Iloura Reserve | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Iloura Reserve

Item details

Name of item: Iloura Reserve
Other name/s: Peacock Point, Illoura
Type of item: Landscape
Group/Collection: Parks, Gardens and Trees
Category: Urban Park
Location: Lat: -33.8585696256334 Long: 151.196081607785
Primary address: 10-20 Weston Street, Balmain East, NSW 2041
Parish: Petersham
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Leichhardt
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
 1 DP113249
 1 DP189867
 1 DP708327
 2 DP708327
 461 DP752049
 462 DP752049
 463 DP752049
 4 DP82496
 1 DP86644
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
10-20 Weston StreetBalmain EastLeichhardtPetershamCumberlandPrimary Address
Edward StreetBalmain EastLeichhardt  Alternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Leichhardt Municipal CouncilLocal Government 

Statement of significance:

Iloura Reserve is an outstanding twentieth century urban park that was an important forerunner to the implementation of the Sydney Bush School landscape design philosophy in public parks. Illoura Reserve is a seminal work of landscape architecture by one of the pioneers of the Sydney Bush School movement, Bruce Mackenzie, who created a landscape which was instrumental in changing public expectations in the design of public open space.

Iloura Reserve was part of a movement towards environmentally conscious landscape design that was respectful of the special qualities existing in a place; retaining natural rock formations; reintroducing native vegetation; and interpreting the former industrial character of the place through the use of robust recycled timbers and sandstone blocks. The reserve was designed to provide an alternative to the ordered European based designs common in public parks at that time and provided the park user with a bush retreat within the city.

The reserve is held in very high esteem by the landscape and architecture professions and by the local community of East Balmain as well as the wider community of Sydney.
Date significance updated: 23 Jan 14
Note: There are incomplete details for a number of items listed in NSW. The Heritage Division intends to develop or upgrade statements of significance and other information for these items as resources become available.

Description

Designer/Maker: Bruce Mackenzie
Builder/Maker: Frank McWilliam, Ted Motley
Construction years: 1970-
Physical description: Illoura Reserve was constructed on an abandoned waterfront site known as Peacock Point that was reclaimed for public use by creation of a public park. The site had been stripped of all indigenous vegetation and used as an industrial site and then abandoned and fenced off. The lessee, Maritime Services Board, in 1970 instigated a clean-up and landscaping project before it handed the land over to the Council as a public reserve.
A combination of responding to the site, identifying and relating to the environment and paying respect to the future visitors inspired the vision for the reserve at Peacock Point. Although its natural features had been removed the underlying sandstone survived: banks of fill were scraped back to reveal the rock features beneath. Stone steps and paths were incorporated into the levels emphasising the natural stone. A large viewing platform and stairs constructed from recycled wharf timbers connects the levels and celebrates the unique waterfront location and its views to the city. Construction materials consisted of materials recycled from the site and other demolition sites around Sydney. Using a language of sandstone retaining walls and flagging, massive timbers and native plants with large areas of mulch rather than grass, the park gave the harbour side Peacock Point location back to the community along with an entirely new experience of enjoying an urban bush environment.
Mackenzie set about re-establishing an abstracted version of 'bushland' using local plant species which linked the park to the other headlands in the harbour:
"There is a distinct ecologically-based progression from Casuarinas at the water's edge, through leptospermum and westringias, to melaleucas and eucalypts. The mature figs which edge both parks enhance the sense of progression from the water's edge to the tall canopy of the woodland, and define the beginning of the urban areas." (Mackenzie) Mackenzie not only used the materials of Sydney Harbour such as sandstone blocks and wharf timbers but he created an urban park with a strong sense of its location on Sydney Harbour.
A restoration plan for the reserve designed by Bruce Mackenzie and Associates was recently adopted by Leichhardt Municipal Council and will be implemented to ensure the original design intent is conserved and reinstated.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The reserve is in fair condition, some trees in the denser planting areas have been removed illegally. Leichhardt Council has a restoration plan which will reinstate these trees.
Date condition updated:18 Jul 13
Modifications and dates: Tree removal
Further information: A restoration plan by Bruce Mackenzie and Associates is to be implemented by Leichhardt Council in the near future.
Current use: Public Reserve
Former use: Shipwright's yard, lumber yard, storage. Maritime Services Board timber yard.

