Primrose Park was originally occupied by the Cammeraygal Aboriginal people.
This environment leading around from Folly Point would have provided a choice of rock shelters depending on the season, a south facing (summer season) or north facing (winter season) rock shelter would be chosen. Shell middens are found in this area. It would have provided easy canoe access to ‘Warringah’
(Middle Harbour) and beyond.
The Willoughby Falls area in the western gully was a favourite picnic spot in the early days of white settlement. This park was named after H L Primrose, a North Sydney Mayor from 1926 to 1932 and later NSW Minister for Health. The oval was once an estuarine bay and in 1899, was the site of North Sydney’s first sewage treatment works that serviced North Sydney and parts of Willoughby and Mosman. The former engine house and compressor houses, tunnels and canals can still be seen today and the remaining buildings are the home of the Primrose Park Art and Craft Centre as well as a range of sporting clubs.
The sewerage works closed in the late 1920s and the area was dedicated as parkland in 1930.
Bush regeneration and Bushcare volunteers have been working in Primrose Park since the early 1990s.
Follow Young Street off Military Road at Neutral Bay to the end. There are two car parks.
Catch any of the buses that stop along Military Road from North Sydney or Wynyard and walk 10 minutes down Young Street.
Willoughby Falls, Aboriginal rock art and the former Primrose Park Sewerage Works structure. Folly Point is a beautiful spot for a rest, covered in She-Oak trees and remnant Blackbutts overlooking a superb view of Middle Harbour. Barcroft Henry Boake was a writer and poet best known for his ‘Out Where the Dead Men Lie’. Unable to find work in the depression of the 1890s, he hanged himself in 1892, aged 26 from a tree at Folly Point.
The Blackbutt, Sydney Red Gum and She-Oak crown this open forest with an understorey of flowering shrubs and ferns. There are some beautiful stands of Tree Ferns along the walk and Black Wattle canopy around Willoughby Falls. Look for Eastern Water Dragons sunning themselves on the rocks surrounding the waterfall in the middle of the day.
Both the indigenous bush and weed areas provide habitat for an array of wildlife.
There are extensive areas of weed including large areas of Lantana and Privet found in the reserve behind the houses, due to past disturbances and neglect.
It is important to note that despite the dense stands of weed situated on Primrose Park’s western slope edge, bird diversity in this section of the reserve is high. This is due to the protective weed thickets forming safe complex habitat. In the dense understorey White-browed Scrub-wrens and Superb Fairy-wrens can be seen. Keep an ear out for the chorus of bird species including: Eastern Whip Birds, Rosellas, Lorikeets, Butcher Birds, King Parrots and sea birds around the foreshore. Masked Plovers, Magpies and Crested Pigeons forage for food on the oval.
Kingfishers visit and migrate to the creek line. Up in the trees, the Boobook Owl and Tawny Frogmouths roost, and with sightings of a Powerful Owl sitting during the day clutching prey, you would be wise to keep one eye scanning the trees and one on the path.