Booderee National Park & Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community

[information from]

Booderee National Park and Booderee Botanic Gardens are the names chosen by the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community for the former Commonwealth Jervis Bay National Park and Jervis Bay Botanic Gardens.

Booderee is an Aboriginal word from the Dhurga language meaning 'bay of plenty' or 'plenty of fish'.

The White-bellied Sea Eagle is one of the many birds you can see around the park. This large white and grey eagle is the guardian of the Aboriginal people of Wreck Bay, and is represented in the park logo.

Joint Management for Booderee

Booderee National Park and Booderee Botanic Gardens are jointly managed by the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council and the Department of the Environment and Heritage . A memorandum of lease between the Director of National Parks and Wildlife and the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council was signed in December 1995. The park and Botanic Gardens are managed in accordance with relevant legislation, a management plan and the decisions of the Board of Management which was established in 1996.

The Booderee Board of Management includes a majority of Aboriginal traditional owners. The board oversees the management of the park and Botanic Gardens and for preparation of plans of management. The Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community's interest in Booderee is legally reflected in the lease agreement, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and the Aboriginal Land Grant (Jervis Bay Territory) Act 1986. The lease agreement requires that the park is managed with the interests of the traditional owners in mind.

The lease sets out the terms and conditions governing joint management for a period of 99 years with provision to review the lease every five years. The Act allows traditional use of the area for hunting, food gathering and ceremonial purposes in areas of the park determined by the Director and the Aboriginal traditional owners. The Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community is working with the Department of the Environment and Heritage to promote traditional skills and knowledge among park staff and visitors.

Booderee National Park is an example of joint management for parks and Botanic Gardens across Australia.

Why Booderee National Park is Special

International Significance

The Park provides key habitat for international migratory birds. Many of these birds are protected under international treaties

National Significance

The area of Jervis Bay was entered on the Register of the National Estate in 1993 in recognition of its outstanding landscape features, its diversity of flora, fauna and archaeological sites and its value to past and present communities for recreational activities. The Park contains many species that are at the limits of their bio-geographical range.

Regional Significance

The area supports a population of bottlenose dolphins and the Bay is registered as a type locality for many marine invertebrates and algal habitats. The Park protects coastal dune systems and their associated habitats which are otherwise disturbed or potentially threatened in the region. The area is scientifically valuable as it has not undergone degradation like the Sydney area. The preservation as a southern representative of the sandstone ecosystems is highly important.

In recognition of the bay's outstanding natural and recreational values, the NSW Government declared the State waters of Jervis Bay as a Marine Park jointly managed by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and NSW Fisheries

Visual Attributes

The visually harmonious setting is an important attribute of Booderee National Park. The Park comprises much of Bherwerre Peninsula, all of Bowen Island, and the waters and seabed of the southern most end of Jervis Bay. The Park has a high scenic value, with many visually attractive features including white sandy beaches, sheer cliffs and sweeping views. The Park offers the visitor a variety of experiences in a coastal setting. The Park also has significant cultural features, which are generally complementary to the harmonious setting.

Marine Water

The Park encompasses approximately 840 ha of Jervis Bay waters, lying to the south of a line between Captains Point and the northern tip of Bowen Island. This area comprises approximately 7% of Jervis Bay and 13% of the total area of the Park

Jervis Bay is known for its high water clarity

The bay has an excellent representation of largely pristine marine environments of the southeastern temperate region of southeast Australia. The marine environment of Booderee National Park is characterised by a wide range of tidal and subtidal habitats. There are few if any other areas where such a diversity of marine habitats and biota occur in such a small and easily accessible area, situated close to major population areas. Many species present in the marine environment are at the northern and southern limits of their ranges. The littoral and sub littoral plant communities of the Bay are of both local and state wide significance.

Bowen Island is of high conservation significance as it supports a substantial colony of the little penguin Eudyptula minor, and breeding colonies of three species of shearwater .

The foreshores of Booderee National Park are generally in a natural condition with a few exceptions.

The Control of Naval Waters Act 1918 applies to the waters of Jervis Bay and the ocean waters outside the Bay are official naval exercise areas. Naval manoeuvres marine exercises and fleet visits are common. The waters of the Park contain 14 specified naval anchorages.

The majority of Jervis Bay is under New South Wales's jurisdiction and is included in the declared Jervis Bay Marine Park. The Bay is surrounded by New South Wales's lands, some managed by the Australian Government for Defence purposes and the

Park. Close cooperation with the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, NSW Fisheries and other NSW land management agencies, Shoalhaven City Council and the 

Department of Defence is essential for effective, long-term conservation of the marine waters of the Park.

