Wharf Area Amphitheatre

PROJECT Wharf Area Amphitheatre

LOCATION Bradley's Head, Sydney NSW


A sandstone, exposed aggregate and grassed amphitheatre with integrated stairway links the nineteenth-century built fabric of wharf and reconstructed sea wall with the upslope sandstone fortifications, walking tracks and commemorative installations—belonging to the former Bradley’s Head defensive fortifications, the former Ashton Park facilities and now a significant part of Sydney Harbour National Park.

Its location, within one of the former sandstone quarries on the headland, has a strong visual and spatial link with Sydney Harbour and the urban context of Sydney.

Its design, with a spine of stone steps, providing access to the foreshore, and integrated arcing stone ribs dissolving into the grassed slopes and floor of the former quarry, also allows a harbourside slope planted with species native to Bradley’s Head. This helps minimise the impact of built form and to avoid competing with the character of the adjacent stone fortifications.

As a natural fragment of Sydney Harbour, Bradley’s Head has been respected in the project by creating urban facilities on previously disturbed sites in a way that minimises intrusion to natural areas and emphasises the sense of naturalness, while, at the same time, contributing to the cultural history of the place.

Centennial Parklands

PROJECT Centennial Parklands



Centennial Park lies within the densely populated eastern suburbs of Sydney and is surrounded by five suburbs. The park was sited on the Lachlan Swamps water supply reserve and became the major catchment water supply area for Sydney during the 1800s after the Tank Stream water supply became polluted.

In 1888 it was developed as a public park to celebrate 100 years of white settlement. The original park is thought to have been designed in 1886 by the engineer Frederick Franklin and implemented by Charles Moore under the supervision of James Jones.

The firm Context designed an interpretation trail on the western edge of the ponds of the Lachlan Swamp. They created a journey which combines native plant material, a path system and artworks to interpret the historic and ecological function of the wetland. In 1988 this project received an AILA National Project Award.

The Centennial Park & Moore Park Trust, a NSW State Government organisation, manages Centennial Parklands, one of Sydney’s most desirable open space areas. Drawing over five million visits per annum, the Parklands has a wide variety of users including tourists, community service participants, schools, individuals and families undertaking passive and active recreation activities.
Illoura Reserve

PROJECT Illoura Reserve


LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT Bruce Mackenzie & Associates

The reserve is based on considerable interventions into what the spaces had to offer previously. The reserve had been depleted of original indigenous plantings and most of the former natural features. However, much of the sandstone rock features had survived and these were utilised by Bruce Mackenzie.

Mackenzie’s solutions for the reserve demonstrate an acceptance for native species and the conservation of Australian environments within landscape planning and development. The residual affect of Mackenzie's approach is that the park has naturalistic feel to it; as if the reserve and its plantings had always been like this. Many users do not realise the level of the intervention that had been applied to bring back the naturalistic and indigenous feel to the reserve. Other key features that were introduced originally include children’s play equipment.

The feel of the place is a 'natural setting' and a tranquil escape from the heavily urbanised and built up surrounds of the terrace houses as well as the commercial business of the harbour that occupy the views from the parkland.

Lane Cove Urban Parks

PROJECT Lane Cove Urban Parks


LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT Harry Howard & Associates

Harry Howard acted as a consultant Landscape Architect for Lane Cove Council for 20 years. He collaborated with staff, elected officials and the community to create an informal public landscape of streetscapes, reserves and shopping precincts reflecting the local Sydney sandstone vegetation.

In the 1970s he transformed what had been described as ‘dreary’ medium level redevelopment at Lane Cove into an urban child-friendly bushland. Existing vegetation had been cleared from the site while a few remnant patches of bush existed along with vegetation strips along drainage lines.

The landscape development at Lane Cove is significant because rather than choosing an urban style for the setting for medium density housing (including townhouses, villas and units), a re-created bushland was deemed an appropriate setting for daily life. Rather than bush being confined to nature reserves and the periphery of society it was deemed equal to civilized life.

Bull, C (2002) 

PROJECT Newcastle Foreshore



Landscape Architects, Tract won a 1981 competition to re-design almost two kilometres of the Newcastle-Hunter River foreshore. Their design for the derelict industrialised landscape aimed to reconnect the town to the waterfront. Industrial icons were incorporated into the new landscape such as retaining the existing street lay-out and a new steel bridge. This spans the main road linking the town to the park.

The accompanying Report demonstrated Tract’s appreciation of the site’s history. Historic industrial structures were preserved within the design and new cultural buildings constructed.

The design gave back the land to Newcastle’s inhabitants.The area immediately became popular. Fishing jetties, observation decks, outdoor cafes, restaurants and animated promenades lined with Norfolk Island pine trees entirely changed the spirit and culture of Newcastle, with the progressive consequences of renewed confidence and urban vitality, the city’s fortunes have reversed.