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The property is also famous for its rich marine life including a large population of dugongs, and provides a refuge for a number of other globally threatened species.

The record of Australian Aboriginal occupation of Shark Bay extends to 22,000 years BP.

At that time most of the area was dry land, rising sea levels flooding Shark Bay between 8,000 BP and 6,000 BP.

A considerable number of aboriginal midden sites have been found, especially on Peron Peninsula and Dirk Hartog Island which provide evidence of some of the foods gathered from the waters and nearby land areas.

The largest fish in the world, the whale shark, gathers in the bay during the April and May full moons.

This plate was then replaced by Willem de Vlamingh and returned to Holland. There is a replica in the Shark Bay Discovery Centre in Denham.

Bernier and Dorre islands in the north-west corner of the heritage area are among the last-remaining habitats of Australian mammals threatened with extinction.

They are used, with numerous other smaller islands throughout the marine park, to release threatened species that are being bred at Project Eden in François Peron National Park.

Declared as a World Heritage Site in 1991, the site covers an area of 2,200,902 hectares (5,438,550 acres), of which about 70 per cent are marine waters.

It includes many protected areas and conservation reserves, including Shark Bay Marine Park, Francois Peron National Park, Hamelin Pool Marine Nature Reserve, Zuytdorp Nature Reserve and numerous protected islands.

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