Promotional pamphlet for World Heritage Listing of the Royal Reserves

The White Pointer, Wattamolla

World Heritage Listing for

Royal National Park, Heathcote National Park and

Garawarra State Conservation Area.

A campaign by First National Park supported by the Sutherland Shire Environment Centre.

First National Park supported by the Sutherland Shire Environment Centre is campaigning for the world heritage listing of Royal National Park, Heathcote National Park and Garawarra State Conservation Area.

These three magnificent reserves, the Royal Reserves, are contained with the Cataract subregion of the Sydney Basin Bioregion (SBBR), which is itself of world heritage significance on a par with the South West of Western Australia and the Cape Floral Region and Namakwaland of South Africa. The most compelling attraction of the three reserves Royal, Heathcote and Garawarra is their outstanding biogeodiversity developed within the landscapes created by the geology of the Hawkesbury Sandstones, Narrabeen and Wianamatta rocks and Quaternary Alluviums, a true hotspot in the SBBR and arguably its most outstanding exemplar.

Our view is that the SBBR should also be nominated for world heritage listing allowing for many reserved areas such as Dharawal, the Greater Blue Mountains, Yengo, Marra Marra, Maroota, and Ku-ring-gai Chase to be listed as well, as outstanding reserved samples of the SBBR. The Greater Blue Mountains (GBMWHA) already has listings for world heritage, however, these need expanding to incorporate the outstanding features of the ecology of the SBBR. Once this is achieved, then the other reserves in the Sydney Basin can put forward their case for listing as additional reserved samples. The Royal Reserves would certainly apply for world heritage listing on this basis. However, this will take some time and is dependant upon the additional listings for the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.

We believe that the Royal Reserves have a stand alone case to be considered for world heritage listing which we will make in our report to the NSW government. The best prospects for the Royal Reserves as a stand alone WH nomination appear to be with regard to selection criterion (vi) contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance; and as an associative cultural landscape.

Please support our nomination for world heritage listing by loving and caring for these reserves and actively protecting them against all destructive influences.

Unique and significant features of Royal National Park, Heathcote National Park and Garawarra State Recreation Area

The following is the basis of our report to the NSW Government recommending the Royal reserves for WHL.

  • Royal is one of the first national parks in the world either first, second, third or fourth with Yellowstone, Yosemite and Mackinac depending up the criteria chosen. Royal was the first reserve dedicated as a national park.
  • Beginnings of the conservation movement in Australia and highly significant in the development of the conservation and national park movements in the world.
  • Conserves excellent samples of our early heritage values, e.g. Audley boatshed, Audley gardens and picnic grounds, Audley shelter sheds and other buildings, the bus-stop tree, shacks and YHA hostel, Scientist’s Cabin precinct including the cleared area, the saw pits and the boiler, parts of Forest Island walk; Lady Carrington Drive, Jersey Springs
  • Royal and Heathcote were very important in the development of the wilderness concept in Australia and the world.
  • Part of Sydney and has the capacity to lead the world movement to integrate wildlife with urban, industrial and rural areas.
  • Outstanding opportunities for healthy re-creation in natural surrounds
  • Outstanding opportunities to provide resources for environmental education
  • Rich Aboriginal heritage of the Dharawal People.

The following information will support our claim:

  • Location for many scientific types/reference species.
  • Outstanding examples and great diversity of scleromorphy.
  • Ecodiversity – great and varied assemblage of ecosystems across the landscape, including a number of rare communities, on Hawkesbury Sandstones, Narrabeen Series, and Wianamatta Series rocks and Quaternary alluviums. This stems from its geographic location and very diverse range of physiographic, geologic, edaphic, climatic, fire, ecotonal and boundary transitions, and human influences coupled with the unique evolutionary and biogeographic history of Australia. This has resulted in a diversity of flora and fauna, which is amongst the worlds richest (notably plants, frogs, reptiles birds, and butterflies and molluscs). It ranks on a par with the South Western Australian region, and the Cape Floral Region, and Namakwaland of South Africa especially when considering it as a representative sample of the Sydney Basin Bioregion. Wonderful rare and significant upland swamps.
  • The relict clifftop dunes between Jibbon and Burning Palms. These are amongst the most extensive and best preserved examples in the state of aeolian coastal dunes formed during the Holocene sea level changes (Pye and Benson, 1984). These may have additional complexity due to the modern aeolian deposition (Howard, 1981).They occur at Bundeena and Jibbon and on to Marley, Wattamolla south headland, Curracurang, Garie Headland, Garie, Little Garie, North and South Era and Burning Palms.
  • Many unique examples of co-evolutionary processes, e.g. various interesting and unique pollination processes such as Chiloglottis orchids and their pollinating wasps, various other orchids and their pollinators, flowers and honeyeaters, banksias and their pollinators such as bush rats, pygmy possums, and birds, and jewel beetles as pollinators; concerted flowering and availability for pollinators; bird, wasp, beetle, fly, moth, butterfly, bat, possums and bush rats pollinated flowers; mycorrhyzal associations; trigger plants; plant defense mechanisms, e.g. glands on wattles and their ant defenders; seed dispersal mechanisms using special animal vectors, e.g. ants and elaiosomes, sticky fruits of Pisonia; wattles, etc.
  • Many unique, unusual, outstanding examples of adaptations of organisms to their environment
  • Great and significant geodiversity especially the coastal weathering of the Hawkesbury Sandstones and the geologic features of the Woronora Plateau. The sea caves between Curracurang and Curracurong are excellent and well-preserved samples of marine weathering along joints and dykes.
  • Over 1300 plant species including a number of rare species, a very large number for a temperate area and one of the highest temperate area diversities in the world
  • Gigantic lignotubers of bloodwood Eucalyptus gummifera and yellow-topped mallee ash Eucalyptus leuhmanniana with a single plant often covering quite large areas
  • One of the most diverse places in Australia for bird diversity more so when coupled with Sutherland Shire, which has a greater diversity than the world renowned Kakadu National Park, notably perching birds (Passiformes) especially honeyeaters (Meliphagidae).
  • The Jibbon lagoons are an important place for paleaobotanic pollen studies
  • Additional to the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area
  • A representative sample of the Sydney Basin, which we believe is worthy of World Heritage Listing as well – coastal aspect. (Subdivide the Cataract subregion into Royal subregion containing all the land north of Stanwell Tops and Cataract subregion to contain the reminder.)
  • Outstanding and highly diverse scenery

Eagle Rock; Garie Headland; Wattamolla Lagoon; Curracurrang inlet and pool; coastal cliffs beaches and lagoons; estuaries of Port Hacking, Cabbage Tree Basin, and South West Arm; heathlands, woodlands, forests and rainforests; outstandingly beautiful rock outcrops especially along the coast, Flat Rock and the Moss Gardens; The Palm Jungle; Werrong; Tounoom Brook, falls and valley; Bola Creek; Uloola and National Falls; Uloola Creek cascades; Crystal Pools; Figure Eight Pool, Walker’s Garden; Robertson’s Roundabout tracks; Kangaroo Creek.

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