On the Future of Rathmines Park

Filed under Community, Event & Venue, Heritage & Historical, News ~ by Press on  29 Sep 2019

A Master Plan and Plan of Management for Rathmines Park will guide the future use and development of the site and its historically significant former RAAF seaplane base.

Lake Macquarie City Council Recreation and Land Planning Coordinator Stephen Prince said a community engagement program would help gain a better understanding of the issues and opportunities for the waterfront site.

The Master Plan and Plan of Management will follow on from a Conservation Management Plan adopted by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage earlier this year,” Mr. Prince said.

We now want to know how the community uses Rathmines Park, and how they think it should be used and preserved into the future.”

Input we receive will help shape a vision that will enhance this important site’s heritage, community and recreational features.”

Rathmines Park was once home to one of the most important RAAF seaplane bases on Australia’s east coast.

Catalina long-range patrol bombers, along with other aircraft, flew from Rathmines during World War II, conducting coastal patrols in search of enemy raiders.

The base closed in 1956, but many of its key features remain, including part of the north-east hangar, the former Sergeants Mess, the former Officers Mess and the base hospital.

Rathmines Park former military base buildings and parade ground.

Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser said parts of the site were listed on local and State heritage registers, reflecting their important role in Lake Macquarie’s history, and more specifically in the role the RAAF base played in development of the surrounding community.

Rathmines Park is regarded as the most intact seaplane base in Australia,” Cr Fraser said.

We want to ensure the master plan recognises and respects this important part of our nation’s military history, while continuing to provide opportunities for community use and recreation.”

Feedback can be provided online at shape.lakemac.com.au/rathmines-park, where visitors can complete a short survey and provide comments via an interactive map.

Council will also host pop-up information and feedback sessions at Rathmines shops from 7-9am on Thursday 26 September, and from noon-2pm at Rathmines Park on the same day.

A community workshop at the Catalina Conference Centre will follow, from 6-8pm. RSVPs for the evening workshop are required.

Consultation for the Master Plan and Plan of Management is open until Friday 11 October.

Captain PG Taylor’s Catalina at Rathmines air base preparing for survey flight to South America. This might be ‘Frigate Bird II’ in preparation for its flight to Chile in 1951 ~ Image credit Tom Wigley


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