History

Historical notes: The traditional custodians of the peninsula now known as Balmain are the Gadigal and Wangal people of the Eora language group. There is archaeological evidence of human occupation in the Sydney area dated at least 20,000 years ago. Being among the first to encounter the British the Wangal population was also one of the first to be highly impacted by disease and dispossession. Following the Second World War Aboriginal people began to move back to the cities and settled in the suburbs of Redfern, Alexandria and Balmain. (Goodall & Cadzow:173).

Prior to 1835 the landscape of Balmain was rocky, with dense tea tree scrub spotted with eucalypts and abundant flora and fauna. (Reynolds and Irving: 4) The Sydney Gazette of 1818 shows a grant to William Balmain: an estate consisting of 550 acres at the Northern Boundary known by the name of Balmain's Farm. (Reynolds and Flottman: 92) Prior to returning to England, Balmain transferred the land to John Gilchrist. Gilchrist subsequently subdivided the land and in 1836 auctioneer George William Paul purchased Lot 4 and Lot 6 of the first portion to be divided into 22 lots located on the Balmain East end of the peninsula. In 1855 Morts Dock opened in Waterview Bay and was indicative of the intense maritime industrial expansion on the edges of the peninsula.

The suburban development of Balmain commenced from 1836 and grew slowly until the new industrial development of the 1850s onwards drew an influx of workers and their families to live on the peninsula. A ferry service commenced about this time connecting the suburb to the city bringing workers for the shipyards along the harbour foreshores. As the population increased so did the demand for services - houses, shops, churches, schools, police, a hospital and local government with Balmain Council being formed in 1860. Social institutions also arose at this time and many clubs were formed including rowing, swimming, bowling and cricket. Institutes such as the Balmain Literary Institute, the Balmain Working Men's Institute and Balmain School of Arts were also established. (Leichhardt Council website)

The lots between Peacock Point and Darling Street and Weston Street which had been laid out in 1836 had a number of owners. Immediately adjacent to Illoura Reserve was 2-8 Weston Street which was purchased in 1840 by shipwright John Bell and on which he built a stone wharf and shipwright's yard. Bell died in 1847 and the shipwright's yard was run by his sons until 1883 when it was sold to J. Fenwick and Co.

The southern end of the peninsula is named after Captain John Jenkins Peacock who purchased the land in 1836. Peacock was the son of a convict and started his days as a farmer with a grant of 250 acres on the Hawkesbury. In 1834 he moved to Market Wharf after a time trading between the Hawkesbury and Sydney. Peacock was a merchant and owner of ships: he owned the barque Sir William Wallace and other vessels and he traded in New Zealand where he bought wharves and land, he also had land on the Parramatta River and in the Hunter Valley. He was a licensee of the Dundee Arms in Gloucester Street, Sydney in 1840 and in 1842 he was appointed a director of the Union Assurance Co. He was an Alderman on City of Sydney Council from 1842 to 1843. In 1836 Peacock purchased four acres of the first sub-division of Balmain, opposite his Miller's Point wharf. By the 1840s it became evident he had spread his business empire too thin and by September 1843 he was facing insolvency. He sold off his 38 Balmain lots in 1841. (Sydney's Aldermen: http://www.sydneyaldermen.com.au/alderman/john-peacock/)

The 1888 map of Peacock Point shows that there had been land reclamation and a large amount of building construction by this time. The natural shore line is indicated on the map set well back from the reclaimed land edge in all but two locations, the largest of which is opposite William Street. By 1943 the whole foreshore of the site had all been reshaped and extended out into the bay. 1943 aerial photography clearly indicates that the maritime industrial use of the site continued well into the 20th century. Ships can be seen tied up to wharfs, one of which appears to have a crane for loading and unloading ships.

The first Harbour Master was appointed to the Port of Sydney in 1811. Ninety years later the Sydney Harbour Trust took over the administration of the Port of Sydney. In 1936 the Maritime Services Board was formed to take control of all NSW ports with the exception of Port Kembla. The MSB was responsible for ports with jurisdiction over all navigable waters until it was dissolved in 1995 under the Port Corporatisation and Waterways Management Act 1995 (http://www.maritime.nsw.gov.au/about/history.html)

The foreshore land at Weston Street and Peacock Point came under the management of the MSB and was used as a lumber yard until State Planning Authority planners Nigel Ashton and Lindsay Robertson acquired the site along with other harbour side sites for public open space. In 1968 Ashton engaged Bruce Mackenzie to undertake the landscape design which was constructed in two stages: Stage one in 1970 and Stage Two in 1981. (Morris, Hericon amd Spearitt 123)

