Callan Park in limbo

With buildings and grounds designed by some of Australia’s foremost park/landscape and 19c architects, the 60 hectare site of Callan Park is a place of limbo. Sited on the Parramatta River so that mentally ill patients could arrive by boat (as they weren’t allowed on the Kings Highway) the lunatic asylum was originally several parcels of land purchased “by Crown Solicitor and Police Magistrate John Ryan Brenan. In 1839 he bought what he then named the Garry Owen estate”. Nowadays the site is fragmented with many buildings compounding the site’s infamy for the state’s lunatic asylum. Parts of it are still leased/used by art, educational and health institutions and markets.


Colonial Architect Mortimer Lewis, may have been the architect involved in the first stage of the site’s development whilst Colonial Architect James Barnett worked with Inspector of the Insane Dr Frederick Norton Manning for the design of the lunatic asylum in themed 1880’s and wiht the design of some twenty neo-classical buildings. Adding to a list of extensive parkland design, Director of the Botanic Gardens, Charles Moore, also did the design of the parklands.



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