A Leap Forward at the Start of 2012!

Excitement is building in our campaign to achieve World Heritage Listing of the “Royal Reserves” – that is, the trio of Royal National Park and its adjacent Heathcote National Park and Garawarra State Recreation Area.

The immediate stimulus comes from completion of the draft of our comprehensive Mosley Report, drafted by Dr Geoff Mosley, Australia’s leading authority on national parks.

We have at once circulated it to many individuals and groups for review and comment, and we’ve already received excellent responses, including suggestions for improvement.

Basic to the argument we must present to the Commonwealth Government (and through it to the United Nations agency UNESCO) will be our coverage of the cultural international values of the Royal Reserves, on top of the already well established features of the natural environment.

Cultural? That is, the changes to the three Reserves brought about since the 1860s and 1870s by impacts from public re-creation (from picnicking to fitness and health) and Park management. Such a study will throw light on the wider Australian national park movement; and that in turn will have significance for the worldwide national parks movement.

In tracing these cultural influences, three examples spring to mind.

First was of course the establishment of Royal in 1879 as the world’s first “national park”, thus termed, remarkably a national park wholly within a city (the addition of “Royal” did not come till 1955).

Second was the early concentration of park management on nature conservation, over other possible uses.

Third was the realisation that this first national park could not stand alone – so it has contributed to the push for national parks (and wilderness reserves) in every state.

In the three examples, the developments at RNP were representative of the best worldwide changes of attitude to the natural environment.

For the rest, our final Report will detail the outstanding values of our natural environment, its biogeodiversity and its beauty/aesthetics. By the biogeoheritage we mean the Park’s incredibly numerous life-forms (species), and its many soils and rocks, and the host of interactions among them – considerations that link us to the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and the megadiversity of the whole Sydney Basin.

Dr Mosley has supplied a list of management recommendations aimed at achieving better conservation of the world heritage values of the Royal Reserves, and at maintaining their integrity as required by UNESCO. Our spokesperson Bob Crombie has welcomed the suggestions: “We will discuss them in future articles”, he says.

Bob Walshe, Chairman, First National Park, ph 9528 0444

2 comments to A Leap Forward at the Start of 2012!

  • Happy reconciliation week 2012. 27 May – 3 June.

    First, what about the cultural values of this area of country (aka RNP) for First Peoples? They seem to be missing from your account.

    Are you aware that many First People’s object to having their intangible and tangible cultural heritage treated as second best to a Western notion of “nature”?

    Where in this campaign is there space for participation of Koories as cultural partnership?

    Please advise.

  • Pat McKelvey

    I am delighted to read about the progress towards World Heritage listing for the Royal. We used to visit it when we lived in Sydney.

    I have a bone to pick about the ‘first in the world’ title, though, having grown up near Yellowstone.

    This 1871 map is titled ‘Yellowstone National Park’ and is in the US Library of Congress. You can look up the file history, too. I think Yellowstone’s claim is till valid.