The Landscape
The influence of the Modern Movement in landscape design in Australia was seen early in the 20th Century in the works of Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Griffin. At Castlecrag they demonstrated how buildings could be integrated with the natural environment. After World War II young Australian architects, like Richard Clough, Bruce Rickard, Peter Spooner and Allan Correy, returned from overseas with qualifications in landscape architecture, having been exposed to the Modern Movement. In the 1950s Rex Hazelwood advised Willoughby Municipal Council, planting spotted gums, turpentines and other native trees. Modern architect designed homes of the 1940s and 1950s were set in contrast to a natural setting or were integrated with a natural setting; both approaches relied upon the retention of native trees whilst building. (Morris, Hericon amd Spearitt 112) In the 1940s and 1950s notable Australian landscape designer Edna Walling had begun to regularly use Australian plants in her designs and advocated for them in her book The Australian Roadside (1952).

The 1960s and the 1970s saw the rise of the Sydney School of architecture. This was an architecture practised within the Sydney region that expressed a natural affiliation with the Australian landscape; it integrated nature and architecture through spatial arrangements and choice of rustic simple materials and the application of craftsmanship. For example Tocal College received both the Sulman and Blacket medals in 1965 and is credited with firmly establishing the Sydney School idiom: "Expressive structural use of robust and enduring materials seamlessly integrated within its landscape setting was a groundbreaking approach to institutional design." (Tocal College SHR Listing)

Meanwhile public attitudes to the urban environment began to change; by the 1960s and 1970s the environmental movement was on the rise. The publication of Rachel Carson's influential book Silent Spring in 1962, the rise of environmental organisation Greenpeace, reaction in Tasmania to Lake Pedder and Franklin Dam projects and the rise of the Tasmania Greens political party were all indicators of the greater public awareness of the natural environment. The use of local plant species in private gardens was being popularised by Thistle Harris in her book Australian Plants for the Garden (1953); Betty Maloney and Jean Walker's books Designing Bush Gardens (1966) and More About Bush Gardens (1967) and Ellis Stones in her book Australian Garden Design (1971).

Likewise landscape practitioners like Bruce Mackenzie rejected the traditional design of urban parks which used introduced plants and formal spaces. Bruce Mackenzie describes this new way of thinking as a "respect for a spirit of place, the land, the genus loci." (Mackenzie: 15) Landscape architects began responding directly to the immediate site as well as having an appreciation of the broader landscape. The movement took on the name "Sydney Bush School".
Mackenzie describes the impact and the essential elements of his Sydney Harbour Park designs:
"Sydney Harbour Parks turned out to be a somewhat ground breaking realisation using local materials in a direct response to the immediate environment and the elements of the harbour landscape. The ideas had been developing in previous years with prior experience at Commodore Heights, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, and then current involvement with Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport (not documented).

"Plant species, sandstone walls and cliff faces, wharf poles and jetties, combined to be so evocative of the harbour's sense of place. Assembled together in a way that had not been done before, recreating the charms of the Sydney natural bush and sandstone, much-loved harbour side places and childhood bush playgrounds. Another important aspect was that the flow of landscape design responded to the informal thrusts of the existing site, to its vague shapes and levels.

"Human patterns of usage - paths and walks, lookouts, picnic areas and car parks touched a chord of recognition for professionals and public alike - this is our landscape, this can be truer to our character than English parks or French formality, and so many times more pleasurable." (Mackenzie: 38)

Mackenzie coined a term for these park designs "Alternative Parkland". Illoura was the first of these harbour side parks or "alternative parklands". Illoura Reserve has been described by the National Trust of Australia (NSW) as a seminal work and is described by the Australian Institute of Landscape Architecture as a critical contribution to Australian landscape architecture.

