Concepts and Design

Public Space Ideas Competition

Liberating harbour foreshore railway to connect adjoining parks, and create a walkway link to Waverton

The Cammeraygal people of Lavender Bay called it Gooweebahree (Quibaree, meaning “fresh water”), being a richly vegetated bay with sandy foreshore and flowing streams.

Quibaree Park is presently a thin slither of lawn and boardwalk, tenuously connected to Wendy’s Secret Garden, Clark and Watt Parks, with the railway and Luna Park dominating the foreshore. The NSW Premier’s Committee and Transport for NSW have resolved to convert the railway spur from Waverton to Lavender Bay to a stunning walkway, discreetly maintaining the tracks for heritage train special events and creating 3.7 hectares of foreshore open space.

The ‘Sydney Harbour HighLine’ (SHHL) re-purposes the railway creating node parks and lookouts along its length, linking Sawmillers Reserve, Waverton Park and Berrys Bay. The expanded Quibaree Park provides the culminating park for
the SHHL, whose parkland and indigenous interpretive features
• Bushland regeneration and new park landscape;
• Water-access benches stepping down into the harbour;
• Oval lawn multi-purpose relaxation and events space;
• 50m long Rainbow Serpent mosaic sculptural bench;
• Sinuous walkway transitioning the 15m level change down the railway cutting, cantilevering at dramatic lookouts;
• Sloping lawns with linear viewing benches;
• Dramatic walkway along shared rail line to Waverton.

1. Provides 3.7 hectares of public open space within 10 minutes of residences in an area acutely short of green space with more residents per hectare than other North Shore Councils and the City of Sydney;
2. Provides a social history mosaic of Sydney including indigenous heritage, maritime history and industrialisation;
3. Transforms rail into connective walkway and park.


The Sydney Harbour’s North Shore Line was built in two stages:

  1. Opened in 1890 connecting Hornsby on the Sydney to Brisbane rail line to St Leonards and
  2. Opened in 1893 connecting St Leonards via Waverton to Milsons Point on the east shore of Lavender Bay on the shore opposite Circular Quay.

It was built as part of a plan to open up the harbour’s north shore:

  • first for trade (taking goods up-line to Hornsby) and
  • then for commuters (taking people down-line to the city and up-line to their homes). 

The Lavender Bay terminus was a transfer point for commuters connecting between trains and ferries. With the opening of the Bridge in 1932 it became obsolete.

High Line Concepts

The Waverton to Lavender Bay section (just short of Milsons Point):

  • is 3.3km long;
  • runs through a 310 metre tunnel;
  • ends in a harbour fronting 2 hectare field;
  • passes and will link:
  • Ball’s Head Reserve (and the coal loader),
  • Waverton Park,
  • Sawmillers Reserve,
  • Wendy’s “secret” Garden,
  • Lavender Bay Parklands and
  • Harry’s Park
  • Luna Park,
  • the Olympic Pool,
  • the Harbour Bridge,


In 2017 the Premier gave:

an iron clad guarantee that a NSW Liberals & Nationals Government will never sell off the land and ensure it remains a community asset in the event it is not needed for railway use,

In June 2017 a representative of the Minister for Transport, responsible for Sydney Trains, the “owner” of the line advised:

I can confirm that the Minister and Sydney Trains have agreed that work to create a walking path along the Lavender Bar Spur can commence on the side where tracks have been removed, before the active rail line is closed on the other side of the spur.

In April, 2018 Ms Wilson advised:

an iron clad agreement with the Premier Gladys Berejiklian that the line will stay in public hands and be used as a recreation area.

Only two actions are needed to get the project underway:

  1. Sydney Trains to approve a Environmental Application to be lodged with North Sydney Council.
  2. The NSW Government to provide funding


Coming Soon…