The Foundation's Contribution to Mungo

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The Founation's Involvement in Mungo's History

  • 1979
Mungo National Park. Photo: Leonie Gale.
Mungo National Park. Photo: Leonie Gale.

The Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife acquired Mungo National Park for Australia's National Reserve System in 1979. As the oldest known site of human occupation in Australia, this new park was one of the most exciting and important archaeological developments in Australia's history.

The Foundation's raised funds through the 1978-79 appeal to purchase the 15,700 hectare park. Members of the public, business groups, government bodies and other income sources all contributed to the required $101,000 needed to acquire the land. Generous donations ensured the protection of the unique landforms, cultural and environmental heritage and archaeological sites within Mungo.

  • 1979-1983

During the period of 1979 to 1983, the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife supplied over $108,000 in funds for an archaeologist to take up residence at Mungo to continue investigations into the history of Mungo Man.

  • 1983

In 1983, Australian entrepreneur and philanthropist Dick Smith provided a gift to the Foundation of $25,000. This gift helped the Foundation fund the creation of the Mungo Visitors Centre and Laboratory.

  • 1990

In 1990, BHP provided funds to the Foundation to complete the Lake Mungo guided vehicle drive. It was approximately 60 km long and traversed the eastern area of the park. The specifically designed tour took visitors through the full range of natural features preserved within the park, including the salt tolerant plant communities on the dry bed of the lake, the lunette Walls of China, and the Mallee, Belah and Rosewood communities surrounding the lake. This cost $31,000.

  • 1994-1995

During these years the Foundation committed $4,000 in funds to publicise the Mungo National Park facilities, features and history to the general public.

  • 2010 onward

The Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife remains committed to preserving the natural and cultural heritage of the valuable Mungo National Park. 

The site of the proposed Knowledge Centre at Mungo.

The Foundation is preparing a prospectus to fund the building of an Australian Indigenous Knowledge and Research Centre to serve as a visitor centre, meeting place, "keeping place" for skeletal remains of Mungo Man and Lady and artefacts, research centre and repository of archaeological research records from five key researchers.

The centre would showcase the values that make Willandra Lakes a World Heritage site. It would also make accessible to the world the artefacts, research and living culture of the area in its most appropriate location. Glenn Murcutt AO, Australia’s only Pritzker Prize winning architect and his wife Wendy Lewin have agreed to take on the commission for the building should the opportunity arise.

Willandra Lakes was World Heritage Listed in May 2007 for its natural and cultural heritage, particularly the lunette site, evidence of one of the oldest living cultures in the world and geological landforms showing climate changes over the past 50,000 years. A recent discovery has revealed that the longest fossil trackway in the world is in Mungo National Park.

At the moment, access to the site is restricted. The Mungo Centre aims to provide interpretation, video and replicas of the trackway, as well as access to historic data and material for research.