The majesty of Dharawal National Park was in the spotlight recently when international delegates from the World Parks Congress toured.
The groundswell of community support that led to Dharawal being declared a National Park in 2012 as well as campaigns to protect it from mining were the focal point of the excursion.
The park’s ranger Rowena Morris said 29 delegates from 19 countries made the trip from Sydney Olympic Park, where the congress was based from November 12-19.
The gathering, held once every decade, brings together heads of state and ministers to discuss the world’s national parks, marine reserves and protected areas.
‘‘We were teaching them about ‘healthy country’ and the importance of Dharawal National Park to the spiritual, emotional and physical health of the community,’’ Ms Morris said.
‘‘We also spoke about the emotional side in terms of the Aboriginal connection to the land and the community that fought for [the park’s] protection.’’
Despite an earlier power outage, Wedderburn Rural Bush Fire Brigade stepped up to provide morning tea before Dharawal woman Glenda Chalker and Aboriginal elder Uncle Ivan performed the Welcome to Country ceremony at O’Hare’s Creek lookout.
The group took a picnic lunch on their walk to Minerva Pool, as they were told of the reserve’s unique features including the forested sandstone plateau, upland swamps and Aboriginal heritage.
‘‘They thought it was the most magic place, they found the place very spiritual,’’ Ms Morris said.