JOHN FORREST NATIONAL PARK is a national park in the Darling Scarp, 24km east of Perth, Western Australia. It was the first national park in Western Australia and the second in Australia after Royal National Park.
As early as 1898, the land was reserved for conservation and recreation. Two years later, it was named Greenmount National Park and several years later the name was changed to commemorate Sir John Forrest, the first Premier of Western Australia.
It is situated on the edge of the Darling Scarp east of Perth and north of the Great Eastern Highway. The suburb to the west is known as Swan View and to the south are the suburbs of Darlington and Glen Forrest. Hovea is a suburb to the east of the park.
History....It was dissected by the Eastern Railway when it was constructed in the 1890s and rail traffic passed through until 1966, when the line was closed due to the opening of the Avon Valley route. The alignment through the Swan View Tunnel and through the park was commonly known as the "National Park" railway line. The old tunnel:
During the Great Depression on the 1930s many features near the main park buildings were built as part of relief employment. Some have been restored. It also has a tavern. *It was a very popular railway excursion location while the railway was in existence (1890s to 1960s). Initially Hovea was the nearest railway station but in 1936 the National Park railway station was built. Also often photographed were National Park Falls and Hovea Falls.
After the railway line was closed and removed the formation became part of the Railway Reserves Heritage Trail vested in the Mundaring Shire Council. The section within the park is now known as the John Forrest Heritage Trail. The Glen Brook Walk Trail and the Eagle's View Walk trail are also within the park.
While larger kangaroos remain, significant populations of smaller marsupials have been decimated by foxes, feral cats and dogs in this park.
Drought and dieback have affected the jarrah forest and, at the edges of the park, introduced species of weed and problematic vegetation threaten the integrity of the park. Also with rationalisation within the government department that manages the park, earlier levels of staff have been reduced to minimal levels.
Significant damaging bushfires occurred in the western and northern sections of the park in the 1990s and early 2000s. In November, 2010 a bushfire, believed to have been deliberately lit, damaged a significant area of the park including part of the Eagle's View Trail.
Although the scenic drive through the park remains free, access to the tavern and facilities area require payment.
*I remember back in the 1940s, together with three friends, catching the train to John Forrest N.P. We spent the day there, swimming, eating our lunches and generally having a great day out. I am trying to recall if there was a shop on site ... I think perhaps there was unless we took our lunches with us, which people often did in those days.