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Western Sydney Parklands: Australia’s Largest Urban Park

Linda Corkery & Noel Corkery, IUCN PARKS Journal 21.1 – March 2015

The important role of large urban parks in biodiversity conservation is becoming more widely recognized. Because many large urban parks contain substantial areas that meet the IUCN definition of ‘protected area’ there is an urgent need for management to protect them from threats posed by more intense recreation uses and a range of environmental impacts. Sustainable development principles applied to the management of large urban parks can achieve a balance between protecting biodiversity values and providing opportunities for visitors to engage with, enjoy and appreciate nature. This paper makes the argument for greater recognition of the need to incorporate sustainable development principles in the planning, design, development and management of large urban parks to achieve a balance between biodiversity conservation and the wide range of other roles and functions they are required to perform. The 5,280 ha Western Sydney Parklands provide valuable lessons on how sustainable development principles can be applied to protect and manage biodiversity values while offering a diverse range of recreation facilities to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population in western Sydney. The Parklands also demonstrate a model for economic sustainability that could be relevant to other large urban parks located in major cities.

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PARKS Journal online


La Perouse Headland Coastal Walk + Loop Road Project, Sydney NSW

Corkery, N 2013, ‘La Perouse Coastal Walk + Loop Road Project Sydney NSW’, Landscape Middle East, September 2013, pp 42-47.

Located on the northern shore of Botany Bay, La Perouse Headland provides spectacular cliff-top views across the bay and out to sea. The headland covers 10.4HA and is one of the most significant heritage sites in Australia.
It is where French explorer La Perouse landed 6 days after the first fleet from Britain. In addition the headland is of great significance to the Aboriginal people who have occupied the land for thousands of years...

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Coastal Walkway, Sydney, Australia

Corkery, N 2013, ‘Coastal Walkway, Sydney, Australia’, Chinese Landscape Architecture, vol. 29, pp 32-36.

Spectacular vertical sandstone cliffs up to 40 metres high alternating between sandy beaches characterise the iconic coastline of Sydney, Australia. Along the section of coastline between Sydney Harbour and Botany Bay dramatic cliff-top panoramic views extend along the coast and out over the Pacific Ocean. Crashing waves and a swirling ocean form a dynamic interplay between ocean and land.

While the public can easily access the coastal beaches some sections of cliff top are more difficult, with access provided by informal tracks or prevented completely in some locations. In response to increasing demand for public access to this section of the Sydney coastline, Waverly and Randwick City Councils are progressively developing the Coastal Walkway, which will ultimately extend from the southern headland of Sydney Harbour to La Perouse Headland at Botany Bay, a distance of approximately 30km.


La Perouse Headland Path Sydney NSW

Corkery, N 2013, ‘La Perouse Headland Path Sydney NSW’, the public domain, Issue 17 March 2013, pp 7-8.

Sydney’s La Perouse Headland has long been a place of cultural significance to both indigneous and European Australians. So when Randwick City Council decided to improve access to the across the site, it had to tread carefully – quite literally. The result is a new pedestrian pathway and parking area that is as understated as it is functional – a contemporary, respectful response to the unique site conditions and access requirements of this important landmark…

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Refurbishing a Heritage Site

Corkery, N 2012, ‘Refurbishing a Heritage Site’, Public Works Professional, September-October 2012, pp 36-37.

La Perouse Headland is an area of cultural and natural values, thanks to its picturesque landscape and historical heritage. Located 14 kilometres south east of the Sydney CBD on the north shore of Botany Bay, the area is a favourite for tourists, scuba divers and history buffs. However, years of heavy use and inadequate infrastructure had left it in poor condition…

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Madrid Rio – Spain’s Commitment to the Public Domain

Corkery, N & Hernando, E 2012, ‘Madrid Rio – Spain’s Commitment to the Public Domain’, Chinese Landscape Architecture, vol. 28, pp 64-67.

Walking the streets of Madrid one is constantly presented with the legacy of more than 1400 years of urban growth and adaptation of the Spanish capital. Public life in Madrid is largely played out in the incredible system of streets and plazas that are typically surrounded by cafésrestaurants and shops, overlooked by mid-rise apartment buildings. The plazas are a record of the history of Madrid with the central medieval centre of the city extending back more than a thousand years to the Moors…

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