Sunset Park

Have a picnic, enjoy picturesque views of Port Stephens, or catch the stunning sunset.

Sunset Park

Part of Henry Halloran’s legacy were his Garden City subdivisions. His subdivisions work with nature rather than against it. Large areas of vegetation were retained. His subdivisions recognise the value of trees, parks and gardens to the inhabitants’ physical and mental well-being.

Sunset Park Entrance

Sunset Park and Meridian Park are two examples of these Garden City principles. These two parks are both located in the Tanilba Estate subdivision.

Original Plans Tanilba House Estate by Henry F Halloran

Henry’s subdivisions were aesthetically more pleasing and more interesting than the chessboard design in other subdivisions in the 1920s and 1930s. The inclusion of huge amounts of public space; parks, squares, reserves, play, and picnic grounds encouraged social interaction.

Facilities & Structures in Sunset Park

This park served as a focal point for many of Henry Halloran’s ambitious initiatives. Although a pavilion (see image), once erected for dances and entertainment, has regrettably disappeared over time, Sunset Park boasts enduring features such as stone benches, picnic tables, and a fireplace, all of which were established by 1932.

Seat Inspired by a Lime Kiln

The design of the fireplace and one of the seats is inspired by a lime kiln, originally used for burning oyster shells to produce lime for the mortar employed in constructing Tanilba House.

Henry Halloran’s vision extended beyond conventional park amenities; he also introduced swings, a swing-boat, a swing plank, see-saw, and a merry-go-round to enhance the picnic grounds at Sunset Park.

Picnic Facilities and Fireplaces in Sunset Park

Sunset Park offers numerous tables and seats for picnickers, some featuring roofs to provide protection from both the sun and rain.

Fireplace Repurposed from Lime Kiln

According to Henry’s brochure for the Tanilba Estates, published around 1931, the fireplace is described as suitable “to boil the billy or grill the chops,” indicating its intended use for picnicking.

It’s essential to note that all open fires are now prohibited in Sunset Park due to environmental concerns and damage to trees caused by gathering firewood.

Additionally, the nearly 100-year-old cement mortar of the fireplace is susceptible to collapse if fires are lit in the barbecue, leading to numerous repairs.

Sunset Park Breathtaking Views

Sunset Park continues to enchant visitors seeking breathtaking views of Port Stephens and stunning sunsets, making it a favourite among locals and tourists alike.

Nestled in the heart of natural beauty, this park beckons individuals to unwind and connect with nature’s splendor. It’s a haven where picnicking enthusiasts gather in the tranquil afternoons, creating cherished memories amidst the picturesque backdrop. Whether you’re savoring the hues of the setting sun or simply relishing the serenity of the surroundings, Sunset Park promises an unforgettable experience for all who venture here.

Gardens & Plant Restoration

Since 2018, a dedicated volunteer group registered with Port Stephens Council has taken the initiative to develop, plant, and maintain several garden beds and trees within this park. Their efforts involve the meticulous process of removing invasive weeds like lantana and asparagus fern. Following weed removal, the volunteers outlined and mulched the garden beds, and added garden edges to clearly define the newly established green spaces. This ongoing commitment by the volunteer group contributes significantly to the beautification and upkeep of the park’s landscaping.

Norfolk Island Pines Planted in Sunset Park

A little-known fact is that there are three Norfolk Island Pines that were planted in 1929 by Henry F. Halloran in Sunset Park. Originally, the plans for the Tanilba House Estate included a road leading to the water’s edge near the entrance to Sunset Park. However, this road was never constructed. Nonetheless, in line with Henry’s policy to plant trees beside roads, the Norfolk Island Pines still stand today, a testament to his vision and legacy.