Approval from land's custodians

Dharawal dreaming: Tharawal Land Council board members Shane Evans, Karen Adams and Ross Evans in the newly gazetted Dharawal National Park. Picture: Jeff de Pasquale
Dharawal dreaming: Tharawal Land Council board members Shane Evans, Karen Adams and Ross Evans in the newly gazetted Dharawal National Park. Picture: Jeff de Pasquale

THOUSANDS of years ago, the Dharawal people would travel inland from the rugged coast to seek shelter, eat bush tucker, utilise natural medicines and record their stories in the bushland west of Campbelltown that now makes up the Dharawal National Park.

The fact it will be now be protected from mining and preserved for future generations has generated praise from the local Aboriginal people who are its namesake.

The park's declaration signalled the end of a push from the Tharawal Land Council, who weighed in on the fight for the original proposal by the National Parks Association Macarthur branch in the 1980s.

Board member Ross Evans said the land was culturally and spiritually significant to the Dharawal people.

"We know this is one of the richest sites, we know there's a lot of information because the coastal people came up and recorded here," he said. "It's more of a library with the information that's here.

"This area here holds more richness in terms of cultural heritage sites than you would find in the Northern Territory, that's what the elders have passed on to us.

"There are recorded sites that tell us the stories about how all this up here came about, there are women's sites that record births and there are men's sites where they got together to discuss business."

Fellow board member Karen Adams said there was some frustration the land council hadn't been consulted or included in the initial declaration as much as they would have liked.

However, Mr Evans said he hoped continuing consultation with government and environmental groups would ensure the significant sites were protected from an expected influx of visitors to the area.

"It isn't about shutting people down, or shutting people out, but there may be certain areas where we don't want people trekking through because there are significant sites here we'd like to protect for future generations," Mr Evans said.