Rathmines Park Conservation Management Plan

In 2017, Umwelt were engaged by Lake Macquarie City Council to prepare a conservation management plan (CMP) for the State heritage listed Rathmines Park. The CMP prepared by Umwelt revised and updated a CMP originally prepared in 1999, prior to the Park obtaining State heritage listed status. The purpose of the revised CMP is to guide the appropriate management of the Park and its identified heritage significance as part of any future works or planning proposals. The CMP is a critical instrument in ensuring the protection, conservation and celebration of the heritage significance of the Park into the future.

Rathmines Park is already recognised as one of Lake Macquarie’s most significant heritage sites, as well as a site of significance to the State of NSW. As part of the CMP, the established significance of the Park was comprehensively revised and updated. This update confirmed that the Park is significant on both a local and State level, and also identified the Park to have heritage value on a National level. This finding was publicised in the local media.

1945 aerial of the Base, showing structures present at that time (© Australian War Memorial Collection, Accession No. P11290.001)

In addition to the revised assessment of significance, the CMP also included a substantially revised historical context section, as well as an assessment of Aboriginal and historical (non-Aboriginal) archaeological potential, a schedule of conservation and priority maintenance works, conservation policies and an overview of opportunities and constraints relating to new development and works to existing buildings and elements of significance. To inform this, Umwelt’s Spatial and Visualisation team prepared a number of plans detailing both the historical and current physical configuration of the Park, as well as an assessment of significant views and vistas.

The successful completion of the CMP also involved an extensive program of consultation with relevant stakeholders, including Aboriginal community members, Council staff, community members, leaseholders and property owners associated with the Park, as well as liaison with the NSW Heritage Division.

1945 Survey Plan (Lake Macquarie City Library, 2018)

In mid-October the CMP was lodged with the NSW Heritage Division for formal endorsement. Formal endorsement will mean that the CMP will be the guiding document used by Council and other relevant stakeholders to guide the management of these important heritage values. A determination of endorsement is expected by mid-2019.

Our heritage team has valued the opportunity to assist Council and the community to develop a plan that will guide the future management of this important heritage site.

If you would like any further detail on the project, please contact Karyn Virgin on 1300 793 267 or email at kvirgin@umwelt.com.au