The word Bouddi is the local Aboriginal name for the eastern headland of Maitland Bay and has become synonymous with the national park and the surrounding area. It has various meanings in local Aboriginal languages, and is thought to mean 'a heart' or 'water breaking over rocks'. A number of Aboriginal place names are still in use today including Bombi Point, Gerrin Point, Kourung Gourong Point and Mourawaring Point. The Bouddi Peninsula is a special landscape - around 100 Aboriginal sites have been recorded in the park and nearby areas and many more sites are likely to exist. Sites include rock engravings, grinding grooves, rock shelters with art (drawings and paintings), middens and other archeological deposits. Aboriginal sites provide a valuable insight into Aboriginal traditions, lifestyles and interaction with the environment and are an important part of today's Aboriginal culture.
Engravings Flat, exposed areas of Hawkesbury sandstone provided an ideal 'canvas' for Aboriginal artists. The Sydney Rock Engravings, as they are now known, have a distinctive style which is unique in Australia and the rest of the world. Figures are often life size or larger with some measuring up to 20 metres long. Figures most commonly depicted in engravings on the Bouddi Peninsula are fish, whales and shields. The engravings were probably made by first drawing the outline of a figure with charcoal or ochre, then using a hard pointed stone to peck a series of holes along the outline. Some figures can still be found at this stage of preparation, but in most cases the stone between the holes was rubbed away, either when the engraving was first made or during later visits.
The waters of the Hawkesbury River, Broken Bay and the Pacific Ocean provided an abundance of marine life and a plentiful food source for local Aboriginal people. Evidence from middens shows that fish (including eels, stingrays and sharks) were the principal diet during the Summer months. Schnapper and black bream were the most common fish, followed by leatherjacket, wrasse, rock cod and groper. Shellfish were also an important part of in the local diet, most commonly oysters, mussels, limpets, turban shells, triton shells and pipis. Cuttlefish, squid and octopus were also undoubtedly part of the menu.
The first European records of the Bouddi Peninsula were made by Captain James Cook on his journey up the east coast of Australia in 1770. He noted the three bluff points north of Broken Bay as Cape Three Points. This cape comprises almost half the coastline of the Bouddi Peninsula. European settlement in the area began in the 1820s with subsistence farming, where the main source of income was timber getting, boat building and gathering shells for lime production. Settlement and development were slow in the area due to its unsuitability for agriculture and the limited boat access from Sydney. In 1891 the population in the MacMasters Beach area was only 11 and in the Killcare/Wagstaffe area only 22. Following the completion of the railway through Gosford in 1889 and the construction of the Scenic Road in the late 1920s, residential subdivisions were carried out in areas adjacent to the present park. Development was mainly confined to the waterfront until the 1960s, when the Scenic Road from Kincumber to Killcare was sealed. Construction of the Rip Bridge in 1974 helped make the Bouddi Peninsula a popular residential area for holiday houses, permanent residents and commuters as home builders were attracted by the scenic and recreational values of the area. As a result, the district has had an extremely high building rate over the last twenty years or so, rapidly turning the park into a natural island amidst residential development.