Named after Sir James Willoughby Gordon (1773-1851), English officer-soldier and associate of Sir Thomas Livingstone Mitchell, the NSW Surveyor-General, who assigned the name of ‘Willoughby’ to the local parish. The park was created through the efforts of local residents lobbying for more parkland in Middle Harbour Ward. As a result the State Government purchased the land from the Forsyth family in 1907.
The beautiful gates at the NW corner of the park were originally the entry gates to William Muston’s property “Penshurst”, which is now Muston Park in Penshurst Street. A bronze statue “Daphne” by Gaye Porter is located near the gates.
Glazed ceramic tiles are a feature of the path. The 3,000 tiles are inlaid on both sides of sections of the path, and a number made from feature tiles in every section marks every 100 metres of the path. The project was co-ordinated by the Willoughby Park Centre’s Children’s Advanced Pottery class teacher Rose Daridis, who also helped with installation of the tiles. The tiles were decorated in a variety of ways by many local hands (both children and adults) at workshops, schools and events such as the Fauna Fair, Park Art and Spring Fair. The path was officially opened by the Mayor at the Fauna Fair 10 August 2008.
Recycled materials used in the construction of the playground include the timber for the swings frames, the rubberundersurfacing and the sandstone blocks.
There is a bus stop 25m from the park entrance in McClelland Street.There is off street parking at the northern end of the Warrane Road side of the park and along the Robert Street side of the park, and on street parking on all other boundaries of the park. A wide, smooth shared use perimeter path for walking/jogging, cycling and skating use encircles the main oval, as well as providing a link between the Willoughby Park Centre/main gates on the corner of McClelland St & Warrane Rd and the Bowling Club/Robert St end of the park.
The Willoughby Park Centre, East Willoughby Preschool and the Willoughby Bowling Club are all located in the park.