The NSW Government has announced that it will nominate Australia’s oldest national park for a World Heritage Listing.
Royal National Park, affectionately known to locals as “the Royal” or “the Nasho,” covers 16,000 hectares of Property and was first added to the Australian National Heritage list in 2006 with the NPWS (National Parks and Wildlife Services) currently managing 10 National Heritage sites in NSW.
“Royal National Park was the first national park to be declared in Australia in 1879, only the second in the world and is the most visited national park in NSW,” said Environment Minister Robyn Park. “Nominating areas for World Heritage listing is a collaborative process between the Australian Government and the states, and I have approached the new Australian Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, to seek his support.”
Park said there is tremendous public support for the listing, adding that the government will seek Commonwealth assistance in preparing the nomination.
Surrounding parks south of Sydney, Heathcote National Park and Garawarra State Conservation Area are also being put forward for a listing due to their rich biodiversity and Aboriginal and historical heritage according to Heathcote MP Lee Evans.
“The Dharawhal people lived in the area for thousands of years and there are many Aboriginal sites and artefacts including the Jibbon rock engravings,” Evans said. “This nomination will help to promote the park and drive tourism to this special place.”
If recognised as a world heritage site, the Royal National Park will join 19 other Australian sites on the World Heritage List.
Current Australian sites on the list include Kakadu National Park, the Great Barrier Reef and Sydney Opera House. The park would become the world’s second-oldest park on the list behind Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming in the US, which was established in 1872.
The natural and cultural environment of the park draws both national and interstate visitors and, according to Menai MP Melanie Gibbons, it drew four million visitors last year. The Royal offers activities such as bush and costal walks, picnic spaces, surfing and whale watching.
“It’s time that our oldest national park received was truly recognised on the world stage,” said Cronulla MP Mark Speakman.