Balls Head was celebrated in two poems by [[Henry Lawson]]. The second of these, 'The Sacrifice of Balls Head' protested against plans to build a coal bunkering depot there in 1916. It stands as an early articulation of conservationist sentiment. A Coal Loader was built by 1920.
The area was proclaimed as a public reserve by Premier in 1926. By then much of the forest that Lawson had described was gone. A Beautification Committee was established by 1931 led by conservationist [[Walter Froggatt]]. Native trees were reintroduced to the headland throughout the decade. Many of these were sourced from the [[Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney]]. A stone tablet acknowledging Froggatt's work was unveiled in 1938. It can still be seen near the car park at the southern end of the reserve.