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A History


In a time when overcrowding, lack of sewerage and poor health an opportunity to escape the ever-increasing industrialisation and pollution of the city was seen by John Lucas MLA and on February 18th, 1879 he moved the following resolution: “That this house will, on Friday next, resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole to consider the following resolution:-  The health of the people should be one of the first objects of all good government, and to ensure healthy consequences, a vigorous and intelligent community, it is necessary that all centres of population should possess parks, and pleasure grounds as places of recreation.”  While the initial purpose of the Park’s proclamation was one of recreation, fortunately for present and future generations, the trustees indirectly protected the natural and cultural treasures of the National Park.  Amongst these were the thousands of Aboriginal sites and artefacts.
A new interest in birds, plants and the like by the broader population drew attention to, and later a scientific understanding of, the importance of the amazing diversity, complexity and unique beauty associated with the Australian bush, particularly for the Park with its heaths, woodland, rainforest, coastline, rivers, and wildlife.  It took over a century for the local population to firstly accept, and then embrace, the uniqueness of the environment surrounding them, not as something to conquer, but to enjoy and revel in.

To learn more, we highly recommend reading ‘History of Royal National Park 1879 – 2017’ by Judith Carrick.

Judith’s extensive research and descriptions of the diverse and varied past of the Park, from its management by the early Trustees, then the NPWS, and now the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, provide a fascinating and comprehensive account of the Park’s history.

The book is exhaustively researched from historical and contemporary documents. It contains around 120 pages of history, and supplies a thorough bibliography for further research. It is illustrated with over 90 photographs that show the changes in the Park over time, and many structures and aspects of the Park that are no longer preserved. Learn about the early history of what was to later become Royal National Park, the establishment of national parks overseas, the reasons behind creating our first national park, and the changes in ideology regarding Royal National Park (and other natural areas) over the years.

This is a fascinating book for anyone who has stumbled over ruins while walking in the Park and has wondered about their history.

The book is available through our shop

History of Royal National Park 1879-2017

or direct from the author for $30 by emailing:

There is also a history of all  of NSW National Parks which has an excellent section on the shacks at Bonnie Vale, Era and Burning Palms.

Challenges in the Landscape

Many of the buildings in the past have an interesting history, Gardeners Garage on the Prices Highway  is now a ruin but some may remember its history. The link below is from Sutherland Historical Society.

Gardeners Garage

Get Involved

Voluntary activities run regularly and are a great way to help preserve and protect this beautiful area and to meet like minded people. Volunteering is fun!!

Volunteer expression of interest form

A Volunteer calendar is available for the next three months

Volunteer Calendar