Prime Minister to open Australia’s first purpose-built dementia park

Monday 04 December 2023

Lewis Herman reserve – a place where everyone can play

Inner West Council is thrilled the Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, will officially open Lewis Herman Reserve at Ashfield, Australia’s first purpose-built dementia park today on Monday 4th of December.

Dementia-friendly parks and open spaces are about “gentle inclusion” and Lewis Herman Reserve has been designed to respond to the need to create facilities for all underpinned by the principle that ‘everyone can play’.

Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne said:

“This park is a break-through in design and delivery of a park to meet the needs of the whole of community.

“We are excited to deliver a park that supports multi-generational use by the community and reflects the diverse background of the community.

“We have an ageing population and absolutely need to have recreation spaces that cater for all members of our community, especially residents living with dementia and their loved ones.

“This park is a safe and inclusive space designed in consultation with the broad community and with key stakeholders like Ashfield Baptist Homes, who understand first-hand the ways we can enhance the quality of life for their residents.”

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Paul Scully said:

“Today, the NSW government is investing $1.3 million towards the reserve’s open space upgrade through our NSW Public Spaces Legacy Program.

"Creating new public open spaces to meet the needs of the community for years to come makes places like Ashfield great places to live.

“This is just the start of developing new inclusive play spaces throughout Greater Sydney designed for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy.”

Attending the event, Minister for Transport and Summer Hill MP Jo Haylen said:

“There is now improved access to and from the reserve, along with a diverse range of activities for children to learn socialise, imagine, create and play.”

Sensory gardens with native vegetation have been created, providing sensory stimulus to elderly visitors from the Ashfield Baptist Homes, and seniors throughout the community.

Mobility for people with dementia can be a major issue and the design of the new reserve has wide paths, providing access to areas of interest for those using walking frames and in wheelchairs. Resting and gathering spots can be found throughout the park, including ease of access comfortable seating.

The park will also provide a new and diverse children’s playground which is inclusive, accessible and available to all children to play, explore and create.

A genuinely multi-generational recreation reserve, the park will also feature picnic and passive recreation facilities including seating, shelters, and BBQ.

Significantly, council is proud to name the park after Ashfield’s longest serving Mayor Lewis Herman OAM.

Herman was a passionate advocate for Ashfield and multiculturalism, serving a remarkable 35 years as a councillor, including as Mayor from 1976 to 1991.

Clr Mark Drury said:

“One of thing I really welcome is that we’re getting better at building parks that meet a variety of needs and we’re better at understanding that.”

“We know how important recreation spaces are for people and this is probably the first new park in 30 years in the old Ashfield area – a new park that caters for people with special needs.

“I’m pleased with linked up with the neighbours Ashfield Baptist Homes (ABH) and they were able to influence the design.”

ABH is a not-for-profit aged care organisation operated by Ashfield Baptist Church, located on the south border of the reserve.

As part of broad community engagement, ABH were consulted as a key stakeholder in the project.

Ashfield Baptist Homes Chief Executive Leigh Kildey said:

“I see them having morning tea in each other’s company in another environment and taking their loved ones there and seeing their grandkids playing in the park.

“The way the pathways meander around is great and the tree planting has a tactile feel, which is important for people living with dementia; they have aromas that take them back to a place.”

The $1.3 million upgrade has been delivered by Inner West Council with funding from the Department of Planning and Environment and Council.   

Official Opening Details:

Date: 4 December 5pm – 6.30pm
Official Opening: 5:10pm
Where: 88 Holden Steet, Ashfield
What: Afternoon tea, children’s entertainment including face painting

For media enquiries please contact Margaret Merten,

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Page last updated: 08 Dec 2023