A great spot for a summer picnic

Sawmillers Reserve in North Sydney

Sawmillers Reserve is a small, quiet park that sits on the harbour foreshore in North Sydney. It is a peaceful shady spot with lovely views and ready access to the shops and cafes of Blue’s Point Road and North Sydney.

The easiest access to Sawmillers Reserve is beside the Scout Hall at the end of Munro Street. There’s usually plenty of parking at the entrance to the park or in the surrounding streets.

Sawmillers Reserve overlooks Berry’s Bay and across to Balls Head Reserve and then further round to Balmain, so there’s loads of pretty stuff to look at while you relax in the dappled shade.

Eaton's Sawmill on the site prior to 1970.
Eaton’s Sawmill on the site prior to 1970.

The story of Sawmillers Reserve starts back in 1817 when 80 acres of land in the area was granted to former convict Billy Blue. The property was called Northampton Farm which Blue developed to supply fruit and vegetables to the local town across the water.

By the time of his death in 1834, the peninsular was already called “Blue’s Point”. Blue’s farm was divided amongst his children and then subsequently subdivided. The area known as Sawmillers Reserve remained with Blue’s wife Mary and passed to her second husband William French. French’s Forest gets its name from William French.

Carpenter John Eaton acquired land from French around 1879 to build saw mills. By 1913 Eaton’s Pioneer Saw Mills had a deep wharf for national and international export of timber.

Eaton saw mill was successful for many decades, but by 1960 access difficulties and the changing nature of harbour commerce made the site unprofitable and by the mid-1970’s it was sold to developers.

A Maritime Services Board hopper barge
A Maritime Services Board hopper barge

Development of the land was actively opposed by local residents and with assistance of the State Government, North Sydney Council bought the land in 1979 and commissioned Harry Howard and Associates to design a park in 1980.

The park was completed in two years and opened by Carole Barker, Mayor of North Sydney on Sep 11th 1982.

The design of the park echoes many elements of its former history, retaining the concrete engine beds of the old log bandsaws at the back of the reserve and the remains of a Maritime Services Board hopper barge on the foreshore.

A great spot for a lazy afternoon and well worth a visit.

About Mike 314 Articles
As publisher of The Kuringai Examiner, I have an interest in all things on the North Shore, particularly news, sport and food. I'm always on the outlook for something unique and original to bring to my readers.