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Barangaroo, New South Wales

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Title: Barangaroo, New South Wales  
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Subject: Millers Point, New South Wales, The Rocks, Sydney, Green Square, New South Wales, Darling Harbour, Barangaroo railway station
Collection: Fishing Communities in Australia, Suburbs of Sydney
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Barangaroo, New South Wales

SydneyNew South Wales
Population 110 (2011 census)[1]
 • Density 500/km2 (1,290/sq mi)
Established 1788 as Cockle Bay Point;
1820s as Millers Point;
2007 as Barangaroo
Postcode(s) 2000
Area 0.22 km2 (0.1 sq mi)
Location 1 km (1 mi) north-west of Sydney CBD
LGA(s) City of Sydney
County Cumberland
Parish St. Philip
State electorate(s) Sydney
Federal Division(s) Sydney
Suburbs around Barangaroo:
Millers Point Dawes Point
Darling Harbour Barangaroo The Rocks
Sydney CBD

Barangaroo is an inner-city suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It is located on the north-western edge of the Sydney central business district and the southern end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It is part of the local government area of the City of Sydney, and was part of the territory of the Cadigal people, the traditional owners of the Sydney city region. The area was used for fishing and hunting by Australian Aborigines prior to colonial settlement. The area is inclusive of The Hungry Mile, the name harbourside workers gave to the docklands area of Darling Harbour East, where workers would walk from wharf to wharf in search of a job, often failing to find one.

In 2003, the Government of New South Wales determined that the precinct would be redeveloped from shipping and stevedoring facilities to provide more commercial office space and recreational areas. This redevelopment has moved from design contest to concept plan from 2005 to 2012.[2] In the interim, stevedoring facilities have been relocated, some of the site remediated, and temporary alternate uses such as major events implemented, pending major development. The site is managed by an agency of the Government, called the Barangaroo Delivery Authority.

Redevelopment commenced in 2012 and is expected to be entirely completed by 2023.[3] The redevelopment involves parkland with several new apartment buildings, as well as a hotel and casino.


  • History 1
    • European settlement 1.1
    • Early shipping era to 1960s 1.2
    • Modern shipping era to redevelopment 1.3
  • Redevelopment 2
    • Precincts 2.1
  • Transport 3
    • Ferry 3.1
    • Metro 3.2
    • Bus 3.3
    • Wynyard Walk 3.4
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


This area was of great importance to Aboriginal Cadigal people as a major hunting and fishing region. Large shell middens and numerous rock engravings close to the site indicate indigenous occupation dating back around 6,000 years, while radiocarbon dates from other parts of Sydney indicate that the wider area was occupied for at least 14,500 years prior to European settlement, from 1788.[2]

Following a public competition in 2006, the East Darling Harbour area[4] was renamed in October 2007[5] in honour of Barangaroo, a Kamaraygal woman[6] who was the second wife of Bennelong, an interlocutor between the Aboriginal people and the early British colonists in New South Wales. She did not, however agree with Bennelong working with the colonial government.[7][8] Watkin Tench, a marine from the First Fleet, in his first-hand account called A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson, describes one such encounter with Barangaroo:[9]

"Not seeing Barangaroo of the party, I asked for her, and was informed that she had violently opposed Bennelong's departure. When she found persuasion vain, she had recourse to tears, scolding, and threats, stamping the ground, and tearing her hair. But Baneelon continuing determined, she snatched up in her rage one of his fish-gigs, and dashed it with such fury on the rocks, that it broke. To quiet her apprehensions on the score of her husband's safety, Mr. Johnson, attended by Abaroo, agreed to remain as a hostage until [Bennelong] should return".

