Victorians and our park system owe a lot to Dr Leonard Hart Smith, whose account of his time as Director of National Parks is now available for free on our website.
When Len Smith became Victoria’s second Director of National Parks in 1958, the then National Parks Authority was a new and poorly resourced body.
He worked in a political context where developers had close personal connections with cabinet ministers. He also inherited a system where existing parks had committees of management that resisted the authority being established in 1956.
In the 1980s, Dr Smith wrote a comprehensive account of his time as Director from 1958 to 1975. His daughter Helen Kosky and son Dr John Hart-Smith asked us to publish this history online, with their support.
The history, Building a National Parks Service in Victoria 1958-1975, is a valuable source of information about the development of the service, now part of Parks Victoria.
Dr Smith was also a keen photographer, as well as an authority on lyrebirds, and the book is largely illustrated with his own photos.
We encourage you to read Dr Smith’s history and reflect on the past and future of Victoria’s parks.