Local History, Local stories...National Park
Sutherland Shire Libraries Sunday, October 02, 2016National Park
Today in Australia there are more than 500, but when the large tract of unspoilt bushland in the Port Hacking district was dedicated by Lord Loftus as a national park on 26 April 1879, it was the first of its kind in this country and the second in the world after Yellowstone in the United States.
In the early days the desire to ‘civilise’ the National Park led to ‘improvements’ including the clearing of under-scrub, the creation of English park-like ornamental gardens and the introduction of exotic flora and fauna including, in 1886, five Rusa deer whose descendants still roam the park today.
Concepts of conservation have indeed developed over the years, yet without the forethought and perseverance of those who created its foundations back in the 19th Century, we might not be able to enjoy the Royal National Park today.
The 1919 edition of The Official Guide to the National Park of New South Wales stated:
In a few years Sydney is expected to have a population of one million. A vast numerical increase in the number of the population is bound for the next half century at least to mark our domestic history, and amid all the multiplying changes in the passage of coming decades, the National Park will remain much in the same condition as it now stands, excepting, it may be hoped, that the barren heath, secluded dells, and sea beaches, now almost abandoned to the birds of the air, will resound on every holiday with the voices of jocund crowds of pleasure-seekers, freed from the rush and turmoil of everyday life. The primeval forests will remain untouched. No woodman’s axe is permitted to lay low the lordly forest trees, which are allowed to bring forth their springtime buds and shed their withered leaves so long as the trees stand and the roots hold fast. The national heritage is safe beyond the reach of plunder, safe from the machinations of ambitious schemers, and secured to the people of this country upon express terms fixed and made final by Act of Parliament. It is Time, and Time alone, that will prove the vast value of this magnificent dowry to the people of New South Wales.