Visitors heading to a popular Far South Coast national park to see its stunning walks and views this summer will be able to enjoy improvements to its infrastructure, including a new Aboriginal cultural camp.
Beowa National Park, which sits south of Eden, was recently renamed in the local Thaua language after consultation with First Nations people, removing the name of a slave trader from its title.
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) South Coast director Kane Weeks said works at the Bittangabee Bay precinct, which is a popular place for visitors and campers, have now been completed.
“We are very pleased to be able to reopen this precinct following months of work that has resulted in new barbecue shelters, picnic tables, carparking, safer beach access, more and better-defined campsites,” he said.
“The highlight would have to be the new Aboriginal Cultural Camp where works are nearly complete on a communal firepit, barbecue shelter and picnic table, toilets and five campsites that can be used by Aboriginal visitors.
“All these improvements will help to enhance the visitor experience and improve accessibility for people with low mobility, while protecting the important cultural and natural values of the area.”
Elder BJ Cruse, chairman of the Eden Local Aboriginal Land Council, welcomed the development.
“I appreciate and welcome the response of national parks in developing the cultural camp, in the same way I encourage non-Aboriginal people to use and respect our land, in a way that doesn’t sever our connection to our lands,” he said.
“We are still connected to the land the way that Aboriginal people always have been and we still utilise the land in cultural practices.
“But in many ways our lifestyle has changed, so we now utilise the land in the same way as non-Aboriginal people in some respects.”
Also, in the northern section of the park, the visitor precinct around Boyds Tower reopened late last month after major works to improve visitor infrastructure.
Slave trader Ben Boyd, whose name used to be attached to the national park, built the sandstone tower in the mid-1800s intending it to be a private lighthouse, and also built the township Boydtown, before being declared bankrupt.
Mr Weeks said the tower’s site had undergone a complete transformation with five new lookouts, new seating areas and new amenities that can all be accessed by people with limited mobility.
The improved access from the carpark to the tower and walking track means that for the first time people in a wheelchair can comfortably access the most spectacular lookouts on the headland.
‘Beowa’ is the word for killer whale in the local Thaua language.
Mr Cruse said killer whales had been used by Aboriginal people “since time immemorial” to help them hunt other whales and without them it would have been very difficult to do so.
“It’s fitting that Beowa be the name for the national park, because that reflects the cultural practices of the local people,” he said.
Much of the national park’s infrastructure was damaged during the 2019-2020 Black Summer bushfires.
The two projects totalled around $3 million.
Original Article published by Albert McKnight on About Regional.