Migration Heritage Centre, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and Sydney’s Macedonian community.
When and where
Project location: Royal National Park, Sydney
Project status: Completed project
Date of completion: December 2000
National Parks are valued by Australians in a variety of different ways. The many ways the natural environment is experienced, imagined and used reflects the enormous cultural diversity of contemporary Australia. The natural landscape is above all – a social space – a space where different communities, stories, memories, traditions, uses and experiences come together.
For many migrant communities national parks are important landscapes for outdoor celebrations and festivities and for continuing social traditions and rituals. Large picnics where extended families come together to eat, drink, play music and dance are regular features of National Parks across NSW. The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) however, knew little about the attitudes and attachments diverse migrant communities have to park recreation. The research project sought to show how landscapes are not just places of natural diversity, but of cultural difference and diversity too.
Sydney’s Macedonian community, since World War Two, has developed a tradition of visiting the Royal National Park and other parks in Sydney. Through oral history interviews and focus group discussions, the project looked at the Macedonian community’s attitudes to National Parks and outlined a history of their park usage.
What did the project achieve?
The project enabled NPWS to develop more meaningful relationships and links with migrant communities, to consider how well the Service is meeting the needs of these communities and to ensure safer natural environments for users unfamiliar with the landscape. The project also fostered a richer understanding of the deep connections, attachments and heritage between people and place.
The report, “A Multicultural Landscape: National Parks and the Macedonian Experience” by Dr Martin Thomas, is an important step in recognising the rich migration heritage reflected in the cultural landscapes of contemporary Australia and can be found on the MHC website. Further phases of the project will involve collaborations with other migrant communities.
Sharon Veale – Project Manager
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
Phone 02 9585 6468
Fax 02 9585 6325
P O Box 1967
HURSTVILLE NSW 2220