Sunday morning and you can't decide if you want to commit your day to open air activity or to a bit of culture. Fancy an unusual and stimulating experience without leaving the city? Want to spend an afternoon of quality time with your children? Need a ace in the hole when friends are visiting?
No worries! This historical and environmental exploration of the Former BP Site is what you're looking for.
Sydney Harbour from the BP Site
What to expect
Opened in 2005 after a substantial renovation the Former BP Public Parkland is a sensational multi-awarded park overlooking Berrys Bay and Sydney Harbour. Its subtle yet exceptional beauty will win your hearth and curiosity.
The hideous destruction brought to the southeastern shore of Waverton Peninsula by the British Petroleum Company is only a bad memory today.
Take the North Shore and Western Line train from Central Station to Waverton Station Platform and walk 500 metres to Larkin Street, or check NSW Transport Info.
Berrys Bay from the BP Site, take the costal walk from Lavander Bay to make your day even more special
A bit of history Back in the 1920s the British Petroleum Company BP acquired the coastal site on the eastern side of Waverton Peninsula. It soon became the main location for the huge storage tanks required to transfer fuel from inbound ships to motor tankers.
[ADVERT]The native shore woodland was destroyed and the sandstone bedrock blasted in order to accommodate the tanks. Furthermore the company also built a concrete wall on the lower part of the site to retain the spills.
When BP abandoned the facility in the 1980s the site was wrecked and contaminated, and North Sydney Council was faced with the challenging task of finding it a post-industrial future.
The BP site today It took the council a quarter of century and $3 400 000 to succeed. Nowadays the BP Site is a recreational and environmental park designed by landscape design firm Mcgregor Coxall which won the Overall Award for Excellence at the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects NSW Chapter, and the Design Excellence Award for best project in NSW, between many others.
Visit mcgregorcoxall.com to learn more about the project
Galvanized steel walkways and stairs zigzag across the land towards a crude steel viewing deck, framing the disfigured sandstone cliff. What could appear as a disturbing and strident design choice is really a smart and ingenious trick. The site's industrial heritage is solemnised in an environmental framework of regenerating wetland and timidly regrowing bushland; the juxtaposition of industrial materials and raw stone creates such a powerful contrast that enhances the feeling of being out of time.
Viewing decks and walking platforms float over the dramatic landscape providing uninterrupted views of the CBD and the Harbour Bridge in the distance.
The sandstone cliff was excavated to accommodate the tanks
Everything around is silence and memory, only the occasional croaking of a frog brings the mind back to reality.
A walk through the BP Site is an overall experience. Satisfy your eyes with the overwhelming views, delight your nostrils with the rich scents of the wetland, stimulate your hands touching the various surfaces, sandstone, granite, concrete, steel...
Spot all the design oddities!
No surprise what, you will bring home a mixed feeling of peace and guilt. It takes a while afterwards to stop hearing the sound of your steps on the steel.
It's an echo from the past and a bell ringing for the future, a warning to quit mistreating our Earth as heavily as we used to do in the past.