Kurnell Peninsula Headland

Kurnell Headland (comprising Botany Bay National Park and the Sydney Water land at Potter Point), Kurnell Peninsula, is of outstanding heritage value to the nation as the site of first recorded contact between Indigenous people and Britain in eastern Australia. The place symbolically represents the birthplace of a nation, and the dispossession of Indigenous people. The first landing at Kurnell Peninsula in April 1770 by Lt James Cook has been commemorated since 1822. The Meeting Place Precinct, including Captain Cook’s Landing Place, features memorials and landscape plantings celebrating the events. Attributes specifically associated with its Indigenous values include the watering point and immediate surrounds, and the physical evidence of Indigenous occupation in the area broadly encompassed by the watering place and the landing stage. The story of Cook’s first landing on the east coast of Australia is nationally important and an integral part of Australian recorded history and folklore. Cooks’ running-survey of the east coast of Australia in 1770 and his survey of Botany Bay as a safe harbour, was an outstanding technical achievement, enabling the continental characteristics of Terra Australis to be defined for the first time, with the exception of Bass Strait, building on the work of earlier maritime explorers. Cook’s first landfall in Australia at Botany Bay in 1770 informed the subsequent British declaration of terra nullius and began the process which led to British possession of the Australian continent by 1830. The headland area of Kurnell Peninsula, comprising most of Botany Bay National Park, and described by Cook in his Journal as a significant coastal landmark at the entrance to Botany Bay, is significant to the nation as the destination of the First Fleet under Captain Arthur Phillip in 1787.

Government evidence of impact of climate change:

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  • NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, Kamay Botany Bay National Park Planning Considerations

    Sea level rise associated with climate change (see Box 8) is an emerging threat to the park.

    Box Climate change Human induced climate change is listed as a key threatening process under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 and habitat loss caused by human induced greenhouse gas emissions is listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

    Climate change projections for the Sydney region by 2050 (DECCW 2010) include the climate is virtually certain to be hotter the magnitude of projected increases ranges from 1.5 to 3 C there is a likely increase in summer rainfall and a decrease in winter rainfall increased evaporation is likely to lead to drier conditions in spring sea level is virtually certain to keep rising.

    Increased temperatures and altered fire regimes are likely to impact ecosystems.

    Very high to extreme fire danger days will increase by 10 to 50 .

    Threats to this community include invasion by weed species; particularly bitou bush and lantana; and altered fire regimes.

    Threats to this community include altered fire regimes (frequent burning).

    Threats to this community include weed invasion; such as lantana; and altered fire regimes (frequent burning).

    Seasonal drying is likely to degrade freshwater wetlands and higher temperatures are likely to cause many ecosystems to change or contract.

  • NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, Kamay Botany Bay National Park Plan of Management

    Climate change is an emerging challenge; with areas in the park likely to be impacted by sea level rise and increased coastal erosion risks.

    Monitor and respond to climate change a.

    For example; access to parts of the park may be closed during periods of bushfire risk; bad weather or during maintenance or improvement works.