Victoria Park has reopened as a public park. It follows the closure of Victoria Park Golf Course late last month. The 45-hectare green space is Brisbane’s biggest new public park in almost 50 years, and second in size only to Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens.

Plans to revamp the grounds were originally announced in 2019. Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner likened the green space to Central Park in New York City or Hyde Park in London.

The reopening marks the start of an enormous four-year, $83 million transformation, which will eventually include waterholes and wetlands, nature playgrounds, an adventure valley and more.

“Opening the park to the public is a major step in our plan to deliver a once-in-a generation project which will restore the park to its former glory and reconnect visitors with local history, culture and nature,” Schrinner said in a statement.

“Importantly, the park will also involve a range of cultural and creative features – including a Visitor Centre which will explore Indigenous culture, landscape and contemporary history of the park.”

The putt putt course, driving range, bistro and function centre will all remain open during the multi-stage transformation. Early works in the coming months will include taking down fences, tree planting and opening access to Herston busway.

The park’s more than 2,800 trees in the park currently represent around 10 per cent canopy coverage. The plan is to increase this coverage to 60 per cent over the next 50 years.

The 18-hole Victoria Park Golf Course closed on June 30; it opened in the 1930s. The site’s mixed history also includes use as social housing, a site for the brickmaking and timber-felling industries, and Brisbane’s first municipal rubbish dump.

Community consultation on the draft master plan for Victoria Park will be held in the second half of the year.