Roto House celebration of 50 years of NSW National Parks | photos

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service celebrated its 50th anniversary with a day of activities at the wonderful, historic Roto House in Port Macquarie.  

Since 1967 they have been proudly protecting and preserving Australia’s natural landscapes, wildlife, culture and heritage.

On Sunday October 10, people came to the Roto House which was built in 1890 by John Flynn, a land surveyor.  His family lived here until the 1970s.

The house is surrounded by 12 hectares of bush and parkland known as Macquarie Nature Reserve, which includes the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital.

One of the guides at Roto House is volunteer Margaret Hollis, originally from Yorkshire in England, who has lived in Australia for 49 years.

After she retired from nursing, Margaret, a history buff, became a guide in the old house.  She knew the last inhabitants, sisters Kathleen and Nora Flynn, who she met at the local Catholic Church.

“They were ladies,” recalled Margaret.  

“They wore white gloves and long dresses and beautiful little lace-up shoes.  They were very friendly people, They used to welcome all the new businesses that opened up in Port Macquarie.”

Another volunteer, Peta MacDonald, loves meeting people from all over the world who come to Roto House.

“To Europeans, this house in young, but in Port Macquarie, there is so little of our history left.  Most of what we had is gone,” she said.

There were a host of free activities for children and adults including 

  • Aboriginal cultural dancing and didgeridoo performance
  • Aboriginal storytelling
  • Koori Olympics
  • children's native animal mask making
  • WilderQuest nature awareness activity
  • guided tours through Historic Roto House, Koala Hospital and educational displays
  • A special 50 years photo presentation of our wonderful NSW national parks.

Volunteers from Tacking Point Lions served free tea, coffee and cake and a sausage sizzle, and there was music.

“It’s a great chance to learn about Aboriginal culture and historical heritage in this amazing region,” said Steve Atkins, area manager of National Parks and Wildlife Service.

“It’s also a celebration acknowledging staff members past and present and community groups which help us.

“Roto House is a really special place and a fantastic example of the history of the area.  We’re lucky to have assets like this to remind us of the years and days gone by.”

Volunteers with the NPWS work as guides in Roto House and Sea Acres and some work in bush regeneration and more are always welcome.

To find out more, contact the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre on 6582 3355, or email


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