Rozelle, Sydney Callan Park Gates - Rozelle

Awards

The Inner West Council – Marrickville Medal 2022 award for the Callan Park Gates Reactivation project

Services

Contact point

Picture of Kate Napier
Kate Napier Director Heritage Environment & Planning 02 9769 9847

NSW Public Works led the revitalisation of the historic Callan Park gates constructed in 1878, bringing back the gates’ landmark qualities to the delight of park users.

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 won a Commendation award for Conservation at the Inner West Built Environment Awards in 2022.

Background

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 were forced to navigate a narrow footpath around the closed gates to the road entrance.
NSW Public Works’ (NSWPW) proposed a solution included the creation of a car-free plaza in front of the gates, removal of bins, and repairs to the guardhouse to enable its adaptive reuse into a kiosk.

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Restoring a local landmark: The renewal of Callan Park Gates

Our role

The Minister’s Stonework Program provided strategic planning and design advice, scoped documentation, planning approvals, quality assurance through construction and co-founded delivery of the works.

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 the stone bases, corrosion treatment and repainting of metalwork informed by historic paint layer analysis, restoration of the lanterns, and rejuvenating 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 NSWPW, in 2021 which allowed 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 is 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.

Outcomes

The restored original gates of Callan Park were officially reopened by the community in late May 2022. The improved gate setting, and fabric restored its landmark quality, resulted in a second stage of work, creating an activated pedestrian plaza inside the gates, to be realised.

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, 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