The Rotary Athletic Field is part of an original grant to John Jones, part of which later came into the possession of SB Whatmore. Along the Lane Cove River in this area were wharves and boatsheds used mainly in transporting hardwood timber and sandstone needed for the early construction of buildings and bridges in Sydney.
In 1961 the Rotary Club of Chatswood instigated the development of the Whatmore Estate and reclamation of part of the river foreshore as an athletic field for the training of track and field events. The Club contributed $27,000 over five years to the development and the field was opened in 1967 by the Governor of NSW, Sir Roden Cutler.
There is a double plate BBQ, 4 picnic tables and a park bench in a picnic area next to the river, and public toilets and a carpark (with one carspace reserved for people with disabilities adjacent to the Athletics Field).
To mark the centenary of Rotary International, The Rotary Club of Chatswood, the Council and the NSW Government constructed the Centenary Boardwalk, jetty and canoe launching facility on the Lane Cove River in 2005. There are rustic benches and interpretive features along the boardwalk through the mangrove forest. There is a smooth pathway from behind the amenities buildings to the BBQ, a picnic setting and the beginning of the wide boardwalk.
The totem pole (“Nepubai” 2007) at one entrance to the boardwalk was carved and designed by Shane Haurama, a local indigenous artist. It pays homage to the original inhabitants of the Northern Sydney region and the significance of water in Aboriginal life, and is connected to the artist’s familial lineage and their two main totems the shark and saltwater crocodile. See below for more information.
Walking tracks along the river and into the adjacent bushland of Mowbray Park and the Lane Cove River Valley are accessible from the reserve.