Recently, Sydneysiders witnessed the opening of a sparklingly beautiful new park, Barangaroo Reserve, with spectacular views and strong links to Sydney’s past, located just west of the historic Rocks district. Sydneysiders and visitors to Sydney can now enjoy a stroll around Wulugul Walk, which skirts the six-hectare foreshore park, and explore the re-created headland, imaginatively planted with thousands of plants native to Sydney Harbour—landscape architect Peter Walker, renowned for New York’s September 11 Memorial, is its designer.
Overlooking the calmer waters of the inner harbour, Barangaroo Reserve is named for a remarkable Indigenous woman, partner of Bennelong (his name was given to the point where the Sydney Opera House stands). They were two of the Cammeraygal people who made first contact with the British colonialists arriving in 1788. Unlike Bennelong, who adopted Western dress and travelled to England, Barangaroo was critical of the new arrivals and their customs, even intervening when a convict was being flogged for stealing her fishing gear. She was a skilled fisherwoman who paddled her canoe in the waters surrounding the park that now bears her name.
Wulugul Walk follows the original shoreline, with majestic rough-hewn sandstone slabs in amazing shades of gold, white, red, orange and brown delineating the foreshore and its coves. All the sandstone was excavated from the site and designed to fit together at stepped levels. Tonnes of lesser grade sandstone were also crushed to create the sandy soil essential for the native vegetation to be successfully grown.
Barangaroo Reserve is the northernmost third of the Barangaroo precinct, most of which is still under construction. The original headland had been quarried away, ending up as a flat concrete container wharf. The new park is a sculpted hollow hill, with a vast, multipurpose cultural space inside, called The Cutaway. One side of this spectacular space (120 metres long, 45 metres wide and 6 storeys high) is a sandstone wall cut in the 1960s, which is lit by a gap open to the sky. Nawi Terrace, outside the Cutaway, forms a natural amphitheatre facing Nawi Cove. A jetty opposite will act as a bandstand.
All of the park can be accessed by wheelchairs and strollers, with a lift from the ground floor of The Cutaway, almost to the top level of the park. The very top, named Stargazer Lawn, references both the name of a harbour fish and the nearby 1858 Observatory.
How to Get to Barangaroo Reserve
Walk from Circular Quay train station via the Argyle Cut and along Argyle Street to the entrance at Argyle Place, or walk from Wynyard train station to Kent Street, via Margaret Street, and enter at either Argyle Place or Towns Place. Catch a 431 or 433 bus along George Street, walking west from the last stop, in Argyle Street.