A dinner held in Tumut and attended by National Parks New South Wales staff supported by staff from the Public Service Association of NSW (PSA), celebrated 50 years of establishing and maintaining National Parks throughout NSW.
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPNSW) was established in 1967 to replace various bodies responsible for 25 parks and historic sites recognised since the Royal National Park was originally gazetted in 1879 as a reserve preserving the wilderness close to Sydney.
It now has the proud status of being the second oldest National Park in the world, behind the Yellowstone National Park designated as such in 1872.
The PSA plan to roll out many celebrations across the state, and Nathan Bradshaw, PSA Industrial Officer, Sydney said Tumut was chosen for the first because of its close regional affinity with the Kosiuszko National Park.
“They are the lifeblood of the local community, providing jobs, creating interest from tourists and ensuring the natural environment is preserved for future generations,” Mr Bradshaw said.
“PSA is proud to participate in the 50th anniversary celebrations where we all work together to preserve our natural heritage.”
On the last point, Wiradjuri elder, Pat Connelly, said the conservation of the land means everything to his people, and appreciates the care taken by National Parks.
“We come from the land, and we will all go back to the land,” he said.
“We are proud of what the National Parks people do, protecting and growing the areas for future generations.”
Mr Connolly, who welcomed the guests on behalf of his people, said the preservation of country means survival for all mankind.
“Our ancestors survived for the past 60,000 years, so we want to make sure we can live in this country in peace and harmony for many generations to come,” he said.
Special guest for the evening Paul Sullivan, Administrator, Snowy Valleys Council said although the National Park is a significant non-rate paying landholder in the Council, it still makes a vibrant contribution to the community.
“We have a very strong connection with the National Park and its employees,” he said.
“The linkage with our indigenous community is also most important as it enables them to maintain their cultural and spiritual connection with the land.”
With over seven million hectares protected and preserved across the state, Mr Sullivan said the NPNSW is a responsible corporate citizen.
“Their responsibility reflects the importance of land management for our indigenous people along with preserving our native flora and fauna,” he said.