News

Playing in the bush: recreation and national parks in NSW


7 November 2012

View of Stanwell Park, at the southern end of the National Park, c1947. State Records NSW. Image courtesy of State Library of NSW.
View of Stanwell Park, at the southern end of the National Park, c1947. State Records NSW. Image courtesy of State Library of NSW.

Whether it's fishing in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, surfing at Pretty Beach in Murramurang, or picnicking in the Royal National Park, all of us have fond memories of NSW national parks.

A new book called Playing in the Bush, edited by University of Sydney researchers Richard White and Caroline Ford, examines such uses of national parks and outlines their history over the 20th century.

It will be launched by the Hon Bob Debus AM, the former NSW minister for the environment (1999 - 2007), at the Macleay Museum at the University of Sydney on Wednesday 7 November.

The result of practical study by University of Sydney honours students, Playing in the Bush examines how the NSW government struggles to find balance between letting people use the environment for recreational purposes, and placing restrictions to conserve the fragile bushland.

The book goes on to discuss the rules and regulations already in place when entering a national park, how campfires affect the land, the history of outdoor recreation, the place the Australian environment has in adventure recreation and how citizens should be educated on the proper use of national parks.

NSW can lay claim to establishing in 1879 what is generally accepted as the world's second national park, the "National Park" (now the Royal National Park) in Sydney's southern outskirts. In 1894, New South Wales gained its second national park, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

Playing in the Bush illuminates how the Australian landscape was romanticised by 19th-century literature and how we still have an emotional attachment to the land, fuelling the popularity of many activities, including bushwalking, camping, paragliding, weddings, rock climbing, horse riding and bird watching, among many other things.


Event details

What: Launch of Playing in the bush: recreation and national parks in New South Wales, edited by Richard White and Caroline Ford. The book will be launched by the Hon Bob Debus AM, NSW Minister for the Environment 1999-2007

When: 5.30 for 6pm, Wednesday 7 November

Where: Macleay Museum, Gosper Lane off Science Road, Camperdown Campus. See map and directions 

Book now online


Boating at Lane Cove National Park. State Records NSW. Image courtesy of State Library of NSW.
Boating at Lane Cove National Park. State Records NSW. Image courtesy of State Library of NSW.


Follow University of Sydney Media on Twitter

Media enquiries: Jacqueline Chowns, 02 9036 5404, 0434 605 018, jacqueline.chowns@sydney.edu.au

Jocelyn Prasad, 02 9114 1382, jocelyn.prasad@sydney.edu.au