Architecture and design

Sydney landmarks take home heritage awards

Harbourside monument bara by Judy Watson and Hyde Park’s Archibald Memorial Fountain have been celebrated by the National Trust.

bara by Joseph Meyers

The National Trust (NSW) Heritage Awards recognise excellence in conservation, protection and interpretation of Aboriginal, built, natural and cultural heritage.

bara artwork recognised

This year, the stunning 6m marble work bara by Waanyi artist Judy Watson won first prize in the Aboriginal heritage category.

Inspired by shell fishing hooks handcrafted and used by local Aboriginal women for generations, bara sits high on the lawns overlooking Dubbagullee (Bennelong Point) and Warrane (Circular Quay).

Unveiled almost a year ago, ‘bara’ means shell hook and honours the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation.

"The crescent shape is a beautiful expression of Aboriginal technology, with the shells fashioned into fish hooks by women who dangled them from their nawi canoes," Judy Watson said.

“bara reimagines ancient gathering spaces where people sat by fires on the headlands and feasted. bara will provide a quiet space for ceremony, reflection and contemplation in a busy and ever-changing city.”

Eora Journey curator Hetti Perkins, City Plan Heritage and the team led by urban art fabricators UAP also worked tremendously hard with us on this project.

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Archibald Memorial Fountain honoured

Archibald Fountain restoration 2022 Chris Southwood
Archibald Fountain restoration 2022 Chris Southwood

The Archibald Memorial Fountain has been highly commended in the built heritage conservation category.

The 90-year-old fountain is a war memorial that commemorates the alliance forged by Australia and France during World War 1.

Created by French sculptor Francois Sicard, the Hyde Park landmark recently underwent extensive remediation and conservation works.

The discovery of a 1963 plan during conservation work guided the lighting and water design.

Structural, hydraulic, electrical and mechanical upgrades also took place, and water-saving measures were introduced.

“We have a strong track record of delivering engaging public art, both temporary and permanent, that draws people into our city, attracts visitors, and supports local businesses," Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore said.

“I am proud that our Monument for the Eora – bara – has been recognised with the prestigious National Trust Aboriginal Heritage Award on the eve of its first anniversary.

“This magnificent sculpture recognises the role of Aboriginal fisherwomen pre-Invasion and provides a place of quiet reflection above the bustling harbour.

“To hear that the restoration of Hyde Park’s Archibald Fountain was also Highly Commended in these awards demonstrates the importance of art in our city – whether old, new, European or First Nations – art creates more meaningful public spaces that connect our community.”

Published 12 May 2023

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