Neeson Murcutt + Neille

Kamay Botany Bay National Park Visitor Centre

On 29 April 1770, Lieutenant Cook landed at the Kurnell peninsula of Kamay, now part of Kamay Botany Bay National Park in Sydney. The site of contact between Indigenous Australians and the crew of HMB Endeavour, the peninsula is now one of the most significant places in the country. The Master Plan seeks to express a deep respect for Country while recognising the site’s important historical context for all Australians – both from Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives. An authentic, open partnership with the Aboriginal community was fundamental and the Master Plan could not have been developed without collaboration with the Community Reference Panel, which included representatives of the La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council and Kurranulla Aboriginal Corporation. A significant outcome of the Master Plan will be the reinstatement of the wharf and future ferry service, providing access from La Perouse. Arrival is by water – akin to Dharawal canoes, and to Cook’s Endeavour.

Stage 1 comprises several precincts – foreshore, saddle, Burrawang, Commemoration Flat, Cricket Pitch, Alpha House and Visitor Centre. An explicit principle of the Master Plan is to amplify the unique character of each to allow more compelling storytelling and understanding. Detailed design of the new facilities is being coordinated with guidance from Indigenous Knowledge Holder Bibi Barba and the input of members of the local Aboriginal community.

The Foreshore Loop is the key piece of visitor infrastructure and the major organising, wayfinding strategy of the Master Plan. Now being delivered by the NSW Government in partnership with the Commonwealth Government, this fully accessible circuit pathway connects significant historical and landscape elements, integrating the visitor building as part of the journey within a renewed bush landscape. The visitor building is being developed as a series of environmentally controlled rammed earth pavilions that shelter within a timber-framed insulated parasol roof – connected to Country, welcoming, sustainable and robust.

Featured in:
Sydney Morning Herald, 2021