The Belair National Park is located 13km South of Adelaide. It covers a large area of around 835 hectares. Anybody who has been to the area can confirm that is a spectacular, natural destination that caters for all kinds of people.
How much do you know about the park?
I'm sure you've seen the great recreational aspects such as the tennis courts, walking trails, bike trails, and picnic locations. But, have you ever thought about the history and significance of Belair National Park?
Image: Emma Jane Warren
1) It's got significant history.
The first known European people to visit the Belair region were crewmen from the Coromandel ship in 1837. Belair National Park was then proclaimed in 1891.
It was the first ever national park in South Australia, the second in Australia, and the tenth in the world.
2) It's popular
Reeaalllyy popular. It's been estimated that more than 250,000 people visit Belair each year. That's a quarter of a million. But with the extensive road networks that have been developed in the area, and its close proximity to Adelaide city, it isn't that surprising.
It also has a number of significant heritage attractions which attract visitors. This includes Old Government House and the State Flora Nursery.
3) It's got some spectacular wildlife
The exact number of how many species live in the Belair National Park is uncertain - but it's definitely more than hundreds. There's at least five species of snake, around 200 species of bird, and six species of bat.
Some of the native animals to Belair include Western Grey Kangaroos, short-beaked echidnas, ringtail and brushtail possums, and yellow-footed antechinuses.
4) It's threatened
Just like most national parks, Belair has had, and still has some challenges.
One of the major concerns is the endangered southern brown bandicoot. These little mammals only live for two to three years. And there aren't many of them left. They are threatened due to vegetation clearing, inappropriate fire regimes (too many fires can
destroy their habitat), and predation by foxes and cats.
There are also a number of invasive weeds, like the Hypericum Perforatum (a tall, yellow weed) that are taking over large sections of Belair. The natural ecosystems are being disturbed and destroyed because of these weeds.
However, the volunteers working to maintain the natural beauty of Belair National Park are doing their best. There are actions and plans being regularly put in place to preserve the original fauna and study the endangered species.
5) It was almost made into residential area
In 1881, proposals were made to sell off parts of the park land and transform it into area for businesses and homes.
Luckily, conservationists, like Walter Gooch and James Page, opposed the idea. Two years later, an Act of Parliament was changed to prohibit it ever being sold.
Image courtesy of Peripitus, CC BY 3.0,https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3240128