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Turf Design Studio


Sydney, Australia

Award of Excellence in the Play Spaces category of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) NSW 2022 Awards | National Trust Heritage Awards 2021 - Judges' Choice Award winner | National Trust Heritage Awards 2021 - Aboriginal Heritage Award winner | Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) Awards for Excellence 2021 - Social and Community Infrastructure winner | NSW Premiers Awards 2021 | Place Leaders Asia Pacific Awards 2021 - Commended finalist.

Gosford Park was converted from the Leagues Club Park sports-field into an award-winning and innovative Waterfront Public Space. SESL provided key advice to reuse site-won soils and beach sand allowing only a minimal contribution of imported materials to develop this parkland. The key area is a ‘tidal terrace’ allowing the natural tidal movements to flow in through underground conduits to allow for shallow water play at specific times of the day.


The fundamental goal of this project was connection- to the environment, to 'Country' and to community - a place for all. This is how SESL Australia and our project partners took on the challenge...



Review of proposed soils

The objective was to characterise the physical properties of an ideal beach sand and a site sand resource for potential reuse. The utilisation of site sand reduced the overall project costs as well as reduced waste disposal costs and importation costs.

At this site, we initially conducted a detailed site investigation to support the proposed redevelopment of the leagues club field. We then collected and analysed soil samples from the waterfront site to determine the suitability of the onsite sands as well as characterise the historical importation of fill materials from past landscaping works. 

gosford waterfront sml_edited.jpg


Other inclusions

Alongside the site investigation and soil reuse advice, SESL Australia also contributed a waste management plan.

The waste management plan detailed the strategic risk reduction of unexpected finds as well as the proper management of actual and potential Acid Sulfate Soils (ASS) uncovered in the geotechnical investigation. Requirements for managing wastes generated as a part of the proposed works were also outlined. It was recommended that all excavated soils should be assessed and stockpiled to prevent cross-contamination of soils.


Understanding Purpose

When SESL Australia was engaged to undertake the soil and horticultural assessments for the project, it was essential that our approach to advice mirrored that of the design purpose. The goal was to transform the club park into a 'nature-centric' gathering place to honour the sites cultural histories, whilst highlighting the shifting and dynamic landscape of its coastal location.

The parks redevelopment was designed to follow the old shoreline path, with onsite sands to highlight its natural formation.



Tidal Terrace

The park's innovative ‘tidal terrace’ brings the bay into the park through a shallow waterway, With careful consideration, it was designed with the tidal patterns in mind. When the tide rises the terrace becomes a water playzone, then when it falls the terrace uncovers a sandy playspace.

SESL provided a thorough investigation into the soil condition of the tidal terrace through design development and documentation. It was determined that the onsite sands showed good drainage and water retention properties, adequate for the changing tidal conditions within the terrace. This determination was essential to the implementation of site-won soils, heavily reducing waste disposal, as well as the costs associated.

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