The restoration of Ballast Point Park to public open space had been a long time in the making. Originally a natural, wooded headland occupied by Aborigines, Ballast Point formed part of an original 550-acre land grant to William Balmain. The site was subsequently sold to John Gilchrist and the boundaries reflect this delineation today. In recognition of the Indigenous history of the site, the dual name, ‘Walama’, which means to return has been adopted – highlighting the area’s transformation from industrial use back to nature.
Located on the former Caltex lubricant production facility site, the 2.5ha Ballast Point Park occupies the Birchgrove Peninsula in Sydney’s inner western harbour suburb of Balmain. The site, owned by Caltex from the 1920’s until 2002, has a rich history, from the privately owned residence ’Menevia’ of the 1860’s, to a ship ballast quarry. The design concept aims to reflect our cultural shift in seeing sites of this nature as an asset to be respected not a resource to be drawn from. The design reconciles the layers of history with a new direction where recycled materials are used in innovative ways to create a park of unique quality. This environmental approach is further underpinned by site-wide storm water filtration though the use of bio-swales, and wind turbines for on-site energy production.
Most notably, in the construction of Ballast Point Park, an innovative product was required to terrace the site. The concept from the architect was for a reinforced earth wall with a custom gabion face, and this was engineered by Landscape Solutions. The final design was a unique wall that had never been built before and required some innovative thought and commitments from our construction team, including the reuse of re-engineered site fill, screening & mixing onsite of specific sized and coloured recycled aggregate for the gabion infill, and intricate construction sequencing.