By Frank Walker
On a sunny and clear late winter’s day several members of the FCA were given an informative guided tour of the new Barangaroo headland park. Showing around correspondents from Japan, Germany and international journals were the CEO of the Barangaroo Delivery Authority, Craig van der Laan, and Nathan Moran, CEO of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council.
The six hectare headland park is a very impressive addition to Sydney, and the pride in the project shown by both Craig and Nathan was obvious. FCA vice president Esther Blank from Deutsche Welle was thrilled to discover Craig speaks excellent German from the time he worked in Hamburg and she quickly lined him up to talk to a German documentary crew coming soon to Sydney.
Craig showed us how the park was built over the top of the old concrete wharf that for 100 years was the centre of trade for Sydney as ships came and went. He remembered how this entire area was a no-go zone for Sydney people until the wharf was cleared and opened up for development. Trees still have a way to grow before the reserve looks complete but only native plants have been planted. The sandstone blocks along the broken foreshore follow the old waterfront and there are many historic spots such as boat slipways that have been rediscovered as the concrete was taken away. Underneath the hill of the reserve is a dramatic huge cavern that could be used for cultural events.
Nathan gave valuable insights to the foreign correspondents of the rich indigenous history of Barangaroo and what the naming of the site after a prominent Aboriginal woman from the days of the early white settlement meant to the Aboriginal people. She was the wife of Bennelong but unlike her husband refused to put aside her Aboriginal culture to fit in with the white settlers.
All in all the tour was a huge help to foreign correspondents to appreciate this new development and make valuable contacts for stories in the future.