A modern case study for self funding parks

Stream: Capacity development
Host Organisation: Sydney Harbour Federation Trust
Location: Cockatoo Island

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Above & Tile Image: Sydney Harbour Federation Trust

If you want to discover more about the cultural history of Sydney Harbour and how recreation, conservation and enterprise can successfully coexist, then this is the excursion for you. Less than 15 minutes from the CBD lies the jewel in the crown of Sydney Harbour – World-Heritage-listed Cockatoo Island. Once a colonial convict goal, a girls' reformatory school and a thriving maritime dockyard, Cockatoo Island has been restored and rejuvenated to evolve into a unique Sydney destination. Now a canvas for world-class events such as the Biennale of Sydney, home to the world's first urban campground and to a range of thriving commercial enterprises, discover an innovative parkland in the heart of magnificent Sydney Harbour.

The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust invites you to visit Cockatoo Island to learn about how one of Australia's premium conservation organisations has balanced the requirement to become self-funding whilst achieving a number of different, often competing, objectives. The Harbour Trust works to maximise public access and to protect, conserve and interpret the natural and cultural heritage values of the lands it manages, as well as contributing to the amenity of the Sydney Harbour region.

Your visit will begin with a tour of the island's remnant shipyard infrastructure and then you will investigate the site's convict history. Cockatoo Island is one of eleven convict sites that are collectively World-Heritage-listed. This unique island balances the preservation of cultural heritage with encouraging a sense of adventure through modern uses. This interactive tour will showcase the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust and examine what's required to balance a wide range of considerations from access through to conservation whilst achieving self-funding status.

During lunch overlooking spectacular Sydney Harbour, you will have the opportunity to mix with park staff, community leaders and fellow delegates. After lunch, you will be invited to share innovative ideas and practical applications aimed at reducing the reliance of parks on funding from national, state or local governments.

The global financial crisis precipitated a dramatic change in the funding of and support for parks and protected areas across Australia. We are keen to use this opportunity to engage park managers, decision makers and business leaders in open discussion to examine new ideas on becoming financially self-sustaining. Join us to take up the challenge to find new and sustainable ways to fund parks and protected areas.


Transportation: Return travel to Sydney Olympic Park via ferry. There will be a communique to delegates closer to the date regarding options to get to/back from Sydney Olympic Park pre/post excursion.
Meals: Morning tea and lunch *Catering will include some vegetarian options. Delegates with other special dietary requirements will need to bring their own packed food/beverage.

What to bring

  • Wear comfortable clothing
  • Closed-toe walking shoes
  • Sun lotion
  • Weather gear (hat, rain jacket, a sweater/warm clothing in case the wind picks up on the water)
  • Water bottle


Weather conditions can be checked at www.bom.gov.au/nsw/forcasts/sydney.shtml

IUCN WCPA Parks Australia NSW NPWS