50 years of NPWS

Celebrating 50 years of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972

50 years ago the National Parks and Wildlife Act was enacted in a critical step towards conserving and protecting native wildlife and the environment in South Australia. National parks have a long and proud history in South Australia. The state’s first national park, Belair National Park, was proclaimed in 1891 and the National Park Act 1891 was enacted the same year.

Belair was the second national park declared in Australia following Royal National Park, established south of Sydney in 1879. The National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 provides for “the establishment and management of reserves for public benefit and enjoyment; to provide for the conservation of wildlife in a natural environment; and for other purposes.”

There are now 358 parks and reserves which cover 21.6% of South Australia. These beautiful and valuable protected areas conserve important ecosystems, habitats, flora and fauna, unique land formations, and culturally significant places. They help ensure we continue to have clean air, soil and water, and contribute to global efforts to conserve biodiversity against the impacts of climate change. For First Nations Australians, protected areas are invaluable in maintaining connections to their Country. South Australia's national parks are also a treasure trove of heritage sites that connect visitors to the trials, challenges, and stories of the past.

Share your memories of South Australia’s parks

National Parks and Wildlife Service will celebrate the 50 year anniversary throughout 2022 with a series of activities shared with parks staff, volunteers and visitors.

Current and former parks staff, volunteers and visitors can share their memories of South Australia’s parks by emailing their stories, greatest memories and best photos to dewengagement@sa.gov.au or by tagging #npws50years on social media.

Let’s share the rich cultural heritage, natural beauty and unique and endangered species of our national parks, which make South Australia such a special place.