Waterfront revitalisation at Callan Park

The Callan Park waterfront is valuable public asset that improves the health and wellbeing of the community. The NSW Government is revitalising the waterfront so it can be safely enjoyed by everyone. 

Callan Park

We manage 38 of the 61 hectares of Callan Park, including the waterfront and central park areas –see the Callan Park Management Precincts map (PDF 3.7MB).

The Callan Park Landscape Structure Plan was endorsed in January 2021. The plan recommends a comprehensive revitalisation of the waterfront at Callan Park through:

  • removal of unsafe and intrusive buildings
  • restoration and activation of heritage buildings for community use
  • opening up views to the water
  • a network of pathways and more open space along the waterfront
  • enhanced facilities for park visitors.

The NSW Government has committed a total of $21.2 million in funding to deliver the plan. Works include:

  • demolition of 2 intrusive buildings on the waterfront (complete)
  • progressive renovation of heritage buildings – Bonnyview, the Cane Room and the Repatriation Ward (complete)
  • approved plans for a redesign of Waterfront Green featuring new pathways, trees, seating and an expanded green space (underway)
  • approved plans for a new accessible amenities block to service Waterfront Green and the Bay Run (underway)
  • a new car park at Wharf Road.
  • adaptive re-use of the heritage-listed Building 497, providing a long-term home for the Balmain and District Football Club and new community meeting spaces
  • rebuilding the Bay Run between King George Oval and Waterfront Green, separating pedestrians from cyclists and removing vehicles from the waterfront. 

The work to Waterfront Green has already begun (due for completion in early 2024), and views to Iron Cove have already been opened up. These improvements will create a fit-for-purpose waterfront area for public enjoyment, including areas for quiet relaxation, picnics, more shade trees, walking, jogging and cycling, new accessible toilets, bins and areas for dogs and their owners.

We will soon begin work on an interim car park and a well-lit accessible pathway off Military Drive that will trigger the end of vehicle access along the Bay Run. This important upgrade will provide a missing link in the Bay Run by removing cars to improve safety and the experience of our visitors.

Keeping you informed

We will consult with the community through every step of the revitalisation of Callan Park’s waterfront. We have held several webinars and community information sessions to reveal designs.  

Waterfront Green upgrade

Designs for the upgrade of the Waterfront Green have been finalised and were informed by feedback from the community and the department’s Heritage team.

Highlights of the upgrade include:

  • an abundance of new shade trees
  • native plantings that reflect the Indigenous landscape
  • new lighting and pathways
  • interpretation of the pre-colonial shoreline
  • new amenities building including accessible toilets.

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. The Bay Run will be realigned to separate pedestrians and cyclists from vehicles with a newly dedicated car park adjacent to Wharf Road. 

New amenities block for the waterfront

After community consultation, a 'forest pavilion' design for an amenities block has been finalised and construction is underway.

The new building will be unobtrusive and aligns with the Callan Park (Special Provisions) Act, which requires new buildings to be within the footprint and envelope of existing buildings on site.

Providing an accessible toilet facility in Waterfront Green delivers a key priority of the Callan Park Landscape Structure Plan. 


New amenities block for the waterfront


Wharf Road car park

Designs for a new car park were shared with the community in September 2021 and have now been finalised. Highlights of the new car park include:

  • parking for 75 vehicles
  • new traffic circulation, kiss-n-ride drop off parking and disability parking
  • universal access to the Refugee Welcome Centre and the Glover Street Sport Ground
  • understory plantings to blend into the park
  • substantial tree planting, including a buffer screen of native trees to Broughton Hall

Waterfront Drive will be permanently closed to traffic.

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. 

Frequently asked questions

How have you worked out how many car spaces you need and is it enough? What will happen when it's busy and there are no available spaces?

The proposed number of car spaces considers peak parking demand data, feedback from stakeholders, heritage constraints and the desire to ensure the parking is integrated into the park. We have included a generous planting buffer between Broughton Hall and the car park to preserve the significant trees and ensure there is no visual impacts on the curtilage.

The design concentrates the parking within a much smaller area than the current parking on Waterfront Drive to provide more open green space for the community.

Parking will still be available along Wharf Road and other parts of the park, including at Ambulance NSW on Balmain Road. 

What trees and shrubs will be planted?

We are using a variety of native trees and groundcovers to enhance the natural landscape. The design incorporates plantings that reflect the Indigenous landscape and build on the tree plantings on the site, such as lemon scented gums, Angophora costata, blueberry ash, Canary Island date palms, scribbly gum, jacarandas and spotted gum. Groundcover will include Australian native wildflowers, flannel flowers, mountain devils, coastal rosemary and many others to achieve a diversity of species. Over 73 new shade trees will be planted in the car park to increase tree canopy in this space. 

What paved surface materials will be used for walking tracks?

Paths in Waterfront Green are predominantly deco gravel with some concrete pathways. In Wharf Road and Military Drive, we propose to reflect the park's heritage, so the road surfaces will be bitumen as is currently the case. The car park spaces will be surfaced with permeable grid pavers and filled with deco gravel to increase water absorption. 

Will there be a separate bicycle facility adjacent to the Wharf Road entrance from Perry Street to the car park?

No, not as part of this stage of the works. The priority is the waterfront. However, vehicles will be slowed along Wharf Road, making access to the park safer for pedestrians and cyclists. 

Will Wharf Road be made one-way?

No, it will be retained as a 2-way flow of traffic. The new slow zone will dramatically reduce the speeds at which vehicles travel in and out of the waterfront. 

Will it be timed parking, and will we have to pay fees?

The parking will be free and unrestricted at this stage, like the other 2 car parks in Callan Park. 

Are all new design elements in keeping with the Heritage NSW significance values for Callan Park?

The designs are all grounded in a deep understanding of the heritage significance of the park as captured in the Callan Park Conservation Management Plan and the policies that ensure heritage values are conserved.

Heritage NSW has issued its consent for the removal of the buildings and expressed its support for the proposals outlined in the Callan Park Landscape Structure Plan.

The design for Waterfront Green incorporates the story of the casuarina garden as told to us by Bangawarra Indigenous consultants. We feel that it is important to strengthen the connections to Country and allow these connections to be re-made as an underpinning of the design approach. 

Can you confirm that the Broughton Hall internal roads will not be available for use as access?

There is no intention to use Broughton Hall roads for access through the park. 

Bay Run upgrades

In coming years, we will be upgrading the Bay Run to enhance its connection with the waterfront and to improve accessibility and safety. The new car park at Wharf road will allow vehicle access to the Bay run to be removed, creating a pedestrian-only space right on the waterfront.

Callan Park