Waterfront revitalisation at Callan Park

Greater Sydney Parklands manages 38 hectares of Callan Park, including the waterfront and central park areas.

In 2020, Greater Sydney Parklands exhibited a draft Landscape Structure Plan for Callan Park. The draft plan drew from consultation and discussions with the community over many years, emphasising what people value about Callan Park and what improvements they want to see.

After careful analysis of the feedback provided by the community, and refinement of the plan in response to this feedback, the Landscape Structure Plan was endorsed by the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces in January 2021. It recommends opening up views to the water and revitalising the foreshore by removing unsafe and intrusive buildings, investigating the removal of dilapidated buildings and ancillary structures, upgrading others, and ensuring the unique heritage and picturesque waterfront setting is celebrated and enhanced.

The State Government has committed $14 million in funding to deliver the Landscape Structure Plan (LSP), with work already underway to deliver the first stages of waterfront revitalisation. Heritage buildings are being renovated, 2 intrusive buildings are being demolished (work on site starting 17 September), and designs are being finalised for Waterfront Green the new amenities block, and a new carpark at Wharf Road.

Greater Sydney Parklands is committed to consulting with the community every step of the way. Community webinars have been held (see below), and more will be held as designs progress. Follow us on Facebook and sign up to our e-news to keep updated.

On September 28, Greater Sydney Parklands held a webinar where the design team presented two design choices for the new accessible amenities block and draft designs for the new Wharf Road carpark. If you missed the presentation, the recording is now available. 

View webinar

You can also view the presentation for the amenities and carpark.


The recording of the first webinar held on Tuesday 10 August, is still available if you missed out: Callan Park Waterfront revitalisation–Community webinar 10 August 2021.

View webinar

Demolition of waterfront buildings

The first stage of opening up the waterfront, improving views and sightlines will be realised with the demolition of two intrusive buildings, 505 and 514.

The works are approved under development consent DA/2021/0161 and include new turfing once the buildings are removed.

Subject to COVID Public Health Orders, the work on site will commence on 17 September and take approximately 11 weeks to complete. Demolition will be carried out between the hours of 7am to 6pm Monday to Friday. Minor works may take place on Saturdays between 8am to 1pm.

During this time access to the sports fields, Bay Run and broader parklands will be maintained. Wharf Road will be closed to traffic on weekdays with the exception of residents. Traffic will be diverted via Cottage Way, and traffic controllers will be in place to guide vehicles. A Traffic Management Plan will be in place to minimise disruption to residents and park users. Parking on Wharf Road will be restricted to enable the safe passage of vehicles and construction traffic.

At times of high testing demand, access to the COVID-19 testing clinic at the University of Tasmania will be rerouted through the entrance at Gate A.

Your patience is appreciated during this time.

Callan ParkHeritage building transformation

A number of heritage buildings have been extensively renovated to be for community use. A proposed public tender process to lease two of the buildings, Bonneyview (Gardener's Cottage) and Building 497 will open in early October. Find out more on Restoring Heritage Buildings.

Three heritage buildings have been transformed and will be activated for the benefit of the community, including the Summerhouse, the Repatriation Ward building 497, and Bonnyview. A fourth building, the Cane Room, is undergoing restoration and repair in readiness for future use.

Designs are being finalised, following community feedback, for the revitalisation of the waterfront (after the buildings are removed) which includes 104 new trees, ground cover native plantings, lighting, paths and seating. The designs celebrate the pre-colonial history of the site, including a stylised interpretation of the original shoreline and low headland.

The works ensure that the picturesque waterfront setting of Callan Park and views of the water are enhanced and the opportunities for people to connect with country are strengthened.

Planting shade trees

The design features 104 new trees placed at important nodes to provide shade or to frame the views and 'edge' the new pathways. Trees are clustered in groups or placed in avenue plantings to maximise shading over seating and pathways.

The design incorporates plantings that reflect the indigenous landscape and build on the tree plantings on the site, such as the casuarina grove at the west of Waterfront Green. The casuarina garden reflects an important Gadigal/Wangal story as shared with us by our First Nations consultant, Bangawarra.

