Preserving Our Heritage since 1968

The Hunters Hill Trust

The Hunters Hill Trust

Preserving Our Heritage since 1968

Sorry saga continues at Boronia Park Oval

Three and a half years after trucks started dumping fill at Boronia Park No 3 Oval we are still faced with problems:

  • Excessive size of field
  • Excessive slope of the batter at the northern end
  • Inclusion of ‘dirty fill’
  • Failure to stabilise the batters.

HHT recommends that

  1. That no further Council projects be classified as Exempt Development unless fully assessed to be genuinely of minor impact, and performed under full Council supervision.
  2. That the Survey report(s) supplied to Council, showing the actual size and height of the field in relation to its original size and height, be made available. 
  3. That the Engineer’s report(s) supplied to Council as to the structural soundness of the retaining walls be made available.  
  4. That the incomplete items be completed.  
  5. That a financial report be made available showing all contributions to the cost of the project, financial or in-kind, including Government grants, and Council’s own contributions. 

Read the full report:

Remediation of No 3 Oval Boronia Park HHT Submission to Review Committee

2014-01-22T16:46:33+11:00January 22, 2014|

Update on Boronia Park Oval 3

There has been little progress this year

  • Native plants, provided by Council and at Council expense, were planted without first stabilising the surface. Few have survived.  Council will provide more tube stock.
  • Hunters Hill Rugby Club has been fined twice by the Environment Protection Authority for allowing material to be washed from the site into the surrounding bushland and into the Lane Cove River, and has paid these fines.
  • Surveys show that the fill extends too far to the north and will be removed and used to level the southeast corner.
  • Council is not satisfied with the report provided by the Rugby Club relating to the soundness of the retaining wall.

More information on lighting, parking, costs and the Plan of Management is available here.


2014-01-21T23:21:20+11:00July 15, 2013|

Golfing prohibited

A helpful sign warns would-be golfers at Boronia Park Oval No 3.

Sadly, there has been no sporting action of any kind since 2010 when Hunters Hill Rugby Union Football Club started converting the cricket oval into a full-sized rugby field ….

2014-01-21T23:22:11+11:00July 1, 2013|

How long since you visited Boronia Park?

Boronia Park

No 3 oval

dirty fill


You may find it  hard to recognise Boronia Park.

Since 2010, Hunters Hill Rugby Union Football Club has been converting No. 3 Oval at Boronia Park from a cricket oval into a full-sized rugby field.


  • The original drawing for the project showed the field to be 120m x 73m, but recent aerial photographs show the levelled area to be substantially larger (approximately 155m x 80m).
  • The work was classified by Council as ‘exempt development‘, meaning that it did not require either Council or the Rugby Club to submit a Development Application. There has been no consultation with the community either before or during this project.
  • The Rugby Club has received grant funding towards the cost of the project.
  • Most of the work on No. 3 Oval is being managed by the Rugby Club; Council’s contribution consists of removing trees from the southeastern corner at the start of the project, and planting trees, shrubs and groundcover to stabilise the edges after the earthworks are complete.
  • Most of the fill for the project is said to be ‘clean fill’ from the widening of the M2 motorway, but some still evident contains fragments of broken brick and concrete, ceramic pipe and steel.
  • Long heaps of finer material (some contaminated with fragments of building material) currently stockpiled on the southern part of the site are due to be spread over the fill to provide a base for turf (planned to be laid late in the 2013 summer).
  • Council has now requested the Rugby Club provide an independent surveyors’ report to allow the current level of fill deposited to be compared with that proposed (and specified in the drawings supplied at the start of the project).
  • Council has requested the Rugby Club provide an engineer’s certification as to the adequacy of the two levels of stone retaining walls.
  • The field will be fitted with a watering system and a drainage system (neither of which is described in the current drawing). Mains water will be used to irrigate the field (the existing bore which feeds the tank below No. 1 Oval isn’t adequate to supply water even to Nos 1 and 2 Ovals).
  •  The Club plans to install a fence, 1.1m high, along the eastern side (presumably to help prevent balls from continuing over the edge into the bush below).
  • In the future the Club is planning to build a ‘Community Facility’ between Nos 2 and 3 Ovals, the site designated in the Plan of Management for a Community Centre/Hall.  Costed at $2.0 million the proposal is to include toilets, canteen, etc. and lights for the oval incorporating storm water and water tanks and would be available for other community groups.’
  • Parking for those using No. 3 Oval will be located between Nos 2 and 3 Ovals (reached via the lower part of Princes St which extends through the Park).  Access will also be possible via a footpath running from the lower end of Boronia Ave, around the southern end of the field, along the western edge of the field (above the small cliff).
  • The work will not be completed until November 2013.
  • Council has stated that after the work on No. 3 Oval is completed, the Rugby Club will relinquish use of No. 1 Oval, making it available to other users.

Chronology of changes to No. 3 Oval, Boronia Park


2014-01-21T23:23:22+11:00January 9, 2013|

What is happening to public spaces in Hunters Hill?