European settlement

At the time of European and indigenous contact, Governor Phillip estimated that there were about 1500 Aboriginal people inhabiting the coastal area of Botany Bay, Port Jackson and Broken Bay. The population reduced dramatically with the introduction of smallpox into Sydney's Aboriginal community in the first years of European settlement. More than half of Sydney's Indigenous population is believed to have died in the smallpox epidemic of 1789.[2][10] Originally known as Cockle Bay Point during the early years of the Sydney colony, little activity or settlement took place in the area. Then in the 1820s windmills were built out on what was to become known as Millers Point and European settlers started constructing houses and building a small village. In the 1830s the first wharf was constructed in the area immediately bringing more people to the nascent villages around two public houses.[2] In 1843 the Australian Gas Light Company finished building and began operating a gas works in East Darling Harbour. This was the beginning of major residential and dockland development in the area as employees needed to be housed near the works. The works also brought more commercial shipping into the harbour as the coal for the works had to be delivered by boat.[11]

In 1859 a direct route from The Rocks to Millers Point was created, called The Argyle Cut. This made the journey back and forth from the main colony much safer and quicker. The route was a major catalyst for development in east Darling Harbour and Millers Point.[12]

Early shipping era to 1960s

Wharves on Hickson Rd c.1920
Aerial view of the wharves in 1937

From the 1850s to the 1880s the docks and shipyards in East Darling Harbour multiplied tremendously, going from a coal and ferry drop off point to a hub of commercial shipping activity. During the gold rush, labour shortages plagued the docks as most poor labourers headed out to the gold fields in Victoria to strike it rich. The companies had to be become more flexible in meeting worker demands so they offered better pay and working conditions to workers who stayed in Sydney. In the 1860s storage facilities and warehouses had to be built out on Millers Point to accommodate the massive number of bulk goods flowing through the port. By the 1870s the waterfront was covered in warehouses and storage depots, mostly holding the treasured export of the time, wool.

From 1880 to 1900, specialisation of the area occurred. Shipyards closed down in favour of storage facilities and bigger wharfs to accommodate contemporary ships with larger cargo loads were built. The skilled ship builders were therefore out of a job and had to find work elsewhere, while more unskilled workers were needed to fill stevedoring positions. This shifted the demographics of the area significantly, turning it from a mix of skilled and unskilled workers to a working-class neighbourhood.

The arrival of the bubonic plague in Sydney in 1900 was cause for alarm on the docks. Mass areas of Sydney were fenced off and people deported to North Head to be quarantined. Shipping operations were shut down for a period of time while Council decontaminated the area and exterminated disease ridden rats. During this time the ownership of the port was shifted from individually owned private wharfs to the Sydney Harbour Trust. The trust dismantled the inadequate and unsafe docks and built finger wharfs large enough to facilitate large modern ships. By the end of the 1930s construction was complete, the wharfs dominated the waterfront from Millers point down to Darling Harbour.

The Great Depression gave East Darling Harbour and dock areas surrounding it a poignant nickname, The Hungry Mile. During this period great masses of workers would line up down the mile long stretch of wharfs and wait for work.[13] Clerks chose the workers based on the a system where the fitter men were chosen over the weaker, and where socialist troublemakers were sidelined in favour of willing workers. This brutal system made for a very adversarial environment which polarised the community at large. They erupted occasionally in protest, most famously refusing to load a boat with scrap metal bound for Japan on the eve of World War II.[14]

Modern shipping era to redevelopment

By the 1960s ships had become too big for the now inadequately small finger wharfs of East Darling Harbour. Standardized shipping container sizes had eliminated the need for bulk offloading. One crane operator could now do the work of 50 men. The whole of what is known today as South Barangaroo was turned into a massive concrete apron, the northern end followed similarly in the 1970s.[2] Flaws in the site's modern shipping capability started to show. The lack of a heavy rail link or a b-double capable road limited the port's capacity in processing in and outbound cargo. As container ships got bigger this problem only got worse. The ultimate demise of commercial shipping in Darling Harbour, and ultimately Sydney Harbour as a working harbour, was the construction of Port Botany in 1979 and the expansion of port facilities at Port Kembla and Newcastle Port. With excellent rail, road and air connections to the port, along with massive capacity for expansion and the ability to handle large container ships, it progressively became the main port of Sydney.

