Civic and State Square Masterplan

Every great city has a lively central heart.

The Civic and State Square Masterplan reimagines the green heart of Darwin city into a welcoming and interactive space. An important part of the Darwin City Deal, the precinct will provide community and event space that links the Waterfront with the city centre, creating an activated and lively place for all.

It will become a tropical, green, cool and shaded oasis within the city.  A spacious place for events, festivals, gatherings and displays.

Key Design Elements

  • Provide tropical, shaded promenades and walkways
  • Enhance the existing sense of pavilions in the park
  • Create an activated central heart
  • Deliver a beautiful space for events, festivals and gatherings
  • Develop a lush, cool, tropical park
  • Link and connect to the waterfront and CBD.


Concept Features

  • Locals and tourists are drawn to the site’s active central heart. To activate this space, the masterplan features:
  • Expressive curved structures, inspired by the vortex of a cyclone, to provide all-weather shelter and a ceiling showcasing the work of Territory Aboriginal artists.
  • A large interactive water feature with playful seating, a terrace amphitheatre and generous raised lawn areas. During the Dry Season, water misting adds to the surprise and fun of the space
  • A playful water wall, that can be illuminated at night becoming a projected canvas for interpreting Darwin and the Territory’s fascinating history. In event mode, the water wall is turned off and the area becomes a performance space with ample room for displays, pop ups and stalls. The paved surface can also be a changing canvas for images and artworks.
  • Large, flexible, shaded lawns to create opportunities for large-scale concerts and events for up to 7000 people.
  • Converting Smith Street, from Bennett Street to the Waterfront, into a pedestrian-focused tropical walk with generous sheltered walkways that reduce the heat and glare of the sun.
  • An Art Gallery, located next to the Central Heart, with a ‘Grand Veranda’ to provide a tropical threshold between the park and the internal exhibition spaces. Placed along the main tree-lined thoroughfare connecting the Waterfront and CBD, the Art Gallery adds to the shape the spine of Civic and State Square and features a Billabong Garden with plants of the wetter environments in the Territory.
  • In keeping with the status of Parliament House and the Supreme Court, pedestrian friendly forecourts with cooling water features and lush gardens, whilst accommodating access for ceremonial, service and emergency vehicles, disabled parking and cyclists.  
  • Aligned with the Northern Territory Government’s heat mitigation and cooling the CBD initiatives, the current heat generating car parks are being replaced by an underground car park, allowing the removal of a vast amount of bitumen. A shaded, sculptural garden will be developed across the roof of the underground car park with local white-trunked Eucalypts, Sand Palms, Cycads and Porcellonite Stone providing a backdrop for Aboriginal Sculptural works from Local Larrakia and Territory artists.



The project team consulted with more than 30 key stakeholders and community groups including local government and Traditional Owners, to gain their aspirations and ideas about the project. Civic and State Square will become a much-loved feature destination in the city for locals, Territorians and tourists. It includes all the elements that make for a great experience throughout the changing seasons, time and time again.