Myles Dunphy Reserve

“Elevated access with elevated environmental sensitivity”

Executive Summary

Fleetwood was contracted by Georges River Council to deliver a new elevated public boardwalk at Myles Dunphy Reserve in Sydney’s south. On the surface a seemingly simple project, the ecologically-sensitive site actually presented many complications. This included swampy terrain, significant local Aboriginal heritage and the presence of Phytophthora virus in the local vegetation. The timeline was also condensed, as we needed to avoid the annual roosting period of the Grey Headed Flying Fox which was native to the reserve. To solve these challenges we made extensive use of our in-house MARS™ boardwalk system, using modified hand-piled footings.


Georges River Council





Scope of Work

Deliver, Detail



Fleetwood Involvement

Fleetwood was contracted directly by Georges River Council to deliver the entire boardwalk, from design and fabrication to installation. To meet the Council’s brief, budget and timeline – whilst remaining sensitive to the many environmental requirements of the project – our design engineers recommended the use of our MARS™ boardwalk system with modified hand-piled footings, made from fibre reinforced plastic (FRP). Durable, lightweight and extremely low maintenance, FRP is ideal for even the harshest of salty and acidic conditions. As a fully modular system, each section of the boardwalk was manufactured off-site, before being hand-installed by our crews with minimal noise or disruption to the surrounding habitat and neighbours, human and otherwise!

More Project Information


It was clear from the initial site visit, that the swampy and fragile habitat at Myles Dunphy Reserve would make access very difficult. This directly impacted the design, with the boardwalk footings needing to be modified so they could be installed without excavators and heavy machinery. Footings also needed to be suitable for wet conditions as water table was just below the ground level. It was also vital for the structure’s design to be highly durable, so any need for future maintenance would be kept to an absolute minimum.


The site’s marshy ground and restricted access proved a major challenge during construction, requiring all tools and materials to be carried in manually. With limited access via private driveways, the local residents played a key role during the process. An added complication was the presence of the Phytophthora virus (sometimes referred to as ‘water mould’) in the area, which required significant environmental controls. Timings and noise levels were also tricky, given community sensitivities around the large Grey Headed Flying Fox colony that calls Myles Dunphy Reserve home.


Overcoming the site’s challenges required an innovative and flexible approach. From the outset we implemented a series of detailed environmental systems including Department of Environment’s ‘Arrive clean, leave clean’ measures that, while observing all necessary Phytophthora controls, didn’t hinder the efficiency of our crews. Site logistics also required a crane to be set up (very carefully) on a steep driveway in extremely tight space, partly in a resident’s front yard, allowing us to deliver the larger materials as close as possible to the actual boardwalk.


  • Hand-piled footings
  • Modular fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) decking
  • Lightweight, durable, low maintenance
  • ‘Plant-friendly’ mesh construction allows rain and light to filter underneath

  • FRP
  • FRP minimesh

  • Mars™ boardwalk

The swampy conditions presented a variety of site-specific risks including the potential for slips, falls, venomous snakes and mosquito-borne illnesses. These were mitigated with the provision of relevant PPE (including snake bite kits) and awareness-based communications for all crews working on site. Safety at one end of the boardwalk was also threatened by a large and unstable overhead rock. Specialist contractors were called in to move the rock with airbags and pneumatic equipment, before breaking it into smaller pieces to mitigate any safety risk to workers or the community.


The project brief came with several strict environmental considerations. These included preserving the area’s rich Aboriginal heritage and the need for stringent controls to help prevent any spread of the Phytophthora virus that was already in the area. Monitoring and limiting noise levels was another key issue given the reserve is home to a major Grey Headed Flying Fox colony.


Whether commuting, staying fit or simply socialising, members of the local community needed easy access from one side of Myles Dunphy Reserve to the other. But with sections of vegetation affected by the Phytophthora virus, foot traffic threatened to spread the disease. The use of a slightly elevated walkway provided the ideal solution, improving community connection while avoiding the need for ground contact.


Council ran the initial community engagement as well as providing updates during the project. Fleetwood also kept local residents directly informed about any disruptions throughout the installation process.


The new boardwalk is a key piece of access infrastructure, providing a critical link in the Council’s wider cycleway network. It has also quickly become an iconic meeting point, providing safe all-weather access for locals and visitors to explore Myles Dunphy Reserve, while always protecting the region’s sensitive local flora, fauna and Indigenous culture.