Blackbutt Reserve has an interesting history. It grew from an ill-fated Kotara Subdivision which floundered during the depression. Through the efforts of New Lambton Council the land was purchased
for a public recreational reserve. The land was placed in the trusteeship of the Newcastle City Council on its inception in 1938. Around 1963 the Council commenced restoring the reserve which had become badly overtaken by weeds. Captive animal displays were introduced in the 1960's and barbeques and picnic tables were gradually added. Blackbutt occupies approximately 182 hectares of land 6 kilometres from Newcastle City centre. It is an undulating natural environment consisting of peaceful picnic settings, open spaces, bushwalking trails, and a diverse range of habitats and ecosystems. It also features wildlife exhibits which are modern, spacious and allow close viewing of the animals including koalas, wombats, native birds, emus and kangaroos.