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Squatters and Campers

National Parks and Wildlife Service

The Captain Cook Landing Place Reserve came under the provisions of the National Parks and Wildlife Service Act in 1967 when the park was proclaimed 'an historic site' and the Trusteeship was transferred from the Lands Department. Towra Point was combined with Endeavour Heights and the Landing Place Reserve to become the Botany Bay National Park. In 1988 Bare Island and La Perouse were included in the Botany Bay National Park which now frames the two headlands of the bay. Though the character of the landscape at the entrance to Botany Bay does now differ, it would not be unrecognisable to the 18th century British and French maritime explorers. 

NPWS recognises the cultural and environmental assets of Kurnell Peninsula and is dedicated to its conservation, enhancement and management. Within its visionary goals, NPWS would like to manage the entire peninsula as a 'Biosphere Reserve' using the UNESCO guidelines for combining industry and conservation.

Gary Dunnett, the NPWS Manager for the Botany Bay Area, says that their vision for Botany Bay National Park is that "Kurnell should be a symbolic meeting place of cultures and a place of natural significance, with a sense of ownership, for all Australians because:
  • It is symbolic as the meeting place of diverse cultures and may be seen as the point of initiation of a multicultural nation.

  • It is an important site for exploring issues involving reconciliation with indigenous Australians.

  • It contains a landscape that supported Aboriginal people for thousands of years and includes the permanent freshwater stream that provided drinking water for the Aboriginal people and for both the Endeavour and the First Fleet.

  • It contains plants that are directly descended from those collected by Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander in 1770.

  • It retains rare vegetation and endangered ecological plant communities.

  • It preserves the southern headland of Botany Bay and provides opportunities for nature based recreational pursuits such as whale watching, bush walking and surfing.

  • It preserves the Towra Point with its heritage of unique terrestrial and aquatic habitats.

"The central theme of the Botany Bay National Park is that of 'the meeting place of two cultures'. Although there is a great deal of ambiguity in the views of the broader Aboriginal community about how to consider this site, the local Aboriginal communities are clear that it is a place with a role in the reconciliation process".

The NPWS Discovery Centre at Kurnell displays a 'Wetlands Reflections' exhibition, which focuses on Towra Point and the 'Eight Days that Changed the World' exhibition, focusing on Captain Cook, and it also houses the National Parks and Wildlife Service shop.
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