Sydney has a new park right on its harbour.
Where once there stood crumbling shipping yards at the northern end of the CBD, now stands a sprawling green headland with walking tracks, rockpools and sweeping views.
Barangaroo Point park will open in mid-2015 and will be the first time Sydneysiders will have access to the western foreshore of the harbour since the 1800s. “It’s right in the city, a great park for people in the city,” Joshua French from the Institute of Landscape Architects told journalists at a launch preview on Tuesday.
“(Office workers can) take off the shoes, sit against the water’s edge and look at the beautiful landscape.”
Fastidiously planned and developed over five years, the old ports land has been converted to a rugged foreshore made of 6500 sandstone blocks and restored bushland featuring more than 75,000 native plants.
Wide walking tracks snake through the park, linking paths from the Royal Botanic Gardens in the city’s north to Barangaroo South and Darling Harbour.
It was a formidable task to restore the six-hectare headland from scratch says chief landscape architect Peter Walker.
The US architect designed the Ground Zero Memorial in New York City and said the two “monumental” designs, were “very similar in their financial and political complexity.
The Barangaroo design was based on the pre-colonial headland which existed when the Aboriginal Cadigal people lived on the land. His team worked off antique paintings and sketches to build a headland similar to what “Barangaroo herself and that group had been living in.”
Barangaroo, a Kamaraygal woman was second wife of Bennelong, who negotiated on behalf of his people with early British colonists.
“I never thought that there would be another really important commission like this, representative of cultural importance and locational and urban importance,” said Mr Walker.
“We tried to figure out what it would have been, and my feeling is that we came pretty close.”