WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Merely identifying the particular part of the world that occupies the centrepiece of this reporting, is confounded by a crisis of identity. Cooper Creek drains the middle of the three valleys off the eastern flank of Thornton Peak and was most likely attributed to Frederick Augustus Cooper (1834-1908), the elected Parliamentary representative for the Queensland Seat of Cook, in its second incarnation from 5 December 1878 to 4 March 1884.
Official place-names within the locality include Forest Creek, Cape Kimberley, Cow Bay, Diwan, Thornton Beach, Noah and Cape Tribulation. Cooper Creek runs through Diwan, which is the name taken from Kuku Yalanji for the Australian Brush-Turkey – Alectura lathami (J.E. Gray, 1831). The major portion of the area about Cape Tribulation was formally declared Daintree National Park in 1995, but this identity extends way beyond, to include most of the environs Mossman Gorge, Dagmar Ranges and the Daintree valley, but does not include the significant off-reserve portion of the area between the Daintree River and Cape Tribulation, nor the ecologically contiguous section of Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Australia has compounded the confusion by partitioning the greater ecological significance of this wondrous part of the world into two lesser portions and fragmenting what nature has drawn together into both the Great Barrier Reef and also the Wet Tropics World Heritage Areas.
The extraordinary values contained within the three valleys off the eastern flank of Thornton Peak represent the richest portion of what has been ranked as the second-most irreplaceable natural and mixed World Heritage site currently included on the World Heritage List. Greatly enhancing these astonishing values, the contiguous portion of Great Barrier Reef and at its nexus the world’s most diverse mangrove community, compounds this phenomenal fusion of World Heritage wonders into nature’s masterpiece.
“Maja-Jalunji, from the vernacular of the original human inhabitants, identifies the all-encompassing occupancy of this contiguous rainforest, mangrove-community and sea-country estate.”
“In accordance with Australia’s obligations, as defined within the meaning of the World Heritage Convention, this invaluable portion of the planet requires urgent rehabilitation from decades of commercial logging.”
“A peerless and inimitable identity, worthy of a world-class protection, from a world-class rehabilitation, is desperately required and Maja-Jalunji is hereby proposed, as both honourable and fit-for-purpose.”
For all the effort and investment that has gone into stretching the Daintree-brand across the broadest possible expanse of the Wet Tropics, the coastal area between the Daintree and Bloomfield Rivers, which has attracted such a plethora of interventions for its implicit specialness and urgent vulnerabilities, has never been provided with a formal identity. North of the Daintree, which incidentally includes more than half the planet, is often used officially to distinguish this special portion of the greater Daintree region. Within the spirit of bridging reconciliation, the vernacular of the original human inhabitants of this living cultural landscape identifies the human inhabitants of this contiguous rainforest, mangrove-community and sea-country estate, as Maja-Jalunji and in an absence of any better alternative, this identity is proposed for propriety adoption.