Kosciuszko National Park turns 80

Apr 29, 2024

April 2024 marks the 80th anniversary of the establishment of Kosciusko State Park, now known as Kosciuszko National Park.

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Photo courtesy of Snowy Mountains Tourism

 

At 690,000ha, Kosciuszko is the largest national park in NSW, attracting over 2.1 million visitors each year.

A popular drawcard for the Snowy Mountains, the park allows people to experience alpine landscapes, fascinating limestone caves, wildflower meadows, and expansive mountain scenery.

And if you want to know what all the fuss is about join us on our 5-day Snowy Alpine pack-free guided walk.

In early summer the alpine meadows erupt with colourful wildflowers whilst the tarns and lakes sparkle like bright jewels. With Mt Kosciuszko Australia’s highest peak as its centre, this area offers spectacular views and a variety of different landscapes to explore.

This 80 year milestone didn’t pass without celebration as an enthusiastic group of people, which included the Polish ambassador Maciej Chmielinski, gathered at Thredbo last week to mark the milestone.

Kosciuszko-National-Park-walk-Snowy-Mountains
Photo courtesy of Snowy Mountains Tourism

 

The Polish connection harks back to explorer Sir Pawel Edmund de Strzelecki who – during a geographical survey of NSW back in 1840 – decided to bestow Australia’s tallest mountain peak at 2228ms with the name Kosciuszko after Polish cultural and political hero Tadeusz Kosciuszko.

It has been suggested that as Strzelecki made his way over the southeastern portion of the Great Dividing Range he named the highest peak “Koscuizko” because of its resemblance to the mound raised by the citizens of Krakow in Poland, in tribute to Tadeusz Kosciuszko who died in 1817, his remains buried among the kings tombs in nearby Wawel Cathedral in 1819.

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The history of Kosciuszko National Park after European settlement was highly influenced by changes in land use and community values.

For almost 100 years after the first Europeans arrived in the 1820s, the Snowy Mountains were largely the preserve of Aboriginal people, graziers, miners and rural industry workers. Its pastoral heritage can be seen in alpine huts and historic buildings like Currango homestead.

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Scientific and tourism interests in the region grew in the early 1900s. It also marked the start of public concern about how land in the mountains was being used.

This led to the creation of ‘Snowy Mountains National Chase’. This 160km2 area around Mount Kosciuszko was preserved in 1906 under the Crown Lands Alienation Act 1861. This followed the creation of small reserves in the north, including Yarrangobilly Caves, that were gazetted for public recreation between 1882 and 1931. And as they say the rest is history.

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