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3rd Thu - 8pm
Uniting Church Hall
56 Scrivener St
O'Connor ACT

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Presentation to Interim Namadgi Board 7/11/03

An address by Fiona MacDonald Brand to the Interim Namadgi Board at the Namadgi Visitor Information Centre on Friday 7 November 2003

Good morning everyone,

I’d like to thank the advisory board for inviting the National Parks Association of the ACT to send representatives to inform you about our association. We acknowledge that we are meeting on Ngunnawal land.

Firstly the background to the concept of National Parks is interesting. The first two national parks in the world were declared in the 1880s in the and NSW Australia. It is significant that these two parks were declared in two countries/continents which had an ancient history of indigenous people occupying very slow changing environments and then had been invaded and rapidly changed by western culture.

Some of these newcomers by the late 19th century were conscious of the rapid way the age long natural environment was being wiped out and they felt that some examples of the natural environment and landscapes should be set apart from exploitation. Thus the first two parks were declared. After WWII more national parks were declared in Australia so that it is not surprising that a botanist at CSIRO, Nancy Burbidge felt that the ACT should have a national park to protect the unique alpine and subalpine areas within its boundaries.

To pursue that aim, in March 1960 a public meeting was called and a National parks Association was formed with the intent to gain a National Park for the National Capital.

In Autumn 1962, three NPA committee members, Dr Robert Story, Julie Henry and myself joined an Alpine Club group to walk to Mt Kelly which is east of the Cotter River. We wanted to inspect this area to see if it was suitable for proposal as a National Park. We walked beside the sparkling Sam’s Creek and camped at the foot of Mt Kelly. The view from the summit was most beautiful as we looked upon range after range of mountains and could see Long Plain and Mt Jagungal in the distant Kosciuszko National Park. We agreed that this area had to be protected in a national park so in June 1963 a detailed proposal for the Mt Kelly National Park was taken to Mr Gordon Freeth, Minister for Department of the Interior.

This proposal became the core of the present national park as over the years more and more sections were added. In 1979 the Gudgenby Nature Reserve of 51 000 hectares was declared by the Minister Bob Ellicott. But it was not until 3rd October 1984 that Tom Uren, Minister for the ACT caused the gazettal of this nature reserve plus more additions to be Namadgi National Park. It had taken 21 years of proposals and lobbying by NPA ACT to get a National Park for the National Capital.