What was once a wartime torpedo factory and submarine base is now Sydney's newest playground and public space. Located on the harbour between Kirribilli and Kurraba Point in North Sydney, HMAS Platypus is a former submarine base that hasn't been open to the public in over 150 years. Now, the space has been transformed into Sub Base Platypus, a massive new foreshore walkway and parkland — and it's now open to the masses.
The historic north shore site sits on Cammeraygal land and was once a gasworks facility for the region. As part of the war effort, the site became a torpedo factory in 1942 and later commissioned as the navy's submarine base in 1967 — named HMAS Platypus — which then closed back in 1998.
What was once the submarine wharf has been rebuilt into an elevated water walkway that links the site to Kesterton Park (via Kiara Close) and theNorth Sydney Ferry Wharf.
Alongside the water walkway is a recreation and barbecue area, plus a new submarine-themed playground. As a tribute to the site's history, the playground includes a model Oberon Submarine and periscopes, built by the Harbour Trust's Volunteer Restoration Team, which consists of over 50 volunteers with expertise in engineering, carpentry and electrical work.
Stage one opened in May 2018, with further redevelopment and long-term upgrades planned for the site over the next three years. It is eventually planned to become a large-scale waterfront park, with the government having already invested nearly $70 million in the project.
The second stage of Sub Base Platypus will include a mix of open areas and parkland, with the addition of plazas, courtyards and flexible re-use spaces. The former submarine workshop structures will soon be leased out as well, with tenants expected onsite throughout 2019.