SHACK LIFE, The survival story of our communities




 National Trust Heritage Festival Shack walking tour - events





There are approximately 200 coastal shacks in the Royal National Park (RNP) in four communities from north to south:

  • Little Garie
  • Era
  • Burning Palms
  • Bulgo

The Protection League is the organization representing shackholders at Burning Palms, Era and Little Garie and this website refers to these three communities.  (The Bulgo community has its own organization, the Bulgo Protection League).

The shacks were built in the first half of the twentieth century, many during the depression. They were built by private citizens using their own initiative, resources and labour. None of the communities is accessible by road. All materials were carried down steep bush tracks or around the shoreline.

There were once such shacks up and down the NSW Coast, however most have now gone, swallowed up by coastal development.

The RNP Shacks are the largest remaining group of coastal shacks in Australia. Their heritage significance has been recognised with their listing on the State Heritage Register in 2012 and previously by the National Trust, the Australian Heritage Commission and Wollongong City Council. For details of the State Heritage register listing see Heritage page.


The Era - Burning Palms Protection League was formed in 1945 to prevent the destruction of the shack communities and is credited as being one of the earliest conservation organizations in NSW. The Protection League celebrated its 65th Anniversary in 2010.

 It has been successful in lobbying to:

The Protection League negotiated an Agreement in 2006 with the National Parks and Wildlife Division of the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW) for licences for the majority of shacks at Little Garie, Era and Burning Palms communities. These licences will be for a period of twenty years and require the shack owners to maintain the shacks according to agreed Condition Standards.

The Protection League will continue to work to have the heritage values of these unique communities protected for future generations.