Parramatta Park is one of the most significant cultural landscapes in Australia. With at least 39,000 years of unbroken Aboriginal cultural connection, 70 years as an Early British Colonial Vice-regal Domain, and over 160 years as a government-gazetted People’s Park, Parramatta Park is the iconic city park and main open space for Sydney’s second-largest and rapidly growing CBD, Greater Parramatta, with 2 million visitors each year for community and school sports, walking, cycling, picnics, play, festivals, and events in a river park setting.
The park is part of the Australian Convict Sites UNESCO World Heritage Listing and is on the Australian Government’s World and National Heritage Lists and the NSW Government’s State Heritage Register for its natural and cultural heritage values. The key contribution of this plan was to set out a clear roadmap for the communication and caretaking of the Park’s significant cultural landscape values and to place them at the centre of the Park’s ongoing management, operation, and activation as the key regional open green space for Greater Parramatta – now, and with visitation anticipated at 3 million visitors a year in 2030, into the future.
In managing the values, communities and uses of the park, the plan recognizes and responds to the place as a cultural landscape – a place that reflects the ongoing interconnected relationship between people and nature winding through time for at least 39,000 years. To achieve this a team of landscape heritage specialists, archaeologists, landscape architects, environmentalists and planners was formed to identify and communicate the Park’s values and consider the Park in a broader planning context. The work of this team, with the Trust’s landscape architect and heritage architect as the lead authors, produced a plan that responds to all the Park’s values, and set the park vision that underpins the key operational, activation and conservation principles set out in the Plan.
The plan also combined the Conservation Management Plan with the Plan of Management – the first of its kind in Australia, where these are normally 2 separate documents – to provide a clear and single framework to ensure all aspects of the Park’s significance were considered in its ongoing management, operation, and activation.
Community and stakeholders were also consulted in the preparation of the plan, including Aboriginal Custodians and organisations, local and state government agencies, adjacent strategic landowners, community stakeholders and park users and tenants. Consultation was critical to the success of the plan and directly informed and shaped the content of the final plan as responses and issues raised in the consultation were incorporated.
The plan was also prepared as an advocacy document to communicate the values of the park and the Trust’s intentions for its custodianship, management, and activation. To achieve this, informative and evocative illustrations and a broad range of images with key text was used throughout the document to appeal to a broad audience, including the community, stakeholders, staff, and consultants.
Parramatta Park Trust, NSW Government, Australia. For full document fro download as pdf:
Your Parramatta Park 2030, Conservation Management Plan and Plan of Management
Landscape Architect: Parkland Strategy Design and Delivery, Greater Sydney Parklands Trust
Collaborators: Hector Abrahams Architects, Ashley Brown Architects, Dominic Steele Consulting Archaeology, McGregor Coxall, RPS Group, APP Corporation, Topdeck Communications and Republic of Everyone. Supported through funding by the Australian Government.
Image Credits: Parramatta Park Trust, © NSW Government 2020