Nature conservation

Parks, reserves and protected areas

Wianamatta Regional Park

This park was created in March 2008.

In March 2015, 237 hectares of land was transferred from Lend Lease to the National Parks and Wildlife Service. The land transfer increased the size of the park to just over 300 hectares.

Wianamatta Regional Park is located on the Cumberland Plain. The shale derived soils of the Cumberland Plain are much more productive than elsewhere in the sandstone dominated landscapes of the Sydney Basin. The site has a history of farming, timber cutting and from the outbreak of WWII to the late 1980s housed an explosives and munitions filing factory.

As a result of these uses the area that is now park has been closed to the public for more than 50 years. Although extensively cleared for agriculture and as part of the munitions storage, stands of Cumberland Plain vegetation were retained on the site. These have regenerated to a remarkable extent over the last decade and a half. The site now supports some of the best examples of endangered Cumberland Plain vegetation communities, including Alluvial Woodland, Shale Plains Woodland, Shale/Gravel Transition Forest and Cooks River/Castlereagh Ironbark Forest. Threatened animal species in the park include the Cumberland Land Snail, Broad-nosed Bat and Speckled Warbler.

In 2002 the St Mary's Development Agreement between the NSW Government and Lend Lease earmarked the land as a future reserve. When complete Wianamatta Regional Park will be 900 hectares, making it the largest regional park in Sydney.

How is the land being acquired?

The land will be transferred under a Deed of Transfer that provides for the early transfer of more than 680 hectares of land from Lend Lease to the Minister for inclusion in Wianamatta Regional Park. The result is that the community will be able to enjoy the Regional Park much sooner than expected.

How much land is being transferred?

63.5 hectares was gazetted as Regional Park in 2008.

237 hectares in the Blacktown Local Government Area was transferred to the park on 17 March 2015, increasing the park to around 300 hectares in total.

An additional 448 hectares will be available later in 2016 for transfer to the regional park. This will expand the park to around 750 hectares - or 83 per cent of what will eventually be established as a 900 hectare park.

What about the remaining 150 hectares?

Under the 2002 St Marys Development Agreement, the final 150 of the planned 900 hectare regional park will be transferred after Lend Lease has completed their major civil works in the adjoining suburbs. This is expected to be complete within the next five years.

What has happened since the land was transferred?

NPWS has been working on making the land ready to be opened to public. This includes the provision of facilities for people to enjoy, such as walking and cycling paths and picnic areas.

It has also begun working on conservation programs such as bush regeneration, weed management, bushfire hazard reduction, the management of the kangaroos and emus, threatened species protection and heritage conservation.

The NSW Government has invested more than $3.5 million in 2015/16 towards conservation works and the construction of visitor facilities and other essential park infrastructure.

What has happened so far?

The 2002 St Mary's Agreement, specified that land be transferred by site owner Lend Lease as soon as practicable. Land has not become available until all of the detailed designs, approvals and construction related to the urban development components of the project were completed.

These included challenging issues such as site remediation, service easements, flood mitigation and drainage works, construction access and encroachments. The Deed of Transfer provides a way of separating the core parts of the park where these issues have all been resolved from the final 150 hectares where design and approvals are still underway.

The Eastern Visitor Area (next to Ropes Crossing) was officially opened by the Minister for the Environment, the Hon Mark Speakman MP on Saturday 13 June 2015. The visitor area was closed temporarily to allow NPWS to build visitor facilities including barbeques, shelters, toilets, and carparks. These works are now finished.

 

When can I visit the regional park?

The Eastern Visitor Area (next to Ropes Crossing) is now open seven days a week between 8am and 5pm (or 6pm during daylight savings).

For the remainder of the park, NPWS has developed a Staging Plan (PDF 829KB) and Concept Designs (PDF 19.6MB) for the development of public access and development of visitor facilities over the next two years. Access to these areas will be staged so that people can safely enter the park as picnic facilities, tracks and other essential infrastructure are established in the Visitor Areas.

A walking and cycling track (PDF 4.9MB) that runs east-west across the park, linking the Western and Eastern Visitor Areas will be opened in 2017. Access to the Central Visitor Area (PDF 5.9MB) and a track from there to the Western Visitor Area will also be available in 2017.

What will I be able to do in Wianamatta Regional Park?

The park will offer a range of visitor experiences including bushwalking, cycling, and picnic and shelter facilities. These facilities will be nestled within the remnant bushland and open grasslands of the Eastern (PDF 6.3MB), Western (PDF 4.5MB) and Central (PDF 5.9MB) Visitor Areas.

