You are wrong if you follow the myth that Yellowstone was the world’s first modern national park with our Royal coming later. Here’s the truth – that our National Park predated mighyt Yellowstone by several years.
First ‘National’. While Yellowstone was one of a number of ’State’ or other regional parks by the 1870s, our park “was in fact the very first protected area anywhere in the world to be officially named as a national park” – on 26 April 1879. So says Australia’s top authority on national parks, Dr Geoff Mosley. On that date 18,000 acres was set aside (increased in 1880 to 35,000 acres, and in 1889 to 36,320 acres).
Welcomed at once by the Herald! Three days after the historic dedication, the Sydney Morning Herald, in an article headed “A National Park”, declared “a better name could not be given”! (29 March, 1879). And a few days later it added that the area “for extent and beauty will hardly find its parallel within the same distance of any metropolis in the world”.
As to Yellowstone: it was not initially proclaimed a national park but, by the Yellowstone Act of 1 March 1872, as a “public park or pleasuring ground for the enjoyment of the people”.
Yellowstone confirms our ‘first’. When Yellowstone celebrated its centenary in 1972, its Library and Museum Association’s commemorative book Yellowstone, A Century of the Wilderness Idea, said, “But the first time the words ‘national park’ were used in the body of a public act was in the establishment of Royal National Park near Sydney, Australia, in 1879. It was then simply called ‘The National Park’ (the first legislative reference to Yellowstone as a national park occurred in 1883 in a bill relating to appropriations)”.
News! Dr Geoff Mosley will speak at Sutherland Entertainment Centre, Thursday 16 September, 6.30pm.