Registered landscape architect and heritage consultant
offering a range of design, landscape and heritage services to government, commercial and private clients.


Circle Square Design





HERITAGE STUDY 2015 - 2018

by Christine Hay, Colleen Morris, James Quoyle


Sydney Harbour is an exceptional place beloved by Sydney-siders and visitors from all walks of life. It’s harbourside landscapes, fought-for by early activists, however, remain under threat from commercial and government interests.

How do we conserve large cultural landscapes such as Sydney Harbour for people to enjoy into the future? To answer this question a specialist heritage team was assembled engaged by the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects NSW, to conduct a study and nominate 10 cultural landscapes for the NSW State Heritage Register.

Aimed at raising awareness of landscape heritage issues, the study developed a foundational ‘whole of landscape’ approach to identifying significant landscape conservation areas. The vision that evolved, was to conserve the ‘green necklace’ of Sydney Harbour - a series of parks, government-owned institutions and Crown land, fragments of open space and revegetated bushland around the Harbour foreshore, recognised as an irreplaceable cultural landscape within the Sydney region.

This project was the consolidation of work undertaken over 2.5 years. A methodology and criteria for identifying landscape heritage places, termed the ‘Landscape Lens’ took a holistic view of the landscape. The Lens spanned natural systems (e.g. drainage catchments), spatial qualities (e.g. visual catchments) and human responses to places, capturing significant stories.

The study focused on Sydney Harbour and its distinctive headlands, foreshores and waterplane. From there, 10 nominations were identified, including the Greater Royal National Park, inclusive of the first-such park in Australia which was established in 1879.

Within the Sydney Basin Bioregion, Berry Island Reserve, Wollstonecraft Foreshore Reserve, Balls Head Reserve, Berry’s Bay Precinct (Carradah Park), Ballast Point Park and Yurulbin were selected as significant components in the vulnerable Sydney Harbour cultural landscape. Nominations 9 and 10, Lang Park and Elizabeth Bay House and Landscape Setting, are precious fragments of early Sydney and European responses to the Australian landscape. Nominations 8, Gladesville Hospital Landscape, another link in the ‘green necklace’, is one of several former psychiatric hospitals with a significant landscape.

These nominated places have since been submitted to the NSW Heritage Council and are in the process of being assessed.

This project has received two awards in 2019. Read more about the project in this article in Foreground.


Balls Head panorama, annotated as No. 4 in the maps below.


Berrima, Sutton Forest and Exeter


by Colleen Morris, Christine Hay, Ian Perkins, Wingecarribee Shire Council with the Berrima Residents’ Association

This study was commissioned by a local community group, Berrima Residents’ Association, because its historic area was threatened by a proposed coal mine. Working in association with lead consultant Colleen Morris, Landscape Heritage Expert, the project’s aim was to capture and distil the historical significance of the Berrima, Sutton Forest and Exeter cultural landscape. The study investigated the area’s natural systems, Aboriginal history, European explorers, settlers, vice-regal holiday makers, farmers and design-makers, to understand its layers and to tell its complex story.

The report’s large-scale mapping analysis and historical outline underpinned the assessment. It established the cultural landscape as having exceptional historic significance as a place of early exploration beyond the limits of the Cumberland Plain in 1798, and of early settlement and pastoralism from 1819 onward, the evidence of which remains legible today. The volcanic table-top hulk, Mount Gingenbullen, is recognised as the centrepiece of its distinctive landscape.

The study won the National Trust 2018 Landscape Conservation Award.

The assessment is utilised as a reference resource in the protection of the place against development threats and as a basis for heritage listing nominations.


The study was commissioned by Berrima Residents Group whom aim to preserve the area for posterity.

coastAL gardeN 2018


For this project, a decade-old coastal Japanese garden, needed rethinking. It was suffering the effects of blustering winds, saltwater spray and unstable sandy soils. Stone finishes and planting needed attention and replenishment, as its dunal landform was eroding at an alarming rate.

Respecting both the coastal systems and the original design concepts, CSD re-established lost hill slope with coir logs, arranged to follow the contours of the place. Local stone and gravels were used to support soil levels and as a feature carpet to window gardens. The final touch was the planting of native grasses and other local species. The new plants needed protective sheaths as rabbits had nibbled away at earlier plantings.

Seaside gardens, however, need constant reassessment as environmental conditions are harsh and unrelenting. The first stage of the project was completed in August 2018. Once the plants take, and form microclimates, new species can be added. Although challenging, this was a rewarding project. Photos of its progress will be added over time.

CSD project team: Christine Hay, Susan Stratton, Sue Stevens.




by Sue Rosen, Noni Boyd, Christine Hay


In 2017, in collaboration with, lead consultant, Historian Dr Sue Rosen, and Architectural Historian Dr Noni Boyd, CSD was involved in the landscape assessment of the Alison Homestead Plan of Management. Built in 1875, this first homestead in the area had in recent times become a museum. Alison Homestead however suffered a debilitating arson attack in 2012. Following its reconstruction Council as custodian required a document to guide its future as a viable museum. CSD’s role was to assess the cultural landscape and its elements and contribute to landscape policy and recommendations.

