP), led by the MWI Traditional Owner Reference Group (TORG) and Converge Heritage Consulting with support provided by Reef Catchments Limited (RCL). 

The Partnership acknowledges the Yuwi people’s native title determination on 25 February 2020. As the Yuwi Aboriginal Corporation was newly formed at the time of the cultural heritage assessments, it was decided not to include Yuwi sites, out of respect for the Native Title Act and to allow for further consultation with the traditional owners of Yuwi Country. The Partnership looks forward to working with the Yuwi Aboriginal Corporation to create engagement opportunities and help support Yuwi people’s aspirations on Country.

For more information on the 20182021 cultural heritage report, please contact us.