Nature conservation

Parks, reserves and protected areas

Middle Head master plan: questions and answers

Learn more about the planning process for the Middle Head and Georges Head Precinct at Sydney Harbour National Park.

What is a master plan?

A master plan is a detailed document that addresses specific management, design and use issues at a particular site consistent with other planning documentation. It is not a statutory document.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) manages Middle Head and Georges Head in accordance with the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974. The objectives of the Act include the conservation of nature and objects, places or features of cultural value within the landscape and the fostering of public appreciation, understanding, enjoyment and use of nature and cultural heritage.

The Sydney Harbour National Park Plan of Management is a statutory document that was prepared in accordance with the Act to provide a 'scheme of operations' for the park including Middle and Georges Head. The plan was adopted in 2012 after extensive public consultation.

What will the Middle Head and Georges Head master plan cover?

The Middle Head and Georges Head master plan looks at:

  • linkages with neighbouring lands
  • opportunities for new and existing uses at the site including community uses
  • the conservation and adaptation of existing buildings in their historical and contemporary setting
  • landscape management, treatments and improvements
  • pedestrian improvements and upgrades to the walking tracks
  • improving signage and interpretation
  • improving parking and pedestrian safety.

The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust (Harbour Trust) and National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) hosted a joint planning and information day on Sunday 22 May 2016 to explain the planning processes of each organisation and to provide the community with an opportunity to look around the site and provide feedback on the planning and management of Middle Head. Feedback from this and other consultation forums with the community, local government and other organisations was considered in preparing the master plan for public comment.

When will the master plan be finalised and approved?

The Draft Middle Head and Georges Head master plan was on public exhibition from Thursday 3 November to Friday 16 December 2016. Public exhibition has now closed.

The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) will consider community and stakeholder feedback and finalise the master plan. The final plan will be published on the OEH website.

Does NPWS work with Sydney Harbour Federation Trust?

NPWS and the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust understand that visitors to Middle Head experience the whole landscape regardless of tenure. So we are continuing to work closely together to provide a seamless visitor experience.

NPWS and the Harbour Trust currently work together in a range of ways. This includes coordinating our planning and day-to-day activities. NPWS and the Harbour Trust meet together both formally and informally on a regular basis.

How will the heritage values of Middle Head and Georges Head be protected?

Middle Head is listed on the NSW State Heritage Register. It is covered by the Sydney Harbour National Park Middle Head Historic Buildings Conservation Management Plan.

Any major site works will be subject to rigorous environmental planning procedures in accordance with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. Also, when a place is listed on the State Heritage Register, the formal approval of the Heritage Council of NSW is required for any major work.

How will the draft master plan affect public access?

Many visitors already come to Middle Head to participate in a wide range of activities from volunteering, visiting the beach, socialising at cafes and restaurants and walking. The buildings, structures and landscape values that contribute to the state heritage significance of Middle Head and Georges Head will be preserved. We will maintain and improve public access at Middle Head as part of the master-planning process.

Page last updated: 19 December 2016