Walking and cycling pathways, BBQs, public amenities and car parking will also be available in the Eastern and Western Visitor Areas.

The bushland between the Visitor Areas will be managed as a Conservation Area. The Conservation Area will be fenced to keep the kangaroos and emus in the best quality habitats. There will also be pedestrian and cycle access through the Conservation Area, restricted to defined tracks, where visitors will be able to experience first-hand the unique beauty of Cumberland Plain Woodland and kangaroos and other native animals that live in the park.

Heritage and interpretative walks will also be available that highlight and describe the important environmental features and the extensive Aboriginal and European heritage present within the park.

Can I walk my dog in Wianamatta Regional Park?

No. The kangaroos and emus that live within what will become Regional Park cannot be safely mixed with dogs and other pets. There are also a number of smaller threatened fauna within the park that are vulnerable to disturbance from cats and dogs.

What will the park opening hours be?

The Eastern Visitor Area (next to Ropes Crossing) will be open seven days a week between 8 am and 5pm (or 6pm during daylight savings).

What will happen to the remaining buildings?

Most of the buildings associated with Australian Defence Industry activities have been removed. Those that remain will be conserved as a tangible link to the history of the site. NPWS will look at options for adaptive re-use of the buildings to maintain their heritage values as well as investigating options for different services to visitors.

Will the fences remain?

A high fence will need to stay in place for the immediate future, to separate construction areas and to contain the kangaroos and emus within the Regional Park. Sections of the regional park where kangaroos and emus will be retained in the long term will continue to need high fences. In other areas, the high fences can be progressively replaced by lower fencing to show the boundary and stop vehicles entering some areas.

How will fire be managed in the new park?

NPWS will prepare a Reserve Fire Management Strategy for the Regional Park in liaison with the Rural Fire Service and Fire and Rescue NSW. A hazard reduction program will commence as soon as possible. This will provide mechanical clearing in asset protection zones and a carefully planned program of hazard reduction burning.

The hazard reduction program will also play a key role in the environmental restoration of the park, thinning areas of thick regrowth and encouraging a range of age classes within the vegetation.

How will NPWS manage the bushland?

The restoration of bushland in the regional park is an opportunity to apply the best techniques in bushland restoration to encourage the natural processes, while targeting weeds that impede regeneration. Our aim will be to guide the transformation of the site into a mixture of woodland and forest not seen on the Cumberland Plain since the 19th century.

Initial work will focus on three areas: bringing the best quality bushland back to excellent condition; removing the worst weeds; and targeting the most significant habitat areas and features for improvement and restoration.

How will Aboriginal heritage be managed?

The regional park contains many Aboriginal objects and sites across the landscape. NPWS has worked with the Aboriginal community as part of the development of the Plan of Management for Wianamatta Regional Park.

This consultation and partnership will continue as the park is established. NPWS work with the Aboriginal community will focus on preventing damage to Aboriginal heritage during the development process and interpreting the rich Aboriginal heritage of the site for visitors.

What are the next steps?

Land that is to be included in the regional park and has not yet been transferred is currently owned by Lend Lease. There are a number of legal steps involved in the transfer of this land from Lend Lease to the Minister for Environment for incorporation into the regional park:

  1. Subdivisions to separate out the lots that will be transferred. Lend Lease has submitted subdivision applications to Blacktown and Penrith Councils for the creation of the new lots within their respective Local Government Areas. Blacktown and Penrith Councils have approved their respective applications to subdivide the lots for transfer.
  2. Once the subdivision applications are approved the titles are registered with NSW Land and Property Information for transfer from Lend Lease to the Minister for Environment.
  3. Title to the Blacktown lands was transferred to the Minister in March 2015.
  4. The formal gazettal of the lands as Regional Park is a statutory process under the National Parks and Wildlife Act that can take place after the lands are transferred to the Minister. However, NPWS is legally and operationally responsible for the management of the lands as soon as the titles are transferred to the Minister.

How can I get involved in establishment and looking after the regional park?

NPWS is working with a Community Reference Group in the planning stages for park’s establishment. The group is made up of individuals from the community, including representatives from environmental and local government organisations.

NPWS has an extensive volunteer program for people wanting to be involved in their local national parks. In Wianamatta Regional Park, NPWS is keen to work with people wanting to get their hands dirty, meet like-minded people and help look after their local environment. It is likely that this will be through groups focusing on bush regeneration, fauna survey or sharing the park's heritage. Contact NPWS on 02 457 23100 or email npws.cumberland@environment.nsw.gov.au.

Page last updated: 07 November 2016