Creating more pathways

Greater Sydney Parklands is working to improve the accessibility and legibility of the parkland and are upgrading the site to provide a much more pedestrian-friendly space for people of all abilities. New paths will provide vital linkages throughout the park and will incorporate separated paths for pedestrians and cyclists in future stages.

Waterfront Green is designed to provide a generous area adjacent to Iron Cove for passive recreation, picnicking, walking, and informal gatherings. An accessible pathway will provide a new pedestrian link between Wharf Road and the Bay Run, while in a future stage of work the Bay Run will be realigned to separate pedestrians and cyclists and remove vehicles to a dedicated car park adjacent to Wharf Road.

Subject to COVID Public Health Orders, and development consent being granted, the work at Waterfront Green is scheduled to start in December 2021.

Headland design

Before the colonial period, the shoreline of Callan Park featured a series of bays formed around sandstone outcrops or headlands with creek lines draining to low lying swamp along the edges of the foreshore. The design is intended to reflect aspects of this landscape, including an interpretation of the original headland in a low stylised form. The original headland is evident in early surveys but was obscured by 19th-century land reclamation. The headland design is suggestive of the original form, providing an area for people to sit or gather and admire the views of Iron Cove and Callan Point. Views of the Bay open up from the point of arrival at Wharf Road.

The stylised headland element is edged with a sandstone treatment to ground the design and to reflect the materials already found on site.


Work on site is expected to begin by the end of this year, subject to development consent being granted by Inner West Council and NSW Heritage. Temporary changes to the access from Wharf Road may be necessary, and we will work with Inner West Council and site contractors to manage these changes. The waterfront will remain accessible from Waterfront and Military Drives, and the Bay Run will remain open. Further details will be shared closer to the commencement of work on site.

New accessible amenities

During September, we hosted a webinar in which 2 design options for an accessible amenities building were presented. We asked the community what they thought of each of these in a poll at the end of the webinar.

The location of the building was proposed and confirmed in the Landscape Structure Plan as the most unobtrusive location for a new structure on Waterfront Green. The location is aligned with the Callan Park (Special Provisions) Act 2002, requiring new buildings to be erected within the footprints of the existing buildings on site.

The 2 design options for the building are driven by a respect for the heritage of Callan Park and reflect both landscape and built form, respectively.

Providing an accessible toilet facility in Waterfront Green delivers a key priority of the Landscape Structure Plan. There is an under-provision of accessible toilets in Callan Park, and providing a modern, new facility has been identified by the community as something they want to see more of in the park.

The designs

Forest PavilionForest Pavilion, Callan Park
Simple Masonry buildingSimple Masonry building, Callan Park

The results

Callan Park survey results

The results of the poll are in. The clear choice preferred by the community is Option A, Forest Pavilion. We will now proceed with finalising the concept plans for this design and keep you updated on a future development application.

Designs are currently in development for a new carpark on Wharf Road for 75 vehicles with new traffic circulation, kiss-n-ride drop off parking, disability parking, and universal access to the Refugee Welcome Centre and the Glover Street Sport Ground. Once completed, the carpark will allow Waterfront Drive to be permanently closed to traffic.

The carpark has been designed on a single level. It contains understorey plantings to blend it into the parkland, and substantial tree plantings, including a buffer screen of native trees to Broughton Hall curtilage. Cars will enter the carpark.

Wharf Road will remain 2-way while Military Drive will become a shared zone with a one-way flow of traffic up Military Drive to the intersection of Central Avenue where 2-way flows will revert.

We will be seeking community feedback on the design at the community webinar on 28 September 2021 and look forward to seeing you there.

The Bay Run will be upgraded to enhance the connection with the waterfront and to improve accessibility and safety. The upgrade to the car park will remove vehicles from the Bay Run and will facilitate these important changes to the Bay Run. Further detail on the design will be made public as it progresses.

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There will be several further stages to implement the priorities of the Landscape Structure Plan. Works will include an accessible amenities block, a new at-grade carpark at the end of Wharf Road, realigning the Bay Run to remove cars and the pinch-point at the canal, and making much-needed repairs to the seawall.

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