The Trust’s concerns:

  • Special interest groups are being given special access to these places without proper consideration for the overall public interest.
  • Council is more concerned about being seen to save money than achieving design excellence – the new shed at Weil Park is an example of this.
  • Things are allowed to happen without any proper planning or oversight.  The debacle of oval No 3 at Boronia Park is the prime example of this.
  • There are also many unanswered questions about the Rugby Club’s plans for a clubhouse on the edge of No 2 Oval.

One small example of the lack of planning in our parks is the location of the bench near the Boronia Park play area – it faces away from the swings and slippery dips.  As a result it’s not a good place to sit if you want to make sure your grandson isn’t using the swing to murder his sister.

The Cricket Club’s proposal for Boronia Park is another more serious example of this lack.  Council is being asked to approve this, even though its own design review committee, the Conservation Advisory Panel, was scathing about it.  Clearly CAP was too polite in its language.  We should have called the thing the dog that it is.

  • Is this the best place for a storage shed when it’s right on the perimeter of the main oval in full view of everyone?
  • Would it be better located as part of an existing structure – for example as an extension to the existing grandstand?
  • Would be better tucked away near the water tank?
  • Is this the best location for park users for more barbeque facilities and picnic shelters?
  • Is a big area of painted concrete the most appropriate surface to be plonked into a grassy area.
  • Why would anyone build a dinky flower box in the middle of a park?
  • And is institutional yellow the most appropriate colour for a picnic shelter?

You could come up with more.  But, let’s face it, this proposal is in no way a considered, well designed response to a facility within a heritage-listed park.

We know that it’s possible to do a whole lot better than this.  The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust and The National Parks and Wildlife Service are two bodies that properly manage the stewardship of public assets.  Take a look at how the paths and landscaping at Woolwich dock have been designed and compare that to the cricket shed.

The Trust urges Council to consider tonight’s proposal in the broader light of how Hunters Hill will be seen as a steward of public places.

We urge Council to take excellence rather than thrift as a proper goal to strive for.

Hunters Hill will be judged as to how well it has fulfilled its role as a guardian of Public Places when the inevitable question of amalgamation comes up.

2014-01-21T23:24:13+11:00November 5, 2012|

Council’s response to DA in Boronia Park

Council has considered the Development Application (DA) from the Cricket Club to build a storage shed and associated structures between No. 1 Oval and the practice nets. Besides the shed, they proposed a concreted paved area, two shelters (one containing an electric barbecue, the other a table and benches), and a planter ‘feature’.

There had been a simple shed on this site, but earlier this year, without formal approval from Council, the Club demolished it (and cut down a large Casuarina tree) and commenced to build a larger shed on the site. Although not stated in the DA, it seems part of the reason for the proposal was to house bowling machines for use in the cricket nets.

All Councillors were present at the meeting, with Mayor Richard Quinn in the chair, and there was a long discussion on this item.

Tony Coote (for the Hunters Hill Trust) and Alister Sharp addressed the meeting, but no representatives from the Cricket Club were present. The motion to adopt the Cricket Club’s proposal was moved by Zac Miles, but lapsed for want of a seconder.

A second motion by Meredith Sheil, to defer the matter pending discussion with the Cricket Club regarding a revised proposal, was adopted 6 : 0.

Councillors seemed generally opposed to more ad-hoc development at the Reserve, and in favour of a review of the Plan of Management for Boronia Park (Barry Smith said this was planned for next year anyway).

The general feeling seemed to be that the Cricket Club should drop their DA, and, if urgently requiring space to store bowling machines, simply replace the previous shed which, if replacing ‘like with like’ (i.e. a corrugated steel shed) would not require a DA at all.

Another aspect of the proposal is that the DA application may be invalid. The Ryde – Hunters Hill Flora and Fauna Protection Society has received advice that any person or body other than a public authority requires written consent from the land owner (i.e. the State) to lodge a DA for work on Crown Land, and that the consent of Council is not adequate.

2014-01-21T23:25:11+11:00November 4, 2012|

Boronia Park: Reconstruction of Oval no3 – Hunter’s Hill Rugby

sediment washes into Boronia Park

Those of you living nearby will have been disturbed over recent months by the numbers of heavy trucks entering the Park, loaded up with material removed for the widening of the M2 and delivering many thousand tonnes of fill to substantially raise the footprint and level of Oval no3.  Funding for the reconstruction is being provided via the Hunter’s Hill Rugby Club which is apparently also controlling the works and has not been required to submit a development application.  No consent has been given as Hunter’s Hill Council considers the works fall under ‘Division 12 – Parks and other public reserves Clause 66 Exempt development of SEPP (Infrastructure) 2007’. However, under the Act for Exempt Development, works need to be “carried out by or on behalf of a public authority” which would not include the Rugby Club.

We have questioned whether due process in the planning phase has occurred with the required assessment of environmental impacts, given that Boronia Park is Heritage listed Crown  Land and contains sensitive bushland with endangered ecological communities and species protected under both Commonwealth and State legislation.  It also provides a significant habitat corridor and has received valuable restoration work by both volunteers and contractors over many years.
Heavy rains over summer have resulted in failures of the sedimentation fence and significant discharge of the imported fill into good bushland, along the Great North Walk and into the street below with drainage to the Lane Cove river and the harbour (see photos
from Alister Sharp, 21.1.12).  (more…)

2014-01-21T23:26:59+11:00February 14, 2012|
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