Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New Ballast Pt Park: Eat your cake here

Usually, you’d expect a big fanfare when a spectacular, harbourside park opens to the public. But for Ballast Point Park, near Birchgrove (Sydney), which opened on 11th July 2009, its introduction was particularly muted.

It’s been quite a battle for the local committee to have the former Caltex fuel depot turned over to the public. The land had been owned by the fuel company since 1928, and calls had been made to rezone the area and to allow the land to be purchased by Leichhardt Council. Subsequent attempts had been made by a development company to turn the area into luxury housing.

The final result is a park that retains some of its industrial heritage, while providing man-made landscaping to take advantage of its location.

Interestingly, recycled building materials from the site have been used to create the wire-framed walls (roof tiles, bricks, even old hard hats).

There is a lack of shade at the moment, with new plantings still having some way to go before they settle in to the new landscape.

Many of the foundations of the old petroleum tanks have been retained and the give the area a feeling of Stonehenge, I think.

Like Paddington’s Reservoir Gardens, metal beams and steel staircases give the park a post-modern look.

The only thing missing (apart from more trees), is FOOD! I wonder if they’ll set up a kiosk or something, that sells sandwiches and ice creams. There are some free barbeques provided, but they are popular if you want to DIY.

Wait, here’s a thought, why not stop of for some bread, brioche, and some deli snacks from
Zumbo, Bertoni or Victoire in Balmain first, then make your way to Ballast Point Park for a picnic.
Sounds like a plan!

The Google map below still shows the old site before the park was created. You can even see the old tanks.

View Larger Map


  1. It's a nice idea turning an old industrial site into public space. You've got some good photos. I love the colour of the rust.

  2. Great post! and lovely photos.

  3. Oh I have always been a lookout for good picnic spots and bridge vantage points! This is a great idea Belle - especially stopping by the Balmain cafes before heading to the park.

  4. hi Arwen - the red rusty tanks remind me of Uluru, for some reason. Very evocative.

    hi Anita - thank you, I had difficulty putting my camera away!

    hi Trisha - the park would be great for NYE fireworks, but you'd need to get there early, I think.