St Leonards Park Landscape Masterplan

Masterplan Information and History

St Leonards Park is one of North Sydney's largest and best-loved parks. It has a distinctive Victorian landscape character and is rich in history and heritage. It is a great place to play, relax and socialise, and it contains our premier sportsground, North Sydney Oval.

Council engaged Gallagher Studio to develop a low intervention Landscape Masterplan.

The plan aims to achieve a balance of uses while protecting, preserving and enhancing the park’s heritage values and character.

The masterplan project was delivered in five stages from Aug 2016 to Feb 2018:

  1. Research and Analysis
  2. Development of principles and concept design ideas
  3. Development of a draft Landscape Masterplan
  4. Public Exhibition of the draft Landscape Masterplan
  5. Review feedback and finalise Landscape Masterplan


Stage 1: Research and Analysis

Stage 1 Engagement Outcomes report (5MB)

Consultants examined relevant documents including the St Leonards Park Conservation Management Plan 2013 and the Recreation Needs Study 2015; and researched and analysed local context, civic context, catchments, topography, land uses, built form, nearby open space, wider context (walking, cycling), heritage, historical evolution of the park, park structure (access, circulation, entrances and views, tree configurations), spatial structure (avenues and enclosed gardens, semi-enclosed spaces, open spaces), park furniture, toilets, playground, services and utilities, drainage, park use and users.

Stage 1 Consultation gathered information about how the Park is currently used and valued, and canvassed ideas for improvement. Activities included:

  • 457 online and intercept surveys completed
  • 14 stakeholder interviews (in person or by phone)
  • 6 written submissions received
  • Workshop for Council staff involved in management of the Park (11 attended)

The key findings from Stage 1 Consultation are summarised below:

  1. Main reasons for visiting St Leonards Park (in order of most popular answers):
    walking, relaxation, bringing children to play, walking dogs, meeting friends
  2. What people value most about the Park (in order of most popular answers):
    green open space, trees and greenery, peace and quiet, dog friendly, views, playground, sports facilities, walking paths, family friendly, range of uses
  3. Key issues and ideas for improvements:
  • Retain and improve open space grassed areas for relaxation.
  • Upgrade park amenity including lighting, paths, seating, tables, toilets, & water fountains.
  • Address cycling in the park to prevent conflict between commuter cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Upgrade open space areas to reduce conflict between different user groups including sporting groups, school groups, exercise groups, dog walkers and passive recreation activities.
  • Improve sports facilities including a longer cricket net run up, resurfacing of the netball/ basketball courts, lighting at the courts, and a turf practice wicket for first grade fixtures.
  • Improve spaces for children and young people to play.  For example: upgrade the playground, add a fence, provide a recreational space for older children/teens and provide recreational cycling paths for children.
  • Improve pedestrian safety on Fig Tree Lane and Bowling Club driveway.
  • Resolve drainage issues including flooding near the amphitheatre and drainage along Ridge St under the fig trees.


Stage 2: Development of principles & concept design ideas

Stage 2 Engagement Outcomes report (3MB)

The Consultants developed a series of guiding principles and concept ideas for St Leonards Park that were tested publicly via a series of ‘drop-in’ events held in St Leonards Park and in nearby Civic Park, as well as an online survey and a stakeholder workshop for those unable to attend a ‘drop-in’ event.

Draft Guiding Principles:

  1. A Park for All
    Provide a balance of active and passive recreation
    Provide a clear definition between various spaces throughout the park
    Minimise conflicts between various users of the park, particularly cyclists, pedestrians, active / passive recreation
    Provide strategy for managing park use and develop appropriate maintenance strategies

  2. An Historic Park
    Celebrate the strong historical patterns of the park
    Retain and manage the historic trees
    Restore War Memorial and Tunks Fountain’s scale and prominence
    Remove elements which do not support the heritage character of the park
    Provide opportunities to highlight the park’s history
    Explore opportunities to enhance the meaning and story of heritage items

  3. An Accessible Park
    Minimise the conflicts between cyclists and pedestrians on internal pathways
    Investigate the possibility of widening internal pathways
    Investigate the possibility of a dedicated cycle way path
    Relocate lamp posts and reduce clutter

  4. A Generous, Comfortable Park
    Upgrade the public toilets, review current location and potentially relocate
    Improve the amenity of the park by providing new & upgraded park furniture
    Upgrade park lighting
    Explore opportunities to expand the playground to provide a wider range of activities for older children.

Over 200 people visited one of five ‘drop-in’ events held in St Leonards Park and Civic Park to talk through concept ideas with the Consultants. In addition, 6 people attended a stakeholder workshop and 8 written submissions were received. Feedback received from the community and other stakeholders regarding the guiding principles and concept design ideas has been collated into the Stage 2 Consultation Report. The ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’ will assist Council and the Consultants to develop a draft Landscape Masterplan for St Leonards Park that accurately reflects community needs and wants.


Stage 3: Development of a draft Landscape Masterplan

The draft carefully balances a range of recreational uses with the need to protect, preserve and enhance the Park’s heritage values and character. The draft builds on the sentiments expressed by the community and stakeholders in relation to the Guiding Principles and Concept Ideas to ensure it reflects their needs and wants as far as possible. It combines the various Concept Ideas that received very high levels of public support into a cohesive design plan that imagines how St Leonards Park could look and function in the future, while simultaneously meeting Council’s key objectives for the project, as per the original Consultant’s Brief. These key objectives are set out below:

  • To improve and enhance the Park landscape
  • To improve and enhance recreation opportunities for a range of park users
  • To develop a range of options for additional facilities that could appropriately be provided in the Park to meet community needs
  • To ensure the Park is accessible and appealing to all members of the community
  • To resolve existing circulation and access issues for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles

Stage 4: Public Exhibition of the draft Landscape Masterplan

The draft was on public exhibition in 2018 so that community members and stakeholders had the opportunity to view and comment: 

Executive Summary (556KB)

Part 1: Research and Analysis (14MB) 

Part 2: Community Consultation (2MB) 

Part 3: Draft Landscape Masterplan for St Leonards Park (13MB) (2018)

Stage 5: Review Feedback and Finalise Landscape Masterplan

All submissions were reviewed by Council’s Project Team, and a final report went to Council outlining the community’s responses, and the changes required to finalise the plan as a result of those responses.

 OSE01 Draft Landscape Masterplan for St Leonards Park Plan of Management - Post Exhibition (926KB)

The consultants then amended the draft Landscape Masterplan to produce the final plan.


St Leonards Park Masterplan (final stage)

Executive Summary (585KB)

Landscape Masterplan (13MB)

Analysis (15MB)

Consultation (3MB)

Appendix (2MB)


More Information

For background to the Masterplan please view the project history from 2003-2016 (124KB).

And check out some of the works being done.