Rozelle, Sydney Callan Park Gates - Rozelle


Contact point

Kate Napier Acting Director Heritage Environment & Planning 02 9769 9847

Callan Park Gates - Heritage Restoration

The restored original gates of Callan Park were officially reopened by the community in late May 2022 with MP Jamie Parker, the state member for Balmain. This heritage project also most recently won a Commendation award for Conservation at the Inner West Built Environment Awards this month.

The conservation objective of this project was to restore the original dignity, landmark potential and purpose to the languishing Callan Park entrance gates. The gates had been locked closed for decades – the driveway was a car park and an illegal dumping site. Garbage and overflowing clothing bins leaned against the inside and outside of the gates. The glass in the lanterns was smashed and metalwork was corroded and exposed, paintwork was faded and peeling and the monolithic stone piers had been broken and rotated on their bases by repeated knocks from garbage trucks reversing into them. Pedestrians looking to enter the park, often laden with prams, dogs and bikes, were forced to navigate a narrow footpath around the closed gates to the road entrance. Our solution included the creation of a car free plaza in front of the gates, removal of bins and repairs to the guardhouse to enable it’s adaptive reuse, potentially to a kiosk. By improving the gate’s setting and fabric, it’s landmark qualities have been restored and a second stage of work – creating an activated pedestrian plaza inside the gates can now be realised.

Fabric repairs to the gates included the replacement of one cracked stone pier and three crumbling stone caps at the end of their service life, patch repair of stone bases, corrosion treatment and repainting of metalwork informed by historic paint layer analysis, restoration of the lanterns and the operating mechanisms of the gates. The adjacent guard house received a new slate roof, gutters and downpipes, timber repairs and re painting, and the brickwork walls and chimney were revealed and repointed. Four bollards were placed at the end of the driveway entrance. Statutory approvals for this work were enabled by the Callan Park Barnett Buildings Maintenance Plan, by NSW Public Works, 2021 which allows maintenance works to proceed on all the stone buildings and structures associated with the original James Barnet designed Asylum.

Callan Park Gates - Waratah Piers

After completion, the project team established that the waratahs carved onto the piers in 1878, are the earliest emblematic use of the waratah denoting a NSW government building.

Revealing this exceptional component of their significance can be understood as a bi-product of the act of care itself.

A life lesson here that when we choose to care for something, or someone, we become curious and attentive and begin to see things we didn’t previously, the reward is sheer delight.

Designer: James Barnett Government Architect

Date of original construction: 1872 - largest NSW Government contract up to that time

Current Managing Agency: Department of Planning – Greater Sydney Parklands

Location: Balmain Road, Rozelle

Cost of Work: $675,700, 2020-21: $303,700, 2021-22: $372,000

Contributions: Planning NSW: $500,000, MSP: $175,700

Replacement Stone Source: No.1 Alfred Street Circular Quay

After completion, the project team established that the waratahs carved onto the piers in 1878 are, alongside the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Domain gates, the earliest known examples of native flora represented on a NSW government site.

Project Before and After Photo

Callan Park Gates - Before Photo
Callan Park Gates Heritage Restoration