Works complete

Playground now open

Upgrading a popular and historic park

We’ve upgraded Jacka Park playground in Freshwater to provide an inclusive, fun and challenging play experience for a range of ages and abilities.

We consulted on the concept plan for the playground upgrade between 5 August 2021 and 5 September 2021 and received 181 comments. Thank you to everyone who provided feedback. You can view more about the consultation outcome below.

Children of all ages and abilities can enjoy three separate play structures, a spinning carousel and pod swing.

Little explorers will love the inclusive toddler play area, while bigger kids can enjoy the junior and senior play structures with more adventurous climbing frames and slides.

Inspired by local history and the flora and fauna that once flourished in the area, the playground includes nature themed play structures, along with sandstone boulders and timber logs for climbing. Paths and seating have also been upgraded.

Jacak Park is one of the 217 public playgrounds we manage on the Northern Beaches. It was formerly known as Mrs Jacka’s Garden. Blanche Jacka, a war widow, was granted use of the land opposite he home in Wydnora Avenue in 1917 to create a public garden.

In 1988, Council installed the first playground at Jacka Park, which was later upgraded in 2006. A War memorial was dedicated in February 1985 and the ‘Wall of Remembrance’ was unveiled in 1995.

Over the decades, Jacka Park has remained popular meeting spot for Freshwater families. The new playground will continue to delight local children for years to come.

Consultation outcome

Community engagement revealed that Jacka Park, Freshwater is well loved and there was strong support for the upgrade of the playground.

Community feedback also helped us update the concept plan for the playground. Changes included minor realignment of the playground to avoid conflicts with the stormwater easement and rearrangement of play zones.

There were many other requests received during the consultation for additional park improvements. These were all great ideas but are outside the scope of this project and subject to funding and additional consultation. The current works will focus on the playground only.

You can view the full community engagement report here.

Learn more about the history of Jacka Park

The design of the playground will be inspired by the local history of this popular park, including references to the flora and fauna that once flourished in the area.

Sapper Leslie Jacka was killed in action in Gallipoli on 1 December 1915. Leslie was a cousin of Albert Jacka, a Victorian who was the first Australian awarded the Victoria Cross in World War 1.

In 1917, Mrs Blanche Jacka was granted use of the land opposite her home in Wyndora Avenue to make a garden. This land had remained unsold because of its swampy nature. Above it, Freshwater Creek rose from a spring near Raffo Lane.

Along the banks of the creek were patches of quicksand and the whole area was covered with scrub and wildflowers with such descriptive names such as: Snake flowers, candlesticks, eggs and bacon, and honeycomb trees. The crimson bottlebrush was Mrs Jacka’s favourite flower.

Snakes, lizards, bandicoots and ticks abounded in the area and bullfrogs and small fish inhabited the creek. A grassy paddock to east of the swamp was owned by C.W. Holloway who had planted it with trees and bulbs. This paddock later became part of the park.

In 1917, members of the Freshwater SLSC and teachers and students from Hurlstone Agricultural College cleared a section of the park to make Mrs Jacka’s garden.

Photo: 1930 view of Jacka Park centre from 87-89 Wyndora Avenue

Photo: 1945 Jacka Park near Wyndora Gully
Source: Gwen Gordon

In June 1978, Warringah Council voted to develop Jacka Park as an open space and children’s play area.

In 1979 the Jacka Park garden was officially opened with several of Mrs Jacka’s relatives present.

The War memorial at Jacka Park was dedicated in Feb 1985 and the ‘Wall of Remembrance’ was unveiled in 1995.

The first playground was first installed in 1988.

In 2006, the playground was upgraded with contributions from local Bendigo Bank to support the local Harbord Community.


Name Phillip Gray, Asset Management Officer - Parks & Recreation
Phone 1300 434 434
In writing

'Jacka Park playground upgrade', Northern Beaches Council, PO Box 82, Manly NSW 1655.