Higgins Park Masterplan

Project Type: Projects

A masterplan has been developed to guide the short and long term revitalisation of Higgins Park and Playfield Reserve. 

The Town understands the importance and benefits of formal and informal recreational spaces to community life, both locally and at a district level. Use by various sporting clubs, as well as future population growth, will increase pressure on the Town’s public open space amenity. Given the large land size of Higgins Park and Playfield Reserve, and its key role as a home for formal sport and informal recreation in the Victoria Park, the Town has prepared a Masterplan to guide future use and upgrades of the parks.

Latest update

The final masterplan was approved at the December 2020 Ordinary Council Meeting and funding for the lighting upgrade component of the masterplan was approved in the 2022-23 Annual Budget. After a tender process, the lighting upgrade construction contract was awarded to Stiles Electrical Service at the July 2023 Ordinary Council Meeting.

The majority of the works to deliver the lighting upgrade were successfully carried out in mid-late 2023. Remaining works electrical cabling and commissioning with Western Power, which is expected to be complete by mid-May 2024. For more information visit our project page here.

The Masterplan

Higgins Park, Fred Bell Parade and Playfield Reserve (the site) form an eight-hectare parcel of public open space. This site is regarded as one of the Town’s main formal sporting facilities as well as a key recreational amenity for the local community. Given the site’s land size, the projected population growth, the need for formalised sporting areas, and the recently adopted Public Open Space Strategy, the Town appointed consultant Place Laboratory to prepare a number of masterplan options for the site.

The masterplan options sought to:

  • Optimise regional active recreation opportunities on the site.
  • Maximise and modernise the recreational offering of the site.
  • Enhance and provide passive recreation amenity to the local community.
  • Make public open space and Town assets work for the community.
  • Align with and deliver on objectives of the Public Open Space Strategy.

Three options were developed to identify future uses of the parks, as follows:

  • Option 1: Investigation of the development of a synthetic hockey turf on the Hillview Terrace side of Higgins Park (in addition to an Australian Rules Football Oval);
  • Option 2: Consideration of adding two grass hockey pitches on the Hillview Terrace side of Higgins Park, in addition to the synthetic pitch.
  • Option 3: The development of a second oval for a complete football focus should the synthetic hockey turf be considered unfeasible.

The masterplan options were developed through a co-design workshop process with a Design Reference Group, which included members of the community and representatives from the stakeholder groups. The process of reaching these options was as follows:

  • Stage 1 – Analysis and Opportunity Identification, February to March 2020
  • Stage 2 – Exploration of Concept Options, April to May 2020
  • Stage 3 – Refinement of Concept Options, June to August 2020
  • Stage 4 – Public Comment and Council Resolution, September to December 2020

In September 2020, Council approved the three masterplan options to proceed to public advertising. Following the public engagement process, and a significant level of public interest in the masterplan options, a report was presented to Council at a Special Council Meeting in December 2020, summarising the public engagement and making the following recommendation:

  • the sporting configuration as shown in option 3;
  • further investigation into the closure or shared use of Playfield Street between Ramsden Avenue and Etwell Street,
  • further investigation into the closure or shared use of Fred Bell Parade from Hill View Terrace,
  • an extension of the youth zone, fitness equipment and ramped access on the embankment, as shown in option 3, and
  • a community play space, as shown in option 3, maximising the space available with the preferred sporting configuration.

A summary of the final masterplan inclusions is available below.

Masterplan inclusions

  • One senior and one junior AFL oval;
  • One senior and one junior cricket oval;
  • Centrally located shared sports building to accommodate all clubs, including multi directional viewing areas;
  • Retained tennis and croquet courts, with improved access from the new shared sports building, and a spectators viewing area;
  • Traffic calming measures to Playfield Street to improve the safety and connection to Millen Primary School. Further investigation will be carried out to the closure of Playfield Street to traffic between Etwell Street and Ramsden Avenue;
  • Further investigation into the closure of Fred Bell Parade from Hill View Terrace;
  • Universal access path network around perimeter and through key routes within the park, including connection to the Hill View Terrace bus stop;
  • All ages community facilities including fitness equipment and spectator seating around perimeter of oval;
  • All ages, multi ability community playground on Higgins Park with shade structure, picnic and BBQ facilities, bike racks, drink fountain and way finding signage;
  • Removal of the existing tennis club building and replacement with a youth zone including mixed sports courts, graphic surface treatment, terraced embankment, lighting, drink fountain, planting and bike racks;
  • Improved access and use of the embankment between Higgins Park and Playfield Reserve, including universal access and sloped play areas;
  • Upgrades to Playfield Reserve including seating terraces, picnic setting, drink fountain and small nature play space;
  • Upgrades to surrounds of RSL including expansion of forecourt for outdoor events, additional tree planting, universal access footpaths and reconfiguration of car parking;
  • Re-vegetation and expansion of existing Kokoda trails network including wayfinding, signage and the possible closure of Fred Bell Parade from Hill View Terrace;
  • Removal of turf from the sloped boundary areas and from under trees, replaced with locally native vegetation and garden beds;
  • Increased canopy coverage;
  • Increased lighting to informal and formal recreation areas;
  • Formalised parking configurations.


Related information:

Special Council Meeting 16 December 2020 - minutes

Higgins Park and Playfield Reserve - final masterplan

A - Stakeholder engagement 

B - Site analysis 

C - Collocated facility document

D - Workshop 1 summary

E - Workshop 2 summary

F - Workshop 3 summary

G - DRG submission report

H - Design visualisations

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