Which was the World’s First National Park?

Bob Crombie, First National Park, October 2014

When people ask, “Which, of all the world’s national parks, was the first national park?” the obvious approach is to compare dates of establishment. Let’s look at four famous names: Yosemite 1864, Yellowstone 1872, Mackinac 1875, and Royal National Park, 1879. In each, the term ‘national park’ was used to mean a number of different things.

Royal & Yellowstone — The World’s First National Parks

Janine Kitson, Member of the National Parks Association of NSW

Based on the NPA course presented to the WEA, Sydney on 4 March, 2017. With special thanks to Robert Crombie, Sutherland Shire Environment Centre.

In 1879 NSW led the world by establishing Royal National Park – then known as ‘The National Park’. This was Australia’s first official national park and one of the first national parks in the world. The first national park in the world was Yellowstone, created in 1872. Sydney’s National Park was renamed ‘Royal National Park’ in 1955 in honour of Queen Elizabeth II’s 1954 Australian tour.