The wharfs had been unusually free of union activity from the beginning of World War II up until the mid-1990s, with high wages and a steady stream of jobs. In 1996 Howard Government was elected into power promising industrial relations reform. In 1997 the Relations Act, 1996/ } (Cwlth) limited the bargaining power of unions and sidelined the Australian Industrial Relations Commission's ability to mediate negotiations as well as introducing statutory employee contracts. In 1998 Patrick Stevedoring laid off all its workers and liquidated its assets after encountering backlash from the unions for the new workplace contracts taking advantage of the new legislation.[15] But the very next day when work was expected to grind to a halt, everything was proceeding as if nothing happened. The employees were rehired by a new corporation with the same people who owned Patrick, just on a lower wage and with fewer concessions in their contracts.

Pope Benedict XVI arriving at World Youth Day 2008.

In 2003 with the stevedoring companies set to move out within three years, the Government of New South Wales designated the site for redevelopment into parklands and commercial space. An international design contest was launched in 2005 attracting 139 submissions from around the world. The winning design by Hill Thalis Architecture + Urban Projects, Paul Berkemeier Architects and Jane Irwin Landscape Architecture was announced in March 2006 together with a naming competition for the new precinct.[2][16] In October 2006, the Minister for Planning, Frank Sartor, announced that the area will be renamed as Barangaroo.[7][17][18] In late 2006 Patrick Corporation, who leased the site from the New South Wales Government, moved their stevedoring operations to Port Botany. This put an end to almost 130 years of cargo shipping operations in eastern Darling Harbour.

Prior to the precinct's redevelopment, Barangaroo was a World Youth Day 2008 site used for the opening mass for an estimated 150,000 people,[19] concerts, a re-enactment of the Stations of the Cross and for the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI to Sydney. A passenger terminal for cruise liners was temporarily located at Barangaroo, prior to construction of the White Bay Cruise Terminal. The Barangaroo Foreshore is also available for events during construction.


Initially placed in the hands of Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority,[20] the Barangaroo Delivery Authority was established pursuant to the Barangaroo Delivery Authority Act, 2009 No 2 to facilitate a high quality commercial and mixed use precinct at Barangaroo balancing social, economic and environment outcomes, including the establishment of a headland park and other public domains; amongst other objectives.[21] Supporting the Authority is a Design Excellence Review Panel that comprised Paul Keating (Chairman from 2005 until 2011),[22] Chris Johnson, Bridget Smyth, Oi Choong, James Weirick, Angelo Candalepas, and Leo Schofield (resigned 2011). The role of the Panel was to guide the government authority on a range of design issues, such as architecture, landscape and culture. Commissioned initially in 2005, the Panel was instrumental in the selection of Hill Thalis Architecture as the winning the international design competition in 2006.[23] The winning team was commissioned to assist the Government in developing the design during the latter part of 2006. There was early debate regarding the design and size of waterfront developments. The City of Sydney and some architectural bodies expressed concern that the proposed designs would be out of scale with the surrounding environment, as well as causing large unwanted shadows over the immediate area, parts of Darling Harbour and possibly nearby Pyrmont.[24]

A concept plan was released by the Government in 2007 and a year later announced that it had shortlisted consortia led by Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney and Member for Sydney, resigned as a director of the Barangaroo Delivery Authority.[26]

On attaining Government in March 2011, Premier Barry O'Farrell announced an independent review into the selection processes. The panel reported in August 2011 and stated that two members of a design panel had a conflict of duty.[27] O'Farrell also overturned an amendment to planning legislation made in the last days of the Keneally government that placed the Barangaroo site as exempt from remediation of contaminated sites requirements. The Government has also asked Lend Lease to move the hotel off the harbour as a gesture of goodwill, even though it has planning approval from the Keneally government. Discussions with the developer are ongoing.[28]


The redevelopment project comprises three precincts: Barangaroo South, Barangaroo Central and Barangaroo Reserve.

