Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation (MAC) is made up of members from five traditional Aboriginal peoples: the Ngarluma, the Mardudhunera, the Yaburara, the Yindjibarndi, and the Wong-Goo-Tt-Oo. MAC’s mission is to preserve and protect our land, heritage and culture while transforming the lives of our community. MAC recognises that it is unique. MAC brings together the five groups to pave the way for future generations and work together for country, while respecting lore, heritage and traditions.
MAC was incorporated on 19 April 2006 and is the approved corporate body for the Burrup and Maitland Industrial Estates Agreement (BMIEA). MAC administers the implementation of contractual obligations under the terms of the BMIEA.
Following a long struggle for Native Title recognition, the three Contracting Parties comprising the Ngarluma-Yindjibarndi (1994), Yaburara Mardudhunera (1996), and the Wong-Goo-Tt-Oo (1998) received land entitlements and financial benefits in return for surrendering their native title rights and interests over the Burrup. This was documented in the BMIEA.
As MAC is not a Prescribed Body Corporate (PBC) for the purposes of native title, it does not receive royalties. Instead, MAC holds the freehold title to Murujuga National Park which adjoins the industrial land. The WA Government has allocated various areas for infrastructure and industrial development on the Burrup Peninsula. Murujuga is the language name for the entirety of the area which encompasses the Burrup Peninsula and the Dampier Archipelago, which should not be confused with the Dampier Peninsula in WA’s Kimberley region.
Murujuga National Park is the 100th national park in Western Australia. It is famous for its ancient rock art or petroglyphs. More than forty thousand years ago, the Aboriginal people of Murujuga commenced pecking the surface of the rocks, thereby creating the petroglyphs that we see today. These differ from rock paintings called ‘pictographs’ that are not found at Murujuga. Unlike other rock art sites around the world, the petroglyphs of Murujuga are still highly relevant to the contemporary Aboriginal people of Murujuga, who today live in cities and towns such as Karratha, Roebourne, Wickham and even Perth, WA. Murujuga’s rock art is also of continuing importance to archaeologists, scientists, scholars and other researchers who continue to add new finds to the more than one million petroglyphic images already recorded. Murujuga was the first national park in Western Australia to be co-managed, with MAC sharing responsibilities for the park with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA).
In August 2018, MAC and the State Government signed an agreement to pursue World Heritage Listing for Murujuga. It is hoped that global recognition of the region’s cultural significance will drive tourism in the area and assist in the preservation of the rock art collection, for future generations. To further this objective, the Murujuga Rock Art Strategy (2019) was ratified by the WA Government in November 2019. A Partnership Agreement between MAC and the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation was also signed at that time.
Aboriginal heritage sites as well as adjoining lands are co-managed by MAC, the WA Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH) and DBCA, through the Parks and Wildlife Service. A designated DBCA-Parks and Wildlife Service Ranger Liaison Officer works closely with the MAC Rangers who are located at the Murujuga Land and Sea Unit (MLSU). The MLSU is tasked with managing the land and waters of Murujuga National Park. The Murujuga National Park Management Strategy, together with the Murujuga Cultural Management Plan, provide a model and framework for efficient and effective co-management arrangements between MAC and the WA Government.