Circular Quay: a Panorama

It was a mild autumn day in Sydney 14.2°C to 22.7°C.  After several days of rain the atmosphere was clear as the rain clouds slowly dissapated.  The barometer had risen to 1021.7 hPa with a light breeze gusting to 13kph.  Conditions were ideal when I snapped the shots for this panorama.

Circular Quay on a busy Sunday. Notice the white AWA tower in the background, in the 1950s it was the highest structure in the CBD, excluding the bridge.

Asbestos discovered at the Headland Park Site

Since parts of the Barangaroo are reclaimed land there was always the possibility that asbestos might be found on the site. Land reclaimation along the eastern shore of Darling Harbour has a long history.  The area also has an extensive maritime and industrial past.

In the periods when soil, rocks and debris were placed on the site environmental regulations for the management of hazardous wastes were not as thorough as they are today.  Knowledge of the dangers of many pollutants, including asbestos, was still limited.

The Barangaroo Delivery Authority (BDA) have announced have noted that:

Baulderstone, as the design and construction contractor for the Headland Park, have comprehensive and robust procedures in place at Barangaroo’s Headland Park construction site for managing any finds of asbestos consistent with regulatory requirements.

Barangaroo Progress

With our annual field study of the Darling Harbour, Millers Point, Walsh Bay and Circular Quay North areas coming up, it’s an excellent time to review progress at Barangaroo.

Construction at Barangaroo South that will form a western extension of Sydney’s CBD

Click on the image to view it as a panorama.

At the moment there is quite a lot of activity on the site

Barangaroo South

Located on the southern portion of the 22-hectare site, Barangaroo South will be major new extension of the Sydney CBD reinforcing Sydney’s position as a key financial centre in the Asia Pacific region.

According to the Barangaroo Delivery Authority, the extension of the CBD will take Sydney’s financial services infrastructure to a new level – 300,000 square metres of large floor plate, premium grade energy efficient office space and deliver a multi-billion dollar stimulus to the NSW economy, providing employment opportunities and job skilling for thousands of people.

After completing preliminary investigation and construction in late 2010, site remediation began.  Since it’s an old industrial site the Barangaroo South area has pollution dating back 200 years, like many other sites around Sydney’s Inner Harbour. The details of remediation are well documented by the Barangaroo delivery Authority and detailed in an Overarching Remedial Action Plan For The Barangaroo Project Site, Sydney for a quick outline read the Executive Summary.

(For more information on the pollution Darling Harbour, Blackwattle Bay and Rozelle Bay see Gavin Birch’s A short geological and environmental history of the Sydney estuary, Australia.)

Progress has not yet resulted in new buildings emerging at ground level.  Present activity is below street level and mainly confined to foundations, drainage, utilities and the building of underground parking facilities.

Constructed by Lend Lease, Barangaroo South will become provide financial headquarters for top Australian and international corporations and yet allow for people to simply enjoy the waterfront.


Development at Barangaroo South as seen from the pedestrian access way immediately west of the project on the shore of Darling Harbour.

Further to the north considerable progress has been made on Barangaroo Central and the Headland Park.

Barangaroo Central

This is designed as a place combining commercial development with civic and recreation spaces.  It is intended to allow extensive public access creating an area for the community, with unique buildings, open-air spaces for festivals, entertainment, arts, culture and educational activities.

Work here is also still largely at ground level and in places large sections of sandstone are being removed to reach a lower base level. This involves the sawing out of large sandstone blocks.

Sawing out large sandstone sections at Barangaroo Central. This shot was taken from Millers Point.

This process is quite noisy and distinctly audible from the residential streets above.

Heritage housing about Barangaroo.

The Headland Park

This part of Barangaroo seeks to restore a shoreline to Millers Point that resemble the original shoreline. At the moment large blocks of sandstone, from beneath the former wharf area, are being cut out and assembled in readiness for construction.

Large sandstone blocks assembled in preparation for construction of a ‘hill’ on the headland.


Storm Rider Surf Guide: from Low Pressure

Low Pressure is a company devoted to surf and travel. They focus on highlighting the potential of world waves and sufing. The people who’ve put the company website together have experience of a diversity of waves, people and cultures.  This experience is gleaned from the personal travels, so the website aims to share these discoveries.

Looking for information on monthly swell directions I happened to come across this site on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.  It’s certainly worth checking out.

Sydney Northern Beaches, New South Wales, AUSTRALIA


Barangaroo Headland Park

The Headland Park under construction, at Millers Point.

After walking along Hickson Rd last Friday and then looking down over the Barangaroo site from Millers Point, some might have noticed the foundations being laid for the Millers Point Headland Park. Here’s a water level view of progress on the site. Sunday was a beautiful morning on Sydney harbour, so I paddled out towards Darling Harbour from Birkenhead Drummoyne to take this shot.

