The Culture and History of Kakadu National Park

Located in Australia’s Norther Territory, the Kakadu National Park is a sprawling nature reserve that boasts a collection of diverse and beautiful landscapes. Visitors can immerse themselves in a series of wetlands, rivers, and ancient sandstone escarpments in a region that’s rich in both stunning views and a fascinating heritage.

As well as more than 2,000 different plant species and a selection of native wildlife species, from saltwater crocs to turtles and vibrant birds, there is a massive amount of history and culture to soak up in the grounds of the park. Centuries-old rock paintings adorn some of the soaring sandstone cliffs, particularly in spots like Nourlangie, Nanguluwur, and Ubirr.

Elsewhere, the living cultural landscape of Kakadu is still fully functioning today, with generations of Bininj and Mungguy having lived and prospered on the surrounding lands for thousands of years. Because of this, there is also a huge spiritual side to Kakadu which honours one of the longest-surviving societies on earth.

The History of Kakadu

The Kakadu National Park was first suggested back in 1965 when Australians were increasingly declaring patches of natural land as national parks for conservation. Talks with the local Aboriginal people continued for over a decade after the initial announcement and, during this time, the name Kakadu was suggested as a nod towards the ancient Aboriginal language that was predominantly spoken throughout the park.

In 1975, the park was listed under the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1975 and, more recently in 2013, a culturally-rich splash of woodland called Koongarra was added to the park.

The Culture of Kakadu National Park

A group of Aboriginal people known as the Bininj reside in the northern parts of the park, and another group known as Mungguy to the south. Many of the Indigenous people live in the towns peppered throughout Kakadu, while others live in remote areas of the park itself amongst the natural scenery.

The local people of Kakadu have always been linked to the land, and caring for the scenery and its wildlife is an integral part of daily life. As well as this, art, ceremonies, language, and kinship are all responsibilities and traditions brought down from generation to generation since what is known as the Creation Time.

Visiting the Kakadu National Park isn’t just a feast for the eyes – sure, the scenery is beautiful and there is plenty of wildlife to keep an eye out for, but there is also a whole lot of history and culture imbued in the forests, wetlands, and ancient escarpments that dates back thousands and thousands of years.