On 26 April 1879, the Lieutenant-Governor, with the advice of the Executive Council, dedicated the reserve known as 'National Park' to the use of the public as a national park. (1) A board of trustees was incorporated as the "Trustees of the National Park", also on 26 April, 1879. (2) The Trust was constituted under the Public Parks Act, 1854 and was responsible for the management, improvement, and presentation of the estate. (3)
The National Park was the first of its kind in Australia and only the second national park proclaimed in the world. The park's name was changed from the National Park to the Royal National Park in 1954 following the visit of Queen Elizabeth II. (4) The land dedicated for the park totalled 18,000 acres and included the parishes of Sutherland, Heathcote and Bulgo and the whole of Crown Land within the parish of Wattamolla, County of Cumberland. Those appointed to the Trust were: The Hon. Sir John Robertson; A.H. McCullock; Walter Bradley; Walter Lamb; Joseph Graham; John Lucas; Charles Moore; Angus Cameron; G.F. Want and Robert Wisdom. (5) E.W. Woodhouse was appointed on 12 December 1879 following the resignation of Walter Lamb. (6)
The Trustees were empowered to:
(1) set apart and use such portions of the Park as they may from time to time think necessary for the purposes following: first, ornamental plantations, lawns and gardens; second, zoological gardens; third, racecourse; fourth, cricket or any other lawful game; fifth, rifle butt or artillery; sixth, exercise or encampment of Military or Naval Forces; seventh, bathing purposes; eighth, for any public amusement or purpose which the Governor my wish by notification in the Government Gazette.
(2) to define at what time and in what manner such portions of land so set apart may be used, and to delegate the management there of to any suitable person.
(3) to enforce all or any such Rules and Regulations for defining and regulating the general use of the Park.
(4) to enforce all or any such Rules and Regulations for the protection of fauna in the Park lands.
(5) to approve leases of parcels of land to any person or firm desirous of erecting buildings at which lodgings or refreshments may be purchased.
(6) to grant licenses to mine (except gold or silver) on Park lands. (7)
By 1967 the Royal National Park included an area of about 36,700 acres. (8) On 24 November 1967 the care, control and management of the Royal National Park was vested in the Director of the National Parks and Wildlife Service under section 19 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act, 1967. The National Park Trust was thus abolished and replaced by the Royal National Park Local Advisory Committee of the National Parks and Wildlife Service. (9)
(1) NSW Government Gazette (No.148), 26 April 1879, pp.1923-1924; NRS 10733, Official guide to the National Park of New South Wales, 1914 [9/2195.6].
(2) NRS 10724, Minute book of the Board of Trustees, 25 Sep 1879 [9/2169].
(3) NRS 10733, [9/2195.6].
(4) Department of the Environment and Water Resources web site http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/national/sites/royal-park.html (accessed 22 August 2007) The oldest national park in the world is Yellowstone National Park.
(5) NSW Government Gazette (No.148), 26 April 1879, pp.1923-1924.
(6) NSW Government Gazette (No.437), 12 December 1879, p.5491.
(7) NRS 10733, [9/2195.6].
(8) National Parks and Wildlife Act, 1967 Third Schedule First Part.
(9) Concise Guide to the State Archives of New South Wales, 2nd ed., National Parks and Wildlife Service, p.23; National Parks and Wildlife Act, 1967 (Act No.35, 1967) ss.11(2), 19(3)-(4); NRS 10676, Minutes of the Royal National Park Local Advisory Committee, 8 December 1967-13 Oct 1972.