Organising to Hasten a Result

Uloola Falls, RNP. Photograph: Phil Smith

Support for World Heritage Listing of Royal National Park (RNP) continues to widen – confronting leaders of the campaign with great expectations of a not-too-distant decision, first by the Australian Government, second by the United Nations agency UNESCO.

Special visit to Sydney. Dr Geoff Mosley, leading authority on national parks, made a special trip from Melbourne to Sydney on September 5 to discuss ways to expedite the campaign. He is commissioned to write the main Report, and he presented three pages of “Selection Criteria” to an early morning meeting, after which he was driven to familiarise himself with key areas of the Park and its adjacent “Reserves” (Holsworthy Military Reserve, Garawarra State Conservation Area, Heathcote National Park).

Let’s improve on “stand alone” qualities. Dr Mosley says he believes RNP can achieve Listing based on its own magnificent “stand alone” features, but he suggests we should go beyond its abundant flora/fauna qualities by specifying also “cultural landscapes”, e.g. that RNP is one of the oldest in the world, is truly representative, and is wholly contained within a city – all these being properties that “combine the world of nature and man” including recreation, military uses, mining, science, education, and nature conservation.

What is the hoped-for time frame? With hard work being put in on his draft Report, Dr Mosley is aiming at presentation in December. It will pass though many critical hands, and will then assume final form by March 2012.

A role model for other areas of the Sydney Basin. We believe our final Report, by revealing new wonders, will stimulate the extension of the past work on features of Greater Blue Mountains National Park (part of the Sydney Basin) – and this could prompt other areas of the Basin to make claims for Heritage Listing. (The Basin extends from Batemans Bay in the south, to Newcastle in the north, and to Lithgow and Mudgee in the west.)

A “Lobby Book” will follow. Completion of the Report will be the signal to put together a very attractive “Lobby Book” containing supportive statements from authoritative persons, together with brilliant photos of key features of RNP. Armed with this, we will make approaches to MPs, Councillors and the media – that is, we will “go public” in a major way.

Too many activities to spell out in detail! At the First National Park meeting on September 15, the following activities were projected:

  • Keen support for NSW Government’s rejection of mining beneath the 6000-hectare Dharawal national park south-west of Sydney.
  • Contact to be established with all political parties to get assurances of support (including writing to the four local MPs).
  • Bob Crombie and Bob Walshe to meet MP Lee Evans to request interview with Premier Barry O’Farrell and Environment Minister Robyn Parker.
  • Strong criticism of obvious underfunding of the National Parks and Wildlife Service by successive governments.
  • We support the NPWS initiative of an Open Day at Audley on November 27 – reopening of the famous Dance Hall. We will operate a stall on the day.
  • The Geological Society members, strongly behind our cause, will be asked by Bob Crombie to write supportive statements for the draft Report.
  • The Linnaean Society will run a seminar on RNP (at a venue in Kamay Botany Bay National Park) from September 29 to October 1
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