Stage one of a previously inaccessible section of foreshore has opened to the public for the first time in more than a century and a half.

Located in North Sydney the site – which is now known as Sub Base Platypus – features a new over-the-water walkway linking it with Kesterton Park in North Sydney and a playground and recreation area on the water’s edge. It is also accessible from Kiara Close.

The area had previous lives as a gasworks for North Shore street lights, homes and businesses, a torpedo manufacturing and maintenance factory, and most recently a base for the Royal Australian Navy’s Oberon-class submarines, when it was named HMAS Platypus.

Navy history pervades the new area; there is a walk along the old submarine wharf, and the playground is submarine themed. Also look out for a model Oberon-class submarine and periscopes, which have been built by helpers from the Harbour Trust’s Volunteer Restoration Team.

“The government has invested close to $70 million to remediate and restore this significant site – and now the public will be able to enjoy the first stage in what will eventually become Sydney’s newest waterfront urban park,” said the member for North Sydney Trent Zimmerman in an official statement.

During stage two a plaza and courtyard will be added, and expressions of interest are now being considered for leasing the former workshop. Although nothing has been locked in, a cafe or restaurant does seem likely.

Sub Base Platypus opened officially on Saturday May 19. It can be accessed via the North Sydney Ferry Wharf and Kiara Close.

This article was updated on August 3, 2018. This article first appeared on Broadsheet on May 16.