The New South Wales government is creating a new national park, ten times the size of the Royal National Park south of Sydney, thanks to the purchase of the 153,415-hectare area in the state’s north-west known as the Narriearra station. This vast parcel of land, which is 1,180km north-west of Sydney, has been of interest to the NSW Parks and Wildlife Service for several years, but the previous owners, the O’Connor family, who have held the Narriearra station for more than a century, only recently agreed to sell it off for an undisclosed amount.
Its acquisition by state authorities now ranks as the largest purchase of private land for the purposes of conversation in NSW history. Located just south of the Queensland border, 60km west of the town of Tibooburra, the area is home to more than 25 threatened native species, many of which can only be found in this part of Australia. The creation of the new national park will protect the unique ecosystems found here from commercial or agricultural development.
Many of the habitats found within the Harriearra Station plot can not be found in any other national park in the state, such as the intermittent wetlands and floodplains surrounding the Bulloo River that support multiple rare species of birds. The area also has great cultural and historical significance. Part of the conservation efforts planned for the new park will support the return of the Wangkumara people to their ancestral home. This corner of NSW has a particularly dark past, marred by mass-murder and forced relocation of Indigenous peoples during the 19th and 20th centuries. Reconnecting the traditional owners of the land to this area will be a significant part of the new national park’s creation.