Mount Imlay National Park
The top of Mt Imlay offers great views of the coast and forest, and the summit area supports a population of extremely rare Eucalyptus imlayensis. Aboriginal people know the mountain as Balawan, a powerful spiritual place of great significance. The mountain is named after the three Imlay brothers, who played an important part in opening the Eden-Monaro district to European settlement in the 1830s and 40s.
This park is near...
Eden (30 km, 25 minutes)
Best access routes
Head south from Eden along the Princes Highway, or north from the Victorian border. Turn off at Burrawang Road.
Road quality: unpaved sections
Facilities & things to do
>>Picnics & barbecues
Safety in the park
Take special care on the last 500 m of the summit walking track as it follows a rocky, razor-backed ridge to the trig station. Carry water with you.
Native plant communities
>>Reptiles and amphibians
Culture & history
The park area since colonisation
The remoteness of the far south coast and lack of communications with Victoria and Sydney slowed its pastoral development, but a very important whaling industry developed. Local Aboriginal people were often involved in whaling as equal partners.
Alexander, Peter and George Imlay arrived in Australia from Scotland in 1829, 1830 and 1833 respectively. Within a few years, Peter had established a whaling and pastoral business near Twofold Bay. He was soon joined by George. Meanwhile Alexander was setting up pastoral and trading enterprises on the Monaro plains and in Van Dieman's Land (Tasmania).
The family's empire grew rapidly during the next decade, and then collapsed. By 1844 they were left with only four properties covering 15,000 hectares near Bega, and a few properties in Van Dieman's Land.
An unfinished house at Bittangabee Bay on the coast is thought to have been built by the Imlay brothers. Boats stationed here and at Mowarry Point (now part of Ben Boyd National Park) could hunt northward migrating whales before the crews at Twofold Bay, giving the Imlays a commercial advantage. Benjamin Boyd sent a whaling boat to Bittangabee in 1844 to compete with the Imlay crews. He took over the site in 1848 after tragedy hit the Imlay family.
Peter was shipwrecked off the coast of New Zealand in 1846. Alexander died in 1847, just three and a half years after the birth of his only son. George shot himself nine months later on what is now called Dr George Mountain overlooking Bega, after developing a terminal illness.
History of the park
Mt Imlay National Park was dedicated in 1972 and now covers an area of 4822 hectares.
In the late 1960s one of the major challenges for the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the conservation movement and the government was the protection of a significant portion of the state's remaining natural coastal lands before they were lost to development. At the time hardly any of the coastline was protected and pro-development momentum was increasing. Once remote areas of the coast were the focus of residential and tourism developments, and forestry activities threatened natural lands.
The south coast received its fair share of attention with areas of coastal crown land being set aside for reserves under the National Parks and Wildlife Act. The first major breakthrough came in 1970 following the completion of investigative work in the region. In July that year this lead to the government's decision to protect 37 km of ocean frontage by establishing conservation reserves over some 21,450 hectares. Parks established at this time included Ben Boyd and Mt Imlay national parks.
Mt Imlay National Park now forms part of a system of national parks and reserves that protect the coastline and ranges between Moruya and the East Gippsland region of Victoria. These parks include the adjacent South East Forests National Park, Eurobodalla National Park, Mimosa Rocks National Park, Bournda National Park, Bournda Nature Reserve, Ben Boyd National Park, Nadgee Nature Reserve, along with Croajingalong National Park and Cape Conran Coastal Park in Victoria.
Information for this National Park has been supplied courtesy of The New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service