CSD project team: Christine Hay, Susan Stratton.


maitland jewish cemetery 2016 - 2017


CSD became involved with this significant place soon after its listing on the NSW State Heritage Register by Maitland Council in 2014. Consecrated in 1858, the cemetery was identified in the 1980s by the National Trust Cemetery Committee. Suffering the effects of neglect, environmental degradation from floods and unrestrained access by horses, the cemetery had remained hidden by a giant lantana patch. This proved to be a blessing as beneath the tangled growth, the cemetery was largely intact. This place tells stories of devastating childhood disease and of families who were merchants when river transport was a conduit for produce, before Newcastle overtook as the booming economic centre for the region.

Newly enclosed by a fence (based on historic photographs), CSD produced a strategy to revegetate the cemetery using local species. Respecting the requirements of Council and the ‘Friends’ who would manage the place, the design involved defining the footprint of an early chapel, providing for pedestrian access and utilising grasses and low flowering ground covers. The aim was to create a place for evocative experiences within an appropriate landscape setting from which to view the layout of the place and appreciate the detail of graves.

CSD project team: Christine Hay, Susan Stratton, Sue Stevens.



The University of Sydney (USYD) projects 2014-2016

CSD was engaged by Campus Infrastructure Services to provide a cultural landscape assessment for the University's 2014 Grounds Conservation Plan. The exceptional significance of its grounds, courtyards, gardens and trees were identified and graded in the project. Further studies, centred on the University’s landscape heritage, have included: ‘Origins of Landscape Beauty, Professor E.G. Waterhouse at the University of Sydney’ 2015; ‘Heritage Impact Statement: Baxter’s Lodge, University of Sydney’2014; ‘New Law Building, University of Sydney’2014, ‘Victoria Park Heritage Law Report’ 2014 and the Science Road CMP 2013.

CSD project team:
2014 Grounds Conservation Plan; Christine Hay, Christine Murphy.
Science Road CMP 2013; Christine Hay, Anna Simanowsky, Xuan Luo, Alicia Vickers.

In 2015, CSD project managed the Professor E.G. Waterhouse Legacy Project, with the assistance of James Quoyle, this included the first stage of the Camellia Landscape Heritage Collection at the Camperdown Campus. In 2016 CSD produced a landscape heritage assessment and planting plans for the Edward Ford Building Wisteria Garden & adjacent Physics Building.

CSD project team:
Camellia Collection; Christine Hay, James Quoyle. Edward Ford Building Wisteria Garden & Physics Building planting plans; Christine Hay, Susan Stratton and Gina Plate.


southern highlands Garden

Masterplan + Implementation 1988 - 2005


In 1988 CSD had the pleasure of being involved in the design of a large garden on a property attached to a late 1970s stylish home. Inspired by its elevated position amidst lush rolling hills and superb rural vistas, the design follows the organic lines of its contours. Curving patterns form terraced garden levels and intimate spaces which resonate over its steep terrain.

Rileys Sugarloaf, a dominating volcanic landform and sinuous walls of local basalt are characteristic features of the garden. So too are dramatic backdrops of remnant forest including a rainforest pocket. The garden includes, a tennis court, croquet lawn, rose garden, parterre and a Manchurian Pear walkway, all integrated into wide terraces of mass planting beds and lawn walks. This scheme, realised over many years, has been extensively planted with indigenous rainforest and forest species, large scale deciduous trees and conifers, themed colour perennial beds and mass planting beds of shrubs and native grasses. A snake wall and haha are stone walling features of the place.

Initial project team: Christine Hay and Site Image Landscape Architects.
Watercolour: Christine Hay, Angela Lober.


Mascot Memorial Park



A masterplan to revitalise the park for its commemoration in 1995 for the 50th Anniversary of the end of WWII, included the restoration of its memorial, the introduction of new planting designs and increased lighting. Designed as a wide garden of patterned planting beds and lawn walkways, its laid-out was to enhance the street front area to a corner location.


Gaiarine Gardens

Masterplan + Implementation 1991-1992


Located in the heartland of Botany Bay Council, this two-hectare parkland celebrates its sister city in Italy and features a design scheme inspired by this relationship.

The design includes Mediterranean themes in its planting selection of Cypress and Lavender. Artists enhanced its entry with mosaics to welcome visitors. A monument and plaque to soldiers from the sister city were dedicated at a community event in 1992 which welcomed representatives from the city of Gaiarine.

The scheme was a third-generation design overlay. Contributing designers include Marin O’Dea, Andrew Prose and Susan Stratton.