Ballast Point Park

“Reimagining an industrial landmark into a leisure icon”


Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA)





Design Partners

McGregor Coxall

Scope of Work

Deliver, Detail, Develop, Discover

Executive Summary

When SHFA acquired Caltex’s Ballast Point refinery at Birchgrove, it wanted to transform the 2.6 hectare industrial site into a panoramic public leisure location. Fleetwood was contracted to renovate and re-install the iconic Tank 101 (originally used by barge captains as a navigation landmark) as well as create a series of new public amenities to be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.


Fleetwood Involvement

Throughout the project, we worked closely with all stakeholders, including the Landscape Architect and SHFA. In addition to fully refurbishing Tank 101, we were directly involved with the design, construction and installation of new riparian zone crossings, grass forming rings, seawall decking and harbour access. To reinvent the tank itself, we created structural steel sections painted in micaceous iron oxide (MIO), and a steel plate screen recycled from the original tank. We revived the plate and water-cut them so that each formed a letter from the Les Murray poem, The Death of Isaac Nathan. Wind turbines were also fitted to the structure to provide the self-generated ‘green’ power for the entire site.

Community Engagement

The local community was heavily engaged during the design of the park by the local Council.

More Project Information


The design challenge was to retain the industrial aesthetic of the landmark site – including as many of the original materials as possible – while at the same time creating a beautiful new leisure destination, complete with walking paths, bicycle access and picnic spots with stunning views to Sydney’s CBD, Barangaroo and Harbour Bridge.


Tank 101 was a complex structure representing the Ballast Point refinery’s original oil tank. Working with the old and rusting steel presented several challenges, especially as the paint was lead based. This meant we had to use alternative construction methods to ensure no contamination.


One of the most practical (and visible) innovations was the fitting of compact wind turbines to the tank structure which allows the site to generate its own ‘green’ power. The presence of potentially-dangerous lead paint also meant we had to use an innovative approach to cutting it. We shipped the plates to a water cutting facility in Sydney, water-cut the steel letters and welded tabs to the backs of all sheets. We then hung the sheets from a steel ring on the structure’s frame to complete the reincarnation of the tank.


  • Tank 101
  • Painted steel frames installed in a ring on the footprint of the old Tank 101
  • Green power wind turbines
  • Water-cut poem, written by Les Murray
  • 4x Deckings

  • Structural steel
  • Recycled steel
  • Micaceous iron oxide paint system
  • Recycled hardwood

Community safety was a key consideration at every stage of the project, especially given the industrial nature of the old site and many of the materials used. The finished park needed to be 100% safe for heavy daily usage by local families and visitors, while the construction phase needed to be carefully managed to minimise risks and disruptions to residents.


Recycled Jarrah was used on the decks. Due to the presence of lead-based paint, we used water cutting methods to remove the risk of lead contamination.


By transforming a previously derelict industrial site overlooking Sydney Harbour, the park has quickly become a much-loved part of the local community, bringing families, residents and visitors together, 365 days a year.


The local community was heavily engaged during the design of the park by the local Council.


Ballast Point Park provides a safe and tranquil outdoor space to be enjoyed year ’round, on foot or bike. All less than 2km from the Sydney CBD as the crow flies.



Award Name Location Year
Paisatge International - Rosa Barba International Landscape Prize Ballast Point Park 2014
CCAA Public Domain Award - National Awards For Excellence In Concrete To Enhance The Public Domain, Winner Sustainable Design Ballast Point Park 2011
CCAA Public Domain Award - National Awards For Excellence In Concrete To Enhance The Public Domain, Winner Best Overall Project Ballast Point Park 2011
AZ Award for Design Excellence Ballast Point Park 2011
The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design - International Architecture Award Ballast Point Park 2011