Few people in Sydney at that time could identify local plant species and very few nurseries propagated them. The concept had never been tested in public parks, let alone sites which had disturbed and possibly contaminated soil conditions. Finn Thorvaldson, a young architect who assisted Mackenzie on the project, describes how they obtained Casuarina glauca (Swamp Oak) for the project: " the only thing that would grow close to the water, because of the water table, was Swamp Oak, Casuarina glauca, and of course no nursery had Casuarina glauca, it didn't exist in their vocabulary, but Bruce did employ somebody to collect the seed for that and actually grow it, so that was grown in a nursery for a year and then planted out. So it was a slightly different approach to going to buy plants off the shelf as you do now." Over the years Mackenzie was the first to grow and test other local plant species that are commonly used today, including Lomandra longifolia, Westringia fruticosa and Cissus antarctica. (Buchanan: 154-159)

Mackenzie's design approach at Peacock Point represents an early attempt to balance ecological, social and aesthetic values, although he would not have described it in those terms. In ecological terms the planting of large numbers of local trees and shrubs in a thick layer of recycled mulch created a better microclimate in the park and reduced weeding, mowing and watering requirements. Apart from reinstating the aesthetic qualities of 'the bush', the choice of local plant species was seen as a way to attract birds and insects. Many of the materials such as telegraph poles, wharf piles, dimensioned sandstone and mulch were recycled, made possible by the abundance of second-hand materials generated by the demolition of old buildings in Sydney during the 1960s and 1970s. Although terms like 'sustainability' and 'biodiversity' had not yet been coined, Peacock Point was sustainable in terms of construction methods, materials and maintenance. (Buchanan: 154-159).

In terms of community, Peacock Point was a clear statement of egalitarianism: it provided the residents of Balmain, an old and densely populated suburb, with a local park that was safe, accessible, inviting and comfortable, and one which provided a variety of spaces and range of activities for all ages. The park also gave unrestricted access to the harbour, allowing all members of the public, not just a privileged few, to enjoy the panoramic views of the city from the upper levels and to gain access to the waterfront at the lower levels. In terms of delight, Mackenzie created a "remarkable spatial quality due to the Harbour location, the sandstone cliffs and outcropping, and the complex sequence of spaces created by the use of built structures and planting". (Buchanan: 154-159)

Bruce Mackenzie and the Sydney Bush School
Bruce Mackenzie was born in 1932 and raised in a suburb where the bush was still a part of its framework. His first experience of being closely involved in the detail of 'the bush' and the design of buildings was in the design of his own house with his wife Beverley on the rough bushland block at Dartford Road, Thornleigh. In 1960 he opened a landscape contracting business and began working with, leading modernist architects such as Harry Seidler, Sidney Ancher, Mortlock Murray & Woolley, Don Gazzard, Michael Dysart and Peter Johnson. (Buchanan: 122).

At this time he also developed a close relationship with Alistair Knox and Gordon Ford in Eltham, Melbourne, and through them he experienced the 'bush garden' movement, originating in the work of Edna Walling and Ellis Stones. Mackenzie and Knox both shared a passion for the search for an 'Australian Identity'. (Buchanan: 122).

In 1964 Mackenzie was the landscape architect for four Pettit and Sevitt houses in Richmond Avenue, St Ives. Here he minimised the building footprint so that the natural landscape features of the sites were kept intact and created a mature garden on open-day. In the same year he designed a lookout area at Commodore Heights, West Head with architect Russell Smith for Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park Trust, expressing a subtle adaptation of modernist principles to a living site, and was believed to be a prototype for Peacock Point, Balmain. (Buchanan: 125).

Between 1966 and 1971 Mackenzie worked on the campus of the Teachers College at Lindfield ( UTS Kuring-Gai) here he showed how cooperation between the architect and landscape architect with strict protection of the adjoining bushland and sympathetic planting of rooftop gardens could achieve an 'intimate fusion of landscape and noble architecture' (Buchanan: 158) In 1967 he designed a significant garden on the roof space of the modernist Readers Digest Building by architect John James.

Together with landscape architects, Bruce Rickard, Harry Howard, and Allen Correy, Bruce Mackenzie established what became known as the Sydney Bush School of landscape architecture. These four landscape architects designed and constructed public landscapes in Sydney which combined the "universal values of modernism and the specific qualities of the Australian landscape". (Buchanan: 115) This approach was intimately tied to the Sydney School of architecture which was also establishing itself during this time. In many instance the architects and landscape architects worked closely together. An influential part in the development of the philosophy behind these design schools was the interaction between colleagues which took place at the offices at 7 Ridge Street, North Sydney. Bruce Mackenzie shared the Ridge Street offices with like minded architects, designers and artists such as Ian McKay, Harry Howard, Bruce Rickard and Harry Seidler and photographer David Moore. Designed as a purpose built space for a community of designers the building was an incubator for design ideas. Many of the landscape architects who went on to build the profession in Australia including; Helen Evans, Finn Thorvaldson, Catherin Bull, Nell Rickard, Victoria Grounds, Ian Olsen and Jane Coleman, worked with Mackenzie in this office. (Buchanan: 149).

