Four Great Features of Our RNP

The campaign, launched in March, to achieve UN “World Heritage Listing” is gathering learned papers on the very special features of our Royal National Park. Here, broadly, are 4 areas of that specialness.

First! Beyond question, the RNP’s founding as “National Park” in 1879 made it the first such park on the mighty continent of Australia. “Royal” was added after young Queen Elizabeth II’s visit in 1954. Moreover, our RNP must be recognised as “First in the World” as it was from the first named a National Park on 26 April 1879, whereas the great Yellowstone Park in the United States, though established early in the 1870s, was not termed “National” till 1883.

Unique! The RNP is almost certainly the only national park in the world located within a major city. Those farsighted pioneers of 1879 located it on the margin, but Sydney has since enclosed it. What a treasure it is! Visited each year by 4 million, mainly Sydneysiders, it generously provides open space, recreation, photo abundance, clean air (“lungs of Sydney”) and endless bushwalks, not to mention Aboriginal heritage and superlative natural phenomena.

Diverse! The bid for World Heritage Listing will specify a biodiversity as rich as the rarest on the planet. At least 1130 plant species are identified, including many classed as “rare and endangered”, and diverse fauna including an extraordinary number of bird species. Add to all that, four major rock/soil types and remarkable variety of scenery. So let’s see this as Sydney’s  20,000 hectares of significant habitats that conserve the unspoiled nature which greeted Cook and Phillip in the late 18th century.

Benefits! World Heritage Listing will widen public and government recognition. Will promote need to preserve other wilderness areas. Will strengthen resistance to damaging “development” proposals. Will increase visits by school and university study groups. In short, will do great things for Sydney and Australia.

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