View of Barangaroo South from Balmain East in December 2014
Barangaroo South

Barangaroo South is the southern third of the site and acts as an extension of Sydney's CBD, with office buildings, apartments, retail outlets, public spaces and a hotel.[29] Three commercial skyscrapers designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners form the core of this stage; known as International Towers Sydney. The tallest is IT1 at 217 metres (712 ft). In addition to office space, it will also include a community or childcare centre. All three towers will feature retail on the podium levels. IT2 is due for completion in 2015, while IT1 & IT3 are expected to be complete the following year.[30]

Barangaroo Central

Barangaroo Central will contain low-rise residential, commercial and civic buildings.[31] James Packer's casino group, Crown Limited, presented an A$1 billion+ proposal to Premier O'Farrell in February 2012 to build a hotel, casino and entertainment complex at the site on land that is set aside for open space at Barangaroo Central. The Premier initially welcomed the proposal, yet cautioned it would need to gain regulatory approval before going ahead.[32][33] The proposal drew widespread criticism from the Lord Mayor, Clover Moore MP,[34][35] Paul Keating,[36] and former government architect, Chris Johnson.[37] In October 2012, Premier O'Farrell announced that the NSW Cabinet reviewed the proposal and decided that the government will enter into detailed negotiations with Crown Limited for the establishment of a casino and hotel complex at Barangaroo.[38][39] Tony Harris, a former NSW Auditor General was critical of the decision−making process, claiming the public could miss out on millions of dollars.[40][41] Businessman and former politician Dr John Hewson AM, Greens MP John Kaye, and Clover Moore were also critical of the process.[42] Defending his position, Packer opined:[43]

In July 2013 after a recommendation from an independent steering committee Premier O'Farrell announced the Crown proposal would be moved to Stage 3 of the unsolicited proposals process, the final stage where the parties will negotiate a binding contract.[44] The government is to receive an A$100 million upfront fee for the licence, despite being offered A$250 million with alternative tax arrangements which the steering committee's economic advisor Deloitte calculated was a superior offer.[45] Crown's intention is to lure Chinese high-rollers to its Sydney casino leveraging off its interests in its Macau casinos and taking advantage of a new streamlined visa process introduced by the Australian government for Chinese citizens wanting to gamble at Australian casinos.[46] In November 2013, it was announced that Crown Sydney received approval for the casino licence and place at Barangaroo.[47]

Sydney Ports Harbour Control Tower, built in 1974. The sandstone cliff is now hidden behind the Headland Park. The NSW Government has announced that the tower itself will be demolished.[48]
Barangaroo Reserve

Barangaroo Reserve is a 6-hectare (15-acre) re-created headland park at the northern end of Barangaroo. The park opened on 22 August 2015 and features a reconstructed, naturalistic headland based around the pre 1836 shoreline.[49] After 1836, the original headland and foreshore was cut away to make space for wharves and stevedoring activities as Sydney became a major international port. The new headland is inspired by what existed before 1836 and restores the relationship with other headlands in Sydney Harbour. A design competition held in 2009/2010 was won by Johnson Pilton Walker, in association with PWP Landscape Architecture. [50] The site reconnects Millers Point to the waterfront which re-establishes Sydney’s first neighbourhood as one of contemporary and historic significance.[51] The parkland features grassed areas, lookouts, walking and cycle paths, two new new harbour coves, and tidal rock pools created from sandstone excavated directly from the Barangaroo site.[50]

The Hawkesbury sandstone used to create Barangaroo Reserve was excavated on site. The foreshore of the park is constructed from 10,000 sandstone blocks excavated and cut on the site. Some 6,500 blocks were placed to create the foreshore. More than 42,000 tonnes of rough stone and a further 30,000 tonnes of crushed stone was also used in the construction. In addition, some 75,000 native trees, plants and shrubs have been used to landscape Barangaroo Reserve. A total of 84 species were chosen, 79 of which are native to Sydney Harbour. Many of the species are not to be found in commercial nurseries, so seeds and cuttings were collected from wild sites around Sydney Harbour and the Hawkesbury River.[52]

Fishing is prohibited along the entire Barangaroo shoreline.[53] A cultural facility and car park (operated by Wilson Parking) is located beneath the headland.[54]

To celebrate the opening of Barangaroo Reserve twelve weekends of events commenced on 6 September 2015.[55]



A ferry hub is being planned at Barangaroo to cater for thousands of residents, workers and visitors expected to travel to Sydney’s newest commercial district. An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the new ferry hub was open for community feedback from 12 December 2014, detailing the design of new ferry wharves.[56][57][58][59]


