People are an integral part of the Barangaroo landscape. The site is part of the territory of the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the Traditional Custodians of the Sydney region. The Gadigal use the land for hunting, the harbour for fishing and the foreshore as a place of congregation. Local Eora women paddling their canoes to catch fish and collect shellfish make the first economic use of the Barangaroo area. Large shell middens and numerous rock engravings indicate occupation dating back some 6,000 years; the broader area is occupied for at least 14,500 years prior to European colonisation. Read more about First Nations culture at Barangaroo and the story of the woman for whom the place is named here.
Soon after colonisation, the site flourishes with maritime and industrial activities. Millers Point and the western foreshore are pivotal to the growth of Sydney. In the 1820s, the first wharves are constructed to support the colony’s colourful trade of sandalwood, cedar and turtle shell, as well as the whaling and sealing industries. In the mid-1800s, Millers Point Gasworks bring the first gas light to Sydney and today's Barangaroo buzzed with the exotic life of a South Pacific port. Within decades, the wool trade steps in, requiring more wharves, warehousing and storage facilities at Millers Point. Growing industry changes the physical character of Millers Point and Walsh Bay. The southern side of the headland is filled and the original shoreline obliterated by the end of the 1860s. For the rest of the 19th century, this waterfront is a bustling working port.
NSW Government seizes the area when the Bubonic Plague hits (1900), to clean it up and build shipping infrastructure for the new century of trade. In 1909, Sydney Harbour Trust creates Hickson Road, dramatically cut into the landscape, and lines East Darling Harbour with long wharves and shore shed buildings. Finger wharves can still be seen at Walsh Bay. In the 1960s, the introduction of shipping containers creates a vast, featureless concrete apron, obliterating any sign of what had gone before. New technology and limited heavy freight rail access make the site unsustainable as a modern port facility.
With shipping facilities moving to Port Botany, what was then East Darling Harbour becomes Australia’s most important waterfront renewal project in decades.
Hill Thalis Architecture + Urban Projects, Paul Berkemeier Architects and Jane Irwin Landscape Architecture win the design competition for Barangaroo.
Concept plan approved to guide for the transformation of Barangaroo.
Lendlease selected as the preferred developer of Barangaroo South.
Barangaroo Reserve opens. The Wulugul Walk opens with the first wave of restaurants and retail outlets. The first of the new financial district’s International Towers Sydney opens. Local First Nations artists Esme Timbery and Jonathan Jones unveil Shell Wall on the Alexander residential building. Remediation of historic contamination of the old Millers Point Gasworks commences.
The second of the three International Towers Sydney opens welcoming KPMG, Gilbert + Tobin and Lendlease as tenants. International Towers Sydney achieves the Green Building Council of Australia’s 6-Star Green Star rating. Construction of Barangaroo Ferry Hub commences. Wynyard Walk and Sussex Street Bridge open providing pedestrian access to Wynyard Station and Sydney CBD.
Barangaroo Ferry Wharf opens. Construction of Crown Sydney begins.
All commercial and retail buildings in Barangaroo South complete, including the innovative timber constructions of International House Sydney and Daramu House.
Barangaroo successfully remediated; all contamination declared removed. Watermans Cove, Hickson Park and Crown Sydney open. Jessica Spresser and Peter Besley win a national competition to design the Pier Pavilion at Watermans Cove.
The final section of Wulugul Walk opens to connect people from the natural surroundings of Barangaroo Reserve to the business district of Barangaroo South.
Sydney Metro Barangaroo Station opens.
The final piece in the Barangaroo puzzle, Central Barangaroo, is a place of community and civic spaces, with residential, retail and commercial uses focused on the new Metro station.