In an interview with Barbara Buchanan in Bruce Mackenzie describes this time at Ridge Street: "There was that sense of being part of a group of fellow travellers who comprehended the same language and the same aspirations, the same projections . . . And of course we are not just talking about bush, but we are talking about design and planning, aesthetics and the circumstances and the environment of society, of the community, of the way you lived and worked and the way you played. It was that sort of association of people (Mackenzie 2002 Interview p7)." (Buchanan: 150).

Mackenzie's practical knowledge of the indigenous species of Sydney's bush and landscape construction made him a person of influence amongst his peers who often consulted him in these matters. Mackenzie in turn enjoyed the opportunity to have access to other designers and modernist ideology. The Sydney Bush School evolved through this cross fertilisation of ideas. His first major work whilst in the offices at 7 Ridge Street was Peacock Point.

The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) voted Sydney Harbour Parks (Iloura Reserve and Yurulbin Park, Bruce Mackenzie and Associates, 1970-74) were selected as one of the most significant projects between 1966 and 2000 (Saniga, 2016, 27).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Parramatta River-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Other open space-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Changing the environment-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Changing the environment-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Cultural: Cliffs and escarpments influencing human settlement-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Cultural: Conserving and protecting natural features-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Maritime industry shipyard timber yards-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Significant Places How are significant places marked in the landscape by, or for, different groups-Monuments and Sites
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Developing local, regional and national economies-National Theme 3
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Sydney and Australian Landmark-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes of industrial production-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings (none)-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes of passive recreation-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes of cultural and natural interaction-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes of urban amenity-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Places important in developing conservation processes-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes demonstrating styles in landscape design-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes and parklands of distinctive styles-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes of scenic beauty-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Building settlements, towns and cities-National Theme 4
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Changing land uses - from suburban lots to public gardens-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Sea Wall-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Resuming private lands for public purposes-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Naming places (toponymy)-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Subdivision of urban estates-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages 19th century suburban developments-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages 19th Century Infrastructure-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Creating landmark structures and places in suburban settings-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Developing ports-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Suburban Consolidation-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages living in the suburbs-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Shaping coastal settlement-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages (none)-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Beautifying towns and villages-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Urban landscapes inspiring creative responses-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Role of transport in settlement-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Developing suburbia-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages local government-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages community park-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Landscaping - 20th century post WW2-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Designing landscapes in an exemplary style-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Building in response to natural landscape features.-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Vernacular structures and building techniques-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Parks and public gardens-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Landscaping - 20th c bush garden style-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. work of stonemasons-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Outdoor relief-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Activities associated with relaxation and recreation-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation leisure-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Gathering at landmark places to socialise-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Enjoying public parks and gardens-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Visiting lookouts and places of natural beauty-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Visiting heritage places-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Visiting heritage places-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation community park-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going to the park-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going to the park-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Developing local clubs and meeting places-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Places of informal community gatherings-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Bruce Mackenzie, landscape architect-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Illoura Reserve provides physical evidence of the 1970s practice of converting disused industrial waterfront sites into public parks. The reserve design inspired a change in public attitudes to public open space resulting in the desire for an alternative to the ordered neat environments common to public parks and heralded the beginning of the concept of ecologically sustainable design used in public projects.
Illoura Reserve shows a high degree of creative or technical achievement for the 1970s. The design of the reserve was instrumental in changing the approach to design of harbour-side parks and other public spaces.
The Sydney Bush School approach to landscape design was indicative of the increased usage of indigenous plants and their introduction into mainstream gardens.
Illoura Reserve influenced later generations of landscape designers in Australia. Illoura Reserve at Peacock Point is described by the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects to be a critical contribution to Australian landscape architecture.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The designer of Illoura Reserve, Bruce Mackenzie, is one of Australia's most influential landscape design practitioners and was a pioneer of the landscape movement known as the Sydney Bush School. The Oxford Companion to Australian Gardens (Aitken and Looker) describes Mackenzie as one of the foremost practioners in the 1960s promoting an approach to landscape design which respected and harmonised with natural environments.
The reserve is associated with Bruce Mackenzie and Associates and other design practices working at 7 Ridge Street, North Sydney who were pioneers of the Sydney Regional School of architecture and the Sydney Bush School of landscape architecture.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Illoura Reserve is a seminal work of Australian landscape architecture demonstrating the Sydney Bush School which inspired environmentally conscious landscape design that made use of indigenous flora and was respectful of the special qualities existing in a place such as natural rock formations.
The reserve has the special quality of feeling "natural" whilst in reality being a highly designed landscape.
Illoura Reserve has compositional qualities such as its layout, transition between levels, views, grouping of trees, texture of ground surfaces such as stone paths and mulched beds, exposed rock and stone walls and planting zones indicative of natural bush, which combine to delight the senses of the park user and provide an escape from the city environment.
The original construction of the reserve demonstrated how indigenous plants could be propagated and planted to inspire a feeling of the original natural bush setting of a place, at a time when indigenous plants were largely unavailable from nurseries. Through the use of recycled building materials, such as wharf timbers and sandstone blocks, the reserve design also interprets the former industrial character of the site and its harbour side location.
Located on a promontory in East Balmain in a central location on Sydney Harbour the reserve is a landmark green space.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The landscape and architecture professions have very high degree of attachment for the place.
The community has demonstrated its affection and attachment to the reserve in the successful lobbying to have 6-8 Weston Street adjacent to Illoura Reserve purchased by Council for use as an extension to the reserve.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
There is no archaeological potential as the site has been reshaped for industrial use and then for the design of the park.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Illoura Reserve has rarity value as a Sydney Bush School foreshore park on Sydney Harbour.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Illoura Reserve is a fine example of the Sydney Bush School of landscape architectural design in New South Wales, which had a unique respect for the immediate environment and the characteristic spirit of the broad landscape beyond and found inspiration in the Hawkesbury Sandstone landscape type and its rock formations and flora predominant in the Sydney landscape.
Illoura Reserve is important as the first example of the implementation of the Sydney Bush School landscape design philosophy in a public park on the foreshore of Sydney Harbour.
Integrity/Intactness: Highly intact.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act - Site Specific Exemptions HERITAGE ACT 1977

