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Franklin Square Master Plan

Image courtesy of Richard Jupe

Image courtesy of Richard Jupe

Image courtesy of Richard Jupe


Image courtesy of Richard Jupe

Image courtesy of Richard Jupe



Image courtesy of Richard Jupe



'Digital Odyssey', Craig Walsh, Franklin Square, Hobart, Ten Days on the Island 2011 - Image: Alistair Bett, f8 Photography © courtesy of 10 Days on the Island


The Council has commenced work on a master plan for Franklin Square.  The Franklin Square Master Plan will guide park management and refurbishment for the next 25-30 years.

Read on to learn more about the plan and its progress to date.

Project scope

Broadly, the Master Plan seeks to answer What does Franklin Square mean to residents and visitors?  And what sort of park do we want it to be?

The Master Plan will establish the management direction and the broad parameters for future asset replacement and refurbishment (i.e. paving, trees and furniture). 

The purpose of the Master Plan is to:

  • Draw together the values, constraints and opportunities of Franklin Square
  • Outline the preferred future direction for Franklin Square
  • Present a landscaping concept that illustrates the broad design direction that is appropriate for the site for the next 25-30 years

Project update

Thank you to everyone who has participated in the stakeholder engagement program to date.  The project team have received a great deal of interest and input from a large number of residents, park visitors and organisations.

The project team are now reviewing this information and will be using it to inform preliminary directions and concepts for the Franklin Square Master Plan the coming months.  A subsequent round of stakeholder consultation on the draft Master Plan is planned for the mid-2013.

Community engagement

Early stakeholder and community engagement for the Project has now been completed.  However, further opportunities for stakeholder engagement in the project are planned for the future - once preliminary directions and concepts have been developed.

For further information, particularly regarding how you may contribute to future stages of the project, please contact Matt Lindus (Park Planner, Hobart City Council) on (03) 6238 2448 or via email or write to Hobart City Council, GPO Box 503, Hobart TAS 7001

As part of the preliminary engagement for the Franklin Square Master Plan, two activities were supported that targeted the input of younger visitors and residents of Hobart.

In December 2012, Kindergarten Students from The Hutchins School participated in an onsite session modelled on the Reggio Emilia approach to learning.  The session involved observing how the students interacted with the Park, and then asking students to draw what was important to them about the Park.

As part of Architecture Week 2012, the Australian Institute of Architects, with support from VOS Construction and Hobart City Council held a design competition for Primary and Secondary Students.

The Hidden Hobart initiative invited students and young designers to draw their own ideas for Franklin Square, with the entries then displayed around Hobart in local shops.  As well as gain input from younger visitors, the activity was designed to encourage people to explore Hobart, while also consider their own ideas for Franklin Square.

Both of these activities were used by the Project Team to help identify how younger people saw Franklin Square, and as an indication of what might be possible.  A big thank you to all participants in these important engagement activities!


The Franklin Square Master Plan will document the key values and issues of Franklin Square, and then articulate the future direction for the management and refurbishment of Franklin Square for the next 25-30 years.

Initially, the Franklin Square Master Plan will investigate issues related to:

  • Amenity - site development, interpretation, facilities, presentation and enjoyment.
  • Heritage - historic heritage values of the site, their conservation and promotion.
  • Social values - community perceptions and use of the Park, including activities, events and safety for all community members, including children.
  • Horticulture and arboriculture - type, value and maintenance of landscaping.
  • City planning - the role of Franklin Square in central Hobart.

The Master Plan will include a suite of management recommendations and a concept landscape plan that illustrates a broad direction for future refurbishment of the park's hard and soft landscaping (including paving, furniture, signage, pathways, landscaping, lighting, interpretation and the potential for artwork).

The scope of the Master Plan does not include a detailed landscape design; however it will include a 'situation analysis' and illustration of landscaping concepts - both of which are preliminary stages in the preparation of more detailed landscape designs.


Franklin Square's proximity to central Hobart and location between Sullivans Cove and central Hobart, means it has very significant public usage.

Much of this usage is informal and passive; commuting through the site, lunch-time relaxation, a gathering place for people or groups and a waiting area for nearby bus services. 

It is also the venue for more structured leisure and civic activities including small concerts, art installations and occasional public rallies.

Franklin Square is also of significant historic cultural heritage value.

In the first instance, Franklin Square sits atop the location of some of the earliest permanent buildings in Hobart from the early 1800s and the grounds of Hobart's original Government House and is included in the Tasmanian Heritage Register for its historic heritage significance.

The mature trees within the park are another highly-valued feature within central Hobart.  Most prominent during summer, the mature canopy contains a number of English Elms and Small Leafed Limes planted in the 1860s, as well as more recent specimens from the mid to late 1900s.

Recognising these values, in 2007 Council commissioned a conservation plan for Franklin Square to guide Council in preparing a master plan for the Park.  The draft Franklin Square Conservation Plan describes the  Park, along with its use, historic development, social and aesthetic values - including their condition and integrity.  The draft Conservation Plan has not been endorsed by Council, and therefore does not necessarily reflect the views or intent of Council.  However,  the draft Conservation Plan does provide an important resource for the current project, particularly with regard to the conservation of the Park's cultural significance.

Franklin Square also contains a number of valuable facilities, assets and improvements, including the historic statues, Elizabeth Street public toilets, lighting and hard landscaping.  

A number of these significant assets are due for replacement in the next 5-10 years.  Therefore, it is critical that such work is undertaken in a strategic manner that best promotes Franklin Square's unique values and role within central Hobart.

By establishing the overall direction for park management and refurbishment, the Franklin Square Master Plan will ensure that the park's important and diverse values are retained and promoted well into the future.


For more information, please contact Council's Park Planner, Matt Lindus on (03) 6238 2448 or email

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GPO Box 503
Hobart Tasmania 7001