A number of activities are undertaken in the waters of Booderee National Park. These include:

A range of recreational activities

Scientific research

Educational activities

Commercial tourism operations

Naval activitie

Everyone benefits from proper management of the Park, especially the visitors. Park use fees contribute to the cost of protecting the values of the Park and at the same time also help with maintaining visitor services and facilities.

Wreck Bay - Aboriginal Settlement [information from]

Since the time of creation the Jervis Bay and Wreck Bay area has been a focal point for Aborigines on the South Coast. The region is noted for its spiritual and ceremonial significance.

Contemporary Aboriginal people started a small settlement at Summercloud Bay around the early 1900s. Fresh seafood and water in the area were two main resources that brought these nomads here. Living shelters known as humpies were made of timber and bark from local eucalypts. Other materials that drifted on to the beaches with the incoming tides were also used.

Wreck Bay itself stretches from St Georges Head to Sussex Inlet and gives the present Aboriginal community its name. Aboriginal people established camps where food and water were abundant, hunting and gathering were bountiful. The main sources of bush foods were yams, berries and native animals such as kangaroos, possums and echidnas. Seafood has always been a major part of their diet. Oysters, muttonfish (abalone), pipis and mussels were easily found, especially at low tide. Resources were so abundant that huge piles of shells accumulated. These middens can be seen scattered throughout the dunes and foreshore. Fish catches also proved plentiful, as the Aboriginal people's only competition for these tasty morsels were the predators of the ocean. Net-fishing has played and still plays a major role in the lives of the people of Wreck Bay. The main fish caught are whiting, bream, salmon and tailor. It is important to the Wreck Bay Community that their children maintain the knowledge of their ancestors. Youngsters learn about the uses of native vegetation for food and medicine, as well as how to collect seafood from the rock platforms. This knowledge will be passed down from one generation to another.

The Wreck Bay School was built in 1928. The school was under the control of the "Mission Manager" and his wife until a full time school teacher was appointed in the early 1950's. The school closed in 1964. The children then attended integrated classes at the Jervis Bay Primary School. From the early 1950's, the Aboriginal Welfare Board stationed a Manager in what was then known as the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Reserve. His status was virtually that of a police officer, controlling visitors entering and leaving the reserve, issuing rations to residents and administering the day to day affairs of the community.

Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community has evolved over the last two decades into a community that is striving towards self-determination. It provides community based employment in areas such as childcare, maintenance, land management, community health and administration.

Aboriginal cultural interpretive services are available to provide a local cultural and history perspective for school groups and the wider community regarding the Aboriginal heritage of the Jervis Bay/Wreck Bay region.

The long term goal of the Community is to establish an economic base to ensure that the future provides an opportunity for the community's children to adapt to society in general whilst maintaining a link with our past. The Community has a desire to be involved in the protection of the natural environment and cultural heritage values of the Park and its surrounding areas. The first step in achieving their goals came with the granting by the Australian Governmentof 403 hectares of land under freehold title to the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council. The granting of the land previously gazetted as the Commonwealth's Jervis Bay National Park to the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council and the arrangement for joint management of the area with the Australian Government is another major step in achieving the community's goals.

Caring for Country

Booderee is home to the people of Wreck Bay who have cared for the land and waters of the Jervis Bay area for many generations. The people of the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community are proud of this association -passing on their special knowledge and ancestral and creation stories to their families. Booderee, in the Dhurga language of the region, means 'plentiful bay'. It is the name chosen by the Wreck Bay

Aboriginal Community for the former Jervis Bay National Park and Jervis Bay Botanic Gardens following the handback of the area to the Aboriginal traditional owners.

The extensive Koori knowledge of natural resources around the Jervis Bay area continues to expand. Wreck Bay people use the bush as a natural classroom for younger people. The bush is also for collecting foods and medicines, learning stories and interpreting indicators of seasonal and climatic change.

The opportunities for visitor education about local Koori culture are among Booderee's most important assets. The Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community has vast experience in cultural interpretation. Booderee Botanic Gardens are the only Aboriginal-owned Botanic Gardens in Australia. The Botanic Gardens are becoming known as a centre for interpreting plant uses by local Aboriginal people. Much of the existing natural environment in Australia is a result of Aboriginal land management over tens of thousands of years. From archaeological sites, including middens and axe- grinding grooves, and oral history, we can learn about traditional land use.

Involving the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community in caring for Booderee assists in determining long-term conservation goals and benefits for the community and the park.


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