Barangaroo weaves the past, present and future with innovation, architecture and public open spaces.
A remarkable addition to Sydney, Barangaroo combines innovative and inspiring architecture, public spaces, Sydney’s best restaurants and iconic cultural attractions. This dynamic and connected precinct brings life back to Sydney Harbour’s western waterfront.
The process of rejuvination
The vision for Barangaroo is ambitious and momentous. It’s not often we get the chance to regenerate such large a waterside precinct. The journey from vision to reality is wedded to sustainability, design excellence and the creation of a place for people, including the target – now expected to be surpassed – of protecting 50% of the site as public open space. Barangaroo is already home to several of Sydney’s best parks - and a walk around Barangaroo Reserve is one of the best things to do in Barangaroo.
As the site shifted from a bustling industrial area to a disused shell, the NSW Government announced its intent for a 22ha waterfront precinct in 2003. The 2006 concept design informed innovations and statutory arrangements that ensure the highest standards of design excellence and sustainability.
Barangaroo’s development represents a new era of community-friendly ‘placemaking’, a process that puts the community at the heart of planning and development decisions.
Barangaroo’s revitalisation is anchored on a mandate to cater for a growing city with residential, commercial, retail and cultural spaces, interspersed with at least half the area as public open space. Sustainability, partnerships, art and culture, design excellence and public spaces drive Barangaroo’s present and its future
The Barangaroo timeline
Learn the history and future of Barangaroo from thousands of years ago to 2025 when central Barangaroo is finally completed. This is Barangaroo’s timeline.
Barangaroo First Nation history
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. For many thousand years the Gadigal would use the land for hunting, the harbour for fishing and the foreshore as a place of congregation. Local Eora women would paddle their canoes to catch fish and collect shellfish to 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 was occupied for at least 14,500 years prior to European colonisation. Read more about First Nations culture and the story of Barangaroo the woman.
Soon after colonisation, the site flourished with maritime and industrial activities. Millers Point and the western foreshore were pivotal to the growth of Sydney. In the 1820s, the first wharves were 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 brought the first gas light to Sydney and Barangaroo buzzed with the exotic life of a South Pacific port. Within decades, the wool trade stepped in, requiring more wharves, warehousing and storage facilities at Millers Point. Growing industry changed the physical character of Millers Point and Walsh Bay. The southern side of the headland was filled and the original shoreline obliterated by the end of the 1860s. For the rest of the 19th century, this waterfront was a bustling working port.
The NSW Government seized the area when the Bubonic Plague hit (1900), to clean it up and build shipping infrastructure for the new century of trade. In 1909, Sydney Harbour Trust created 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 created 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.
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 the shellwall Barangaroo public art 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 successfully remediated; all contamination declared removed.
Jessica Spresser and Peter Besley win a national competition to design the Pier Pavilion at Watermans Cove.
Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS) together with Reef Design Lab and SMC, install a Living Seawall (made up of nearly 400 panels) in Watermans Cove.