This colourful and fragrant park was designed by Landscape Consultant Stephen Whitteridge following community consultation, and completed in June 2008.
Many of the plants were chosen for their fragrant leaves or flowers. The green foliage contrasts with the backdrop of the striking red retaining walls and meeting place columns, and the reddish brown brickwork of the terraces, steps and paths. There are also reddish tones in many of the plants’ flowers and leaves. The plants are a mixture of drought tolerant natives and exotics (many of Chinese origin), and will provide seasonal floral displays. Deciduous trees have been planted to provide summer shade, winter sun and autumn colour, and plants have been placed to create attractive views into the park from overlooking units and the street. Some of the plants have exotic and evocative common names such as Moonbeam, Heavenly Bamboo and Madagascar Jasmine. The Moonbeam (or Tabernaemontana coronaria) may look familiar, as this beautiful and uncommon tall shrub was transplanted from the garden in front of the former Civic Centre site in Victoria Avenue, before demolition. It has gorgeous white blooms with a heavy fragrance when in flower.
The land for Whitton Park was acquired by Council in 1997 for public open space, when redevelopment in the area from single houses to multi storied units was taking place. Bricks from two demolished houses were retainehed and used for the park’s built structures, retaining walls and pathway details. The park (and road) is named after John Whitton (1820-1898) who was the chief engineer for the layout and construction of railways in NSW. By his retirement in 1890 he had supervised the laying of 2171 miles of track and was known as a man of “rigid and unswerving integrity”. Oliver Road and other roads in the area (eg Eddy, Fehon and Goodchap) are also named after people involved with the construction of the railway on the North Shore.