07 Jul 2023

Barangaroo's underwater garden

Did you know the largest Living Seawall in the world sits underwater in Waterman’s Cove, Barangaroo?

Barangaroo’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond what happens on land to below the waterline. In 2020, the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS) together with Reef Design Lab and SMC, installed nearly 400 panels in Watermans Cove. These panels feature complex surface designs that mimic oyster reefs, sponges and rock pools to create a natural underwater habitat. The panels were made using 3D printing technology and incorporated recycled oyster shells to enhance their sustainability. They were planted with native brown kelp (rescued from pilings undergoing maintenance at a nearby location), encouraging marine species to make them their home.

Initial research for the design of the panels was supported by an Australian Research Council grant awarded to Macquarie University and UNSW in partnership with Lendlease and the NSW Department of Planning and Environment. Lendlease provided the funding to install the panels in Watermans Cove.

Watch the panels being installed in Watermans Cove.

As part of SIMS’ Living Seawalls project, Watermans Cove’s new underwater garden will be monitored over five years to record its rate of growth and remove invasive or pest species. In September 2021, the SIMS team inspected the underwater garden and found it to be thriving with new seaweed babies and fish (large and small) making use of the panels as shelter and food.

Watch and join the divers under the sea!

Almost three years on, we can celebrate this thriving underwater environment and the positive long-term impact this sustainability initiative has on enhancing marine habitats and biodiversity on-site. This opportunity was made possible thanks to the partnership between UNSW Science (Living Seawalls Initiative), Lendlease and Infrastructure NSW.