Previously home to 31st Battalion for over 120 years, and local traditional owner clans before, the 15ha site has been transformed into parkland. Jezzine Barracks fills a missing link enabling a 10.2km connection between Townsville’s CBD, The Strand and suburbs Rowes Bay and Palleranda. This link improves the city's walkability and provides visitors opportunities to take in the Coral Sea view.

Wal Smith, Mundingburra, Australia

Previously home to 31st Battalion (nee Kennedy Regiment) for over 120 years, and local traditional owner clans before them, the 15 ha site has gone through a significant urban change to be transformed from a military barracks into a public parkland which includes flowing paths between the various lookouts with views over the ocean to Magnetic Island, up to the Palm Group of islands and back over Townsville to The Pinnacles and ranges to the west.
The Jezzine Barracks site fills in a missing link enabling a 10.2 kilometre ocean front connection between the Townsville CBD, The Strand and the coastal suburbs of Rowes Bay and Palleranda. This link significantly improves the walkability of the city and provides residents and visitors a variety of opportunities to take in the magnificent views over the adjacent Coral Sea and islands from a range of different vantage points.
The landscape architectural design of the project features an amphitheatre, recreational facilities, boardwalk, bridges, and pedestrian paths and is extensively used for recreational pursuits by the local community as well as a significant tourist drawcard for locals and visitors alike. The project also included a number of architectural elements including restoration of historical buildings, sensitive embellishment of the heritage listed fort to provide all abilities access, an amenities block, the coastal boardwalk and a lookout shelter. A number of architectural buildings have been designed for a future stage of the development including a Community building, kiosk and picnic shelters that will provide further activation on the site.
The open space parkland development has not only opened up parts of the site that have not been available to the public for more than a century but has also carefully incorporated all abilities pathways to the top of the two significant peaks on the site to ensure all the public can obtain access to these magnificent vantage points.
To manage the advisory groups and guide the project planning at a high level, the Jezzine Barracks Community Trust was established. Developing military controlled land to a significant parkland asset that maintained the heritage values of the site whilst developing a parkland for open space, recreation and community use for the benefit of the public, was a major urban experiment. The land was gifted to the City Council to ensure the historic site would be preserved and developed in the public interest. The Community Trust was set up as a separate entity and managed the funds contributed by all levels of government to ensure the overall design objectives, with particular emphasis on the heritage values, were met. The use of a Trust with a Chairman appointed by the minister, six citizens including an indigenous person, two representatives from Council and two from State Government provided a good model for guiding the development of such a significant asset.
The accessibility of the steeply undulating site is another key factor in its success, with 99% of all site features accessible to people with disabilities. The coastal walkway transitions past a number of art pieces that tell the story of both the indigenous and military accomplishments and of their “Coming Together”. In all, there are 34 interpretive artworks across three key themes – indigenous heritage, military history and environmental influences that have contributed to the shaping of this land. These interpretive artworks provide visitors with an opportunity to understand how the site has transformed over time into the passive parkland storybook that it is today.
The site also addresses the sustainability issues of developing a parkland site adjoining Cleveland and Rowes Bay with a variety of stormwater bio retention schemes. The bio retention swales, whilst filtering stormwater runoff also play an important role in maintaining separation between pedestrians and vehicular traffic as they meander through the site.

Submitter

Wal Smith, Mundingburra, Australia

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