Callan Park is a large parkland in the Leichhardt area. At over 60 hectares and equivalent to the size of the Sydney Botanical Gardens, Callan Park is one of the largest and most regionally significant public facilities in Sydney’s Inner West.
Built as an enlightened hospital for the insane in 1885, it has a number of exceptional heritage buildings.
Callan Park is owned and managed by the NSW State Government. Master planning of the site is a state government responsibility however, Leichhardt Council took on this challenge as a result of many previous unsuccessful state government attempts.
With the transfer of mental health beds away from Callan Park in 1983 after the Richmond Report was initiated, the last twenty years have seen a number of successful community-led campaigns to oppose state government redevelopment plans. These campaigns lead to the passage of the Callan Park (Special Provisions) Act 2002 to preserve the public ownership of Callan Park; to protect its current features and restrict its future use.
Callan Park is considered a community issue as there has been long ongoing community consultation for this important site. On 19 July 2011 after 18 months of community consultation Leichhardt Council adopted a Master Plan for the site which managed to achieve an 87% approval rating from the local community. One of the unique features about the consultation process was the use of new web enabled technology and an interactive website called Callan Park Your Plan. The consultation process was rigorous and thorough engaging large numbers of the local community.