Playing in the bush: recreation and national parks in New South Wales
Edited by Richard White and Caroline Ford
Sydney University Press
For over 100 years, people have been drawn to national parks by the promise of getting 'back to nature'. Australia has some of the oldest national parks in the world (the first park was created in 1879 just south of Sydney) and has more than any other country. They were distinctive for their emphasis on recreational use more than the protection of natural wonder. This focus on leisure activities has shaped the way in which Australians view their relationship to the parks since and posed a variety of challenges for park managers, concerned with the conservation of 'natural' landscapes.
How have people used national parks in the past?
Playing in the bush is an engaging account of the ways the national parks of New South Wales have been used over the past 130 years. Researched and written by seven young historians from the University of Sydney, the book weaves together stories of diverse experiences in our national parks. Established 'for the use of the public forever', they have had a long history of popular use and created deep emotional attachments among people from all walks of life.
From the romantic getaways of the late nineteenth century to the extreme sports of a century later, picnicking and partying, flower picking, nature study, camp fires, to getting up to no good, Playing in the bush explores the place of national parks in Australia's cultures of recreation.