A rapid transit station servicing Barangaroo is proposed as part of the Sydney Harbour Rail Tunnel project.[60]


Barangaroo is served by three bus routes. The 311, 324 & 325 provide connections to the Eastern Suburbs.[61]

Wynyard Walk

A new pedestrian walkway is being constructed connecting Wynyard Station with Barangaroo.[62][63][64][65]

See also

Two other large-scale inner-city urban renewal projects in Sydney are:


  1. ^  
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Discover Barangaroo: History". Barangaroo, Sydney, Australia. Barangaroo Delivery Authority. 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "Barangaroo Timeline". Barangaroo Delivery Authority. 
  4. ^ Pearlman, Jonathan (20 October 2006). "No kitsch within cooee of Barangaroo: contest winners". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 February 2012. 
  5. ^ "Barangaroo". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW.  
  6. ^ "Barangaroo a north shore girl". Indigenous history of Sydney City. Sydney City Council. 19 October 2006. Retrieved 23 January 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Aston, Heath (19 October 2006). "It's Barangaroo, Darling". The Daily Telegraph (Australia). Retrieved 23 January 2012. 
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  18. ^ Pearlman, Jonathan (19 October 2006). "Barangaroo back in Sydney". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 January 2012. 
  19. ^ "Opening Mass underway". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 15 July 2008. Retrieved 23 January 2012. 
  20. ^ "Barangaroo : Agency information guide July 2013" (PDF). Barangaroo Delivery Authority. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  21. ^ "The Act" (PDF). Annual Report. Sydney: Barangaroo Delivery Authority. 2011. p. 5. Retrieved 23 January 2012. 
  22. ^ "Clover Moore hits back at former PM quitting Barangaroo panel". Inner West Courier. 14 May 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2012. 
  23. ^  
  24. ^ Norrie, Justin (2 November 2006). "A monster so hungry it will eat all the sunlight". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 20 January 2012. 
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  37. ^ Prince, Madeline (29 February 2012). "A former PM, government architect and Sydney mayor challenge Packer's Barangaroo casino plans". Architecture Design. 
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  48. ^ "Sydney Harbour Control Tower headed for demolition".  
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  50. ^ a b "Barangaroo Point". Discover Barangaroo. Barangaroo Delivery Authority. 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  51. ^ "Barangaroo". Projects. PWP Landscape Architecture. 2014. Retrieved 21 December 2014. 
  52. ^ FAQ Retrieved 28 August 2015
  53. ^ Barangaroo set to lock out Sydney fishos Fishing World Retrieved 3 July 2015
  54. ^ Moore, Matthew (10 September 2011). "Culture to bloom in Barangaroo bunker". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 January 2012. 
  55. ^ Welcome Celebration | Accessed 28 August 2015
  56. ^ Barangaroo hub to transport Sydney Ferry services Transport for NSW 5 May 2014
  57. ^ Barangaroo Ferry Hub - Environment Transport for NSW 10 December 2014
  58. ^ Plans for new ferry hub at Barangaroo open for feedback Transport for NSW 11 December 2014
  59. ^ Barangaroo Ferry Hub Transport for NSW 11 December 2014
  60. ^ Budget delivers $9 billion for public transport services and infrastructure Transport for NSW 23 June 2015
  61. ^ "New bus services set to roll into Barangaroo and Walsh Bay". Transport for NSW. 17 July 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  62. ^ Early works to commence on Wynyard Walk Transport for NSW 18 April 2012
  63. ^ Wynyard walk tunnelling starts as Barangaroo wharf early works begin Transport for NSW 8 October 2014
  64. ^ Wynyard Walk Transport for NSW 12 November 2014
  65. ^ Wynyard Walk - Environment Transport for NSW 9 December 2014

External links

  • Barangaroo Delivery Authority website
  • Barangaroo South website – published by Lend Lease
  • Barangaroo Action Group website
  • Friends of Barangaroo website
  • Australians for Sustainable Development website
  • "The lie of the land is shifting again": Peter Walker on the Barangaroo Parklands
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