ORDER UNDER SECTION 57(2)
To Grant Site Specific Exemptions from Approval

Illoura Reserve


SHR No. 1923

I, the Minister for Heritage, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, in pursuance of section 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977 (NSW), do, by this my order, grant an exemption from section 57(1) of that Act in respect of the engaging in or carrying out of any activities described in Schedule "C" by the [owner, mortgagee or lessee of the land] described in Schedule "B" on the item described in Schedule "A".




The Hon Robyn Parker, MP.
Minister for Heritage


Sydney, 4 Day of November 2013


SCHEDULE "A"

The item known as Illoura reserve, situated on the land described in Schedule "B".


SCHEDULE "B"

All those pieces or parcels of land known as Lot 1 of Deposited Plan 113249, Lot 1 of Deposited Plan 189867, Lot 1 of Deposited Plan 708327, Lot 2 of Deposited Plan 708327, Lot 463 of Deposited Plan 752049, Lot 461 of Deposited Plan 752049, Lot 462 of Deposited Plan 752049, Lot 4 of Deposited Plan 82496, Lot 1 of Deposited Plan 86644, Parish of Petersham, County of Cumberland shown on the plan catalogued HC 2602 in the office of the Heritage Council of New South Wales.

SCHEDULE "C"

All works specified in the document Illoura Reserve Design for Restoration by Bruce Mackenzie Design in conjunction with Environmental Partnership NSW for Leichhardt Council dated February 2012. Detail of which is provided in the document Balmain East Foreshores Masterplan - Broad order of cost estimate by Atlus Page Kirkland dated August 2012.
Nov 29 2013

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0192329 Nov 13 1625399

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenBarbara Buchanan2009Modernism meets the Australian Bush: Harry Howard and the Sydney Bush School of Landscape Architecture
WrittenBruce Mackenzie2011Design with Landscape
WrittenCatherine Bull2001Valuing the contribution of landscape architectural works to Australian culture.
WrittenHeather Goodall and Allison Cadzow2009Rivers and Resilience
WrittenHericon Consulting with Colleen Morris and Peter Spearritt2013The modern movement in NSW a thematic study and survey of places
WrittenLiechhardt Municipal Council2013Local History - Balmain View detail
WrittenRichard Aitken and Michael Looker2002The Oxford Companion to Australian Gardens
WrittenSaniga, Andrew2016'50/50: Significant Projects: 1966-2000'

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5061932
File number: 13/09939


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