Good news: capital works happening on Callan Park

During the lockdown so many of us have come to rely on Callan Park as a place to relax and enjoy exercise with the dog or let the kids run.

With more and more people spending time there, many residents have contacted me asking what is happening with the upgrades to Callan Park. 

As you know, last year we secured a record $14 million in state government funding to improve this site and restore many of the dilapidated heritage buildings. 

I’m delighted to update you on the progress that is happening at Callan Park as a result of this fantastic community win. 

Many of the key heritage structures have suffered water damage and vandalism over the years and it is so wonderful to see major repairs now taking place in preparation for these buildings to finally be put to use. 

Thank you to everyone who has supported our campaign to restore and revitalise Callan Park over the past decades.

Thank you to all the residents who have signed a petition or attended a rally. Thank you to everyone who has joined me to meet with successive government Ministers and to the Friends of Callan Park for their tireless advocacy. 

The site is now being managed by a new government agency, the Greater Sydney Parklands (GSP). I am meeting regularly with the GSP to keep track of progress on Callan Park. 

Please read on for a comprehensive summary of all the work that has been completed on-site. 

Gardener's Cottage B205

The Gardener's Cottage, also known as Bonnyview, is one of the most beautiful buildings on Callan Park. Designed by James Barnet for the Asylum Gardener it is exceptionally significant.  

It has been distressing to watch the Gardener's Cottage deteriorate. The good news is that over the past 24 months Greater Sydney Parklands have invested $350,000 on a complete heritage restoration of the building to prepare it for modern use.

The works include:

  • Repairs to the roof including reinstatement of tiles and repairs to valleys to ensure the building is watertight as well as water damage repairs inside
  • Repairs to the balcony’s balustrade, posts and awning as well as repairs to external timberwork including the gable
  • New grass and removal of hazardous items in the garden including the fibre cement fence
  • Heritage repairs to the hardwood floors
  • Installation of new windows
  • Full kitchen renovation and new electrical wiring
  • Fresh paint throughout the building internally and externally including the garage
  • New CCTV and floodlighting to deter vandalism


Anyone who’s walked by this beautiful building recently will have noticed these significant improvements. 

The next stage of works, including modest bathroom repairs, will be informed by detailed reporting to ensure compliance with building standards and disability access. 

After renovations are complete, it is expected that this building will be made available for a public expression of interest process in order to find an appropriate not-for-profit tenant to occupy the building. 

Repatriation Ward B B497

Repatriation Ward B is one of the buildings that was used to host and rehabilitate returning veterans on Callan Park, aiming to treat shell shock in a peaceful and serene environment. 

Repat Ward B is being restored in preparation for a future use as a community and sports facility. So far $590,000 has been invested in repairs to the building including: 

  • Repairs to the roof including reinstatement of tiles, repairs to valleys and installation of a leave guard to ensure the building is watertight
  • Removal of hazardous materials and works to manage hazardous materials (such as encapsulation of the flooring where partitions have been removed)
  • Repairs to windows, floors and damaged ceilings throughout
  • Full internal renovation
  • Complete electrical upgrade including a new switchbox, wiring, fittings, LED lighting, repairs to the ceiling fans, repairs to the heritage lights
  • New CCTV, alarm system and external floodlights to ensure the building is secure

The Greater Sydney Parklands agency plans to lodge a development application to undertake further works to improve the building including external repairs to the building, demolishing the loading dock, and works required to make the building code compliant including access provisions.

This development application will also include repairs to gutters and downpipes, repainting of the external timberwork and repairs to bathrooms.

It is also expected that this building will be put to a public exhibition process to find an appropriate not-for-profit tenant. 

Garry Owen Summerhouse B495

The Garry Owen Summerhouse is a beautiful heritage significant glass-paned structure on Callan Point overlooking the water. 

Over the past 12 months, the Summerhouse has been restored at a cost of $250,000.

The works include:

  • Repair to the window framing and glass
  • Repair and reinstatement of gutters and downpipes
  • Removal of hazardous materials and debris
  • Repointing of the masonry with heritage lime mix mortar and major structural repairs
  • Internal painting and new flooring throughout
  • New electrical and lighting, flood lighting and CCTV

The Cane Room B512

Over the past 6 months, $50,000 worth of works have been undertaken to begin to bring the Cane Room into a fit state for future use.

The works include:

  • Repair to the roof including reinstatement of tiles to ensure the building is watertight
  • Repair and reinstatement of gutters and downpipes
  • Removal of rubbish and hazardous materials including asbestos
  • Repairs to the ceiling and timberwork where asbestos sheeting has been removed

Moveable heritage has also been identified during the works and stored safely on-site.

The next stage of works is currently being prepared, and includes lodgement of a development application to seek approval for repairs to the building externally and BCA upgrades. This will include upgrades to gutters, windows, electrical and lighting. 

Bay Run Lights

$420,000 has been invested in improving lighting along the Bay Run to improve safety, visibility and usability of\n this important route. 

Lighting has been installed on the Bay Run between Glover Street and Waterfront Drive, and the section leading into King George’s Park.

The remaining section of the Bay Run will be upgraded with improved lighting as part of the $14 million waterfront revitalisation towards 2022. 

Main Gates and Guard House 

As with much of the site, the beautiful Main Gates and the Guard House on Balmain Road have fallen into disrepair over the years.  

I'm so pleased to see the main entrance to Callan Park being restored to its former glory with recent significant works including full fabric restoration and restored operability of the Main Gates including the lights, and repairs to the external building elements of the Guard House and new bollards to protect the gates for vehicle access from Balmain Road.

This package of works is costing $600,000, with the Minister’s Stonework Program contributing $100,000 and Greater Sydney Parklands contributing $500,000.

The works are currently underway, with an estimated completion date being September 2021, contingent on COVID-19 restrictions.


I'm so pleased that after so many years of demolition by neglect, all these upgrades and restorations are finally underway at Callan Park. 

Of course there is a lot more to do and I’m committed to ensuring we can continue to build on our collective successes.

We continue to press for the establishment of much-needed community mental health services on the site as well as continuing our campaign for a dedicated trust for Callan Park. 

Once again, thank you to everyone in the community who has worked so hard to make these improvements happen. I look forward to seeing you on site soon. 


Showing 3 reactions

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  • Brian Gorman
    commented 2021-09-08 22:10:07 +1000
    My wife and I love the rich texture of the unique heritage architecture in Callan Park. Its fantastic to see the old buildings being brought back to life and we hope to see more work done in the future. Thank you, Jamie for helping to preserve our heritage through architectural restorations.
  • Brenda Gottsche
    commented 2021-08-28 08:00:02 +1000
    It is inspiring to see these wonderful heritage buildings being restored to support further use from non-profits…Thank you for your unfailing persistence
  • Eleanor Nurse
    published this page in News 2021-08-23 14:33:27 +1000

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