Companion animals management plan

The companion animals management plan for Callan Park provides certainty and clarity for pet owners about where their dogs must be on-leash and creates areas where dogs can be exercised off-leash. 

Woman walking dog beside lake in park

We want to create parks for people that are inclusive, safe, comfortable, accessible and fun.

The Callan Park Companion Animals Management Plan helps us manage and regulate companion animals in Callan Park. It clearly identifies on- and off-leash areas for dogs and the required infrastructure, amenities and experiences for animals and their owners. The plan does not apply to the 22 hectares of Callan Park owned by NSW Health.


Callan Park Companion Animals Management Plan (PDF, 1.63 MB)

The term 'companion animal' refers to all dogs and cats and any other animal prescribed in the NSW Companion Animals Act 1998 and associated regulations. 

Key elements of the companion animals management plan

  • Over 20 hectares of off-leash area, including when sporting fields are not used for organised sport
  • A fenced off-leash area to be created at Balmain Road Green, with investigation for a second one
  • Designated off-leash access at Callan Point Beach for dogs
  • Increased connections from Balmain Road into Callan Park for everyone
  • Protection of significant heritage values and sensitive vegetation in Callan Park
  • New amenities for dogs and their owners, including bins and water stations
  • Development of a traffic management plan to improve access and safety in the park
  • Responsible dog owner education programs to be rolled out in Callan Park.


Callan Park Companion Animals Management Plan map (PDF, 600 KB)

Dogs in Callan Park

Dog sitting after chasing ball

There are areas of Callan Park where dogs must be always on-leash and areas where they are prohibited altogether. These restrictions reflect NSW-wide rules relating to dogs as well as Callan Park’s companion animals management plan. The rules ensure our natural environment and heritage assets are protected and the park can be enjoyed safely by everyone.

We remind all dog owners and dog walkers that dogs must be always under effective control in both on and off-leash areas while in Callan Park. All of Callan Park is designated as on-leash every day from 10 pm to 5 am to protect wildlife.

Off-leash areas for dogs in Callan Park operate between 5 am and 10 pm daily. The areas are at: 

  • Callan Point Beach
  • Bonnyview Cottage Gardens, noting a heritage exclusion zone of 10 metres from the sandstone building
  • Central Green
  • Wharf Road Gardens (incorporating the bowling green)
  • Balmain Road Green
  • a portion of Kirkbride Gardens, including the area to the east of the pathway adjacent to the sunken garden
  • the fenced off-leash park in Balmain Road Green (once built)
  • Balmain Road, Glover Street and Waterfront Sporting Grounds – 3 shared areas (managed by Inner West Council under lease) are off-leash when not being used for organised sport. 

Background to the companion animals management plan

Small dog sitting on it's owner on a park bench


The NSW Companion Animals Act 1998 establishes that all public land in NSW is on-leash unless formally designated as off-leash. Inconsistent enforcement of on-leash rules at Callan Park has led to the common misconception that dogs are allowed off-leash across the park. This is not the case. We developed a companion animals management plan (PDF, 1.63 MB) in consultation with the community to balance the needs of all park visitors and to ensure the space can be shared safely.

The companion animals management plan provides certainty and clarity for dog owners about where their dogs must be on-leash and creates areas where dogs can be exercised off-leash.

We engaged with the community between April and May 2021 to develop a draft plan, which was publicly exhibited from 6 December 2021 to 9 February 2022. We received more than 450 submissions. 

Frequently asked questions

How will I know where the new off-leash?

Look for the signs. There is temporary signage in place that states an area is for off-leash dog walking. Soon we will be installing permanent signage to assist our visitors. 

Why is walking my dog off-leash at night not allowed?

While some dog owners may want to walk their dogs at night in the park, we must protect the wildlife that live in the park, much of which is nocturnal. To protect the wildlife, the entire area of Callan Park will be on-leash between 10 pm and 5 am. We have also proposed new lighting be installed as part of a waterfront revitalisation to improve safety at night. 

Where we will be able to go in the park to be away from dogs?

The plan has been designed to ensure that the space at Callan Park can be shared by those who have dogs and those who do not. Dogs will need to be on-leash in the main walking and picnicking areas (including the Bay Run and Waterfront Green).

Under the Companion Animals Act, dogs are prohibited from children's play spaces and from sporting fields when they are in use. In the longer term, a permanent play space is earmarked for the area at the back of the waterfront sporting ground and dogs will be prohibited within 10 metres.  

Even in off-leash zones, owners are required by law to have their dogs under effective control at all times. 

Are cats allowed in Callan Park?

Cats must be always kept on a leash or in a cage in Callan Park. 

Are commercial dog walkers allowed in Callan Park?

We are investigating how we could provide opportunities for dog walking businesses in Callan Park that comply with the Callan Park (Special Provisions) Act 2002. 

I have seen a lot of dogs running around near Writing NSW, is that off or on-leash under the plan?

Writing NSW and the surrounding gardens are designated as on-leash areas. 

Why does the plan only cover a portion of the whole Callan Park area?

We only manage 38 hectares of the site. The remaining 22 hectares are owned by NSW Health, and Inner West Council is solely responsible for regulating the Companion Animals Act in Health precincts. Inner West Council has been consulted on the plan and we will be working with them to ensure a consistent approach to companion animal management across the whole site. 

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.