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A Vision to Transform Cockatoo Island Into a Sprawling Arts and Culture District Has Been Revealed

Including high-end glamping, a new creative precinct and harbour boardwalk.
By Ellen Seah
May 05, 2021
By Ellen Seah
May 05, 2021

UNESCO World Heritage-listed Cockatoo Island—Wareamah—is set to be transformed into a world-class public destination, under a bold new vision put forward by the Harbour Trust this week.

New precincts for Sydney's largest harbour island include a new arts quarter, dining pavilion, parklands and dedicated educational spaces. The proposal also outlines the importance of preserving the island's rich Indigenous cultural heritage, with a key focus on elevating First Nations voices and respecting Wareamah's significance as a sacred women's place.

Plans for Bunggal grounds, permanent First Nations public artwork and the restoration of native fauna and flora have been put forward, in consultation with First Nations communities and cultural leaders.

Artist's impression of Cockatoo Island's Creative Precinct

"We heard that more needed to be done to respectfully acknowledge the Island's First Nations' past as a sacred women's place and in identifying Cockatoo Island as a place of cultural connection," Chair of The Harbour Trust, Joseph Carrozzi said in a statement. "From these conversations with the community, we have developed an early vision that considers the Island's potential while respecting and celebrating its important past."

The 18-hectare area would encompass a new creative precinct hosting live performance, exhibitions and pop-up events, while a revitalised Fitzroy Dock is promised to host a bevvy of Sydney's best dining and retail options.

Wareamah Tidal Terrace will become a sprawling new parkland on the island's edge, with transformed gardens, picnic areas and a harbour boardwalk.

Artist's impression of Cockatoo Island's Harbour Walk

A large adventure and water playground, new accommodation options including high-end glamping and improved campground facilities are also outlined within the Harbour Trust's proposal.

"We want to create a truly special destination for both Sydneysiders and all visitors—a destination that acknowledges the historic significance of Cockatoo Island for First Nations Peoples, and its important role in the history of modern Australia," Carrozzi said.

To deliver the sprawling transformation, Harbour Trust would seek funding from both state and federal governments as well as the private sector. The vision comes after an Independent Review of the Harbour Trust last year highlighted the need for a restoration plan for the island.

The Harbour Trust will seek community consultation on its draft vision, with everyone in the community invited to provide feedback.

You can visit to view the Draft Concept now. The consultation period closes on Tuesday, June 11.

Published on May 05, 2021 by Ellen Seah
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