Barangaroo Progress

Work on Sydney’s major urban renewal project, Barangaroo, is progressing. Always with such projects progress is slow at the beginning as the land is prepared for foundations. At this stage most activity is in the Barangaroo South area where excavation for basement construction and the foundations for the first commercial towers is underway. Walking past this area proved to be a noisy and sometimes dusty experience. Certainly, noise and dust represent some of the negative effects of this stage in urban renewal. From Shelley lane, at the southern end of the project, the noise was hard to miss.

Elsewhere Barangaroo presents developers Lend Lease and the Barangaroo Delivery Authority, managers of the development, with the added challenge of site remediation.

It’s necessary to remediate part of the site because waste from the old gas works on Hickson Rd was dumped over about two hectares of the 22 hectare site, before it was eventually sealed over to become part of the roll-on roll-off cargo terminal. After extensive sampling of materials on the site a remediation trial is underway. More details on remediation can be found on the Barangaroo Delivery Authority website.

Old Sydney Gas Works, on Hickson Rd. From State Records NSW Flickr Stream

A little to the north, a cruise liner was berthed, raising the question of just how noisy it might be for the passengers.

Barangaroo, looking South from Munn Street Reserve, Millers Point

Click on the hyperlink for the latest Barangaroo timeline, from the Barangaroo Delivery Authority.

Barangaroo Up date

Paddling around Darling harbour on the weekend, I was able to gain a close look at some of the latest developments on the Barangaroo site.  The following photos are of developments on the Barangaroo South site. 

I noticed that there’s a sediment barrier in place to prevent dust and run-off from the site reducing inner harbour water quality.

Work progressing at Barangaroo South.


Another view of current work. A floating solid waste barrier can be seen under the wharf.

 Use this link for the latest report from the Barangaroo Delivery Authority.



The language of Urban Growth and Decline

In our recent study of the urban processes and their impact on Darling Harbour, Millers Point, Walsh Bay and Circular Quay areas,

Click on the images for a full sized view.

field study area

all students wrote reports based on primary and secondary data collected in the field. These reports were a vital part of the research cycle and all work leading up to the collection of data in the field, followed the steps in the research cycle pictured.

research cycle

In preparation for the report, eventually written under examination conditions, all participants in the field study took time to process and analyse the data collected. Just how students presented their reports was a matter of their own choice, the task was to select the most effective methods to communicate the research findings. Examples of some of these approaches are to be found on the class wiki.

As a snap shot summary of one students report, here’s wordle highlighting the incidence of terms used in the research report.

This wordle is based on Serena's report.

This wordle is based on Serena's report.

The next steps in the process are to

1. Propose individual or group action in response to the findings; and,
2. Where appropriate, take action.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

Barangaroo: the subject of a ‘short sharp review’

South Barangaroo where urban consolidation is to be densest

South Barangaroo where urban consolidation is to be densest

The NSW Minister for Planning, Brad Hazzard, has announced that the $6 billion Barangaroo project will be subject to a “short, sharp review” .

Foe video coverage of the decision and its background see the Sydney Morning Herald report and the Channel 10 News coverage

What do you think about Barangaroo? What are the benefits of the project and what are the problems with it?

Barangaroo: The Latest

The Barangaroo site

The Barangaroo site

Last week the company responsible for the development of the Barangaroo project, Lend Lease, released it’s latest comment on public reactions to the development.  It commissioned a Nielsen survey, between March and April, 2011, that sought the opinions of 20,000 Sydney residents on the project.

Most respondents were found not to have strong feelings about the proposed development. According the ABC news the survey found that “Many were not even aware of, what is, the country’s biggest and costliest urban renewal project.”

The survey findings were released as the NSW Government considered a petition signed by more than 10,000 Sydney residents and describing “Barangaroo as deeply flawed”. The Petitions called for:

1.  Full and truthful disclosure concerning all aspects of the proposed development, its impact on the City, the harbour and areas likely to be affected by the development;

2. Full and truthful disclosure concerning the commercial arrangements with Lend Lease;

3.  Full consultation with all public interest groups prior to final approval of any development plan.    

The group petitioning the parliament have presented several videos on the issue. The petitioners also called for a judicial inquiry.

Those opposed to the Barangaroo development in it’s present form publish an online newspaper that’s accessible here.

This week Former PM Paul Keating resigned as chairman of the Design Excellence Review Panel a key panel overseeing Sydney’s Barangaroo development.

He was interviewed by Allan Jones this week.

Government reaction
At the time of writing the government is debating this matter in the NSW Parliament.

The Premier has indicated that Barangaroo is going to be ‘reviewed’ before the appointment of a new chair to replace Paul Keating.
“The O’Farrell Government will use the resignation to review some of the issues plaguing the project before appointing a replacement chairman. Mr O’Farrell said he was particularly concerned with tendering, which had included parts of the harbour within the plan”.