Barangaroo Northern Cove

“A steep challenge delivers a great outcome”

Executive Summary

Church Point is a picturesque suburb overlooking Pittwater on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Having successfully installed access stairs at nearby Bilgola Beach a few years earlier, Northern Beaches Council directly engaged Fleetwood to replace an old suburban track that wound its way down the escarpment at Church Point. Carved out by beachgoers over many years, the track was very unstable and dangerous, with only the bravest walkers still prepared to use it. Residents wanted a permanent access solution that provided a safe route from the top of the street down to the local beach – they even helped raise money to fund it. The solution saw us deliver two sets of outdoor stairs, linked by a stepped walkway using our BowerTM and MarsTM boardwalk systems.



Northern Beaches Council





Design Partners

PWP Landscape Architecture

Scope of Work

Deliver, Detail, Develop, Discover

Fleetwood Involvement

Fleetwood was contracted directly by Northern Beaches Council on behalf of the local community at Church Point, who were very keen to have their access issue resolved. As the sole contractor, we were heavily involved in the project from start to finish. Given the many challenges of the site, considerable time was invested up front in detailed design to ensure everything was 100% right before moving into the construction and installation stages. We worked closely with Northern Beaches Council at every step, providing regular updates so the Church Point community always knew exactly how their project was progressing and what would be happening next.

Community Engagement

Northern Beaches Council liaised closely with the Church Point community and presented our drawings, concepts and recommendations prior to final approval. Given the local residents were essentially paying for the project out of their own pockets, they were understandably keen to monitor its progress – including how it would look and its impact on the land. We’re pleased to say they were very happy with the end result.

More Project Information


The architect’s vision called for robust, masculine and honest design principles, featuring native timbers and painted steel that complemented the surrounding design aesthetic of the wider Northern Cove precinct. A high level of craftsmanship was required, including sleek, clean detailing between the boardwalk & the sandstone wall, which followed a continuous arc to create a ‘floating’ aesthetic.


Incorporating the boardwalk promenade, public deck, jetty and pontoon seamlessly into the overall Northern Cove design was far from straightforward and required careful planning. All materials needed to work harmoniously with existing materials used in the parkland, while also meeting strict Government and Barangaroo Development Authority requirements. Considerable thought was also required to determine how best (and where) to physically assemble the different elements and structures to maximise efficiencies and minimise disruptions, with multiple teams of tradespeople working side-by-side, on the water’s edge. One of the biggest specific challenges was how to coordinate and drive the pontoon’s piles – a task ultimately carried out by a rig mounted on barge inside the cove itself.


The award-winning project boasts many innovations. One was the installation of a concealed power supply to service the extended deck, housed discreetly in one of the large timber block seats. Fleetwood also innovated with the substructure of the boardwalk, simplifying the design and shortening the construction time on-site. The challenge with the piling was the fact that the cove had been recreated with 600mm of anti-scour rock placed in strategic locations by hydro profiling. Moving or disrupting the rock would mean compromising the integrity of the scour protection, so we used divers to assist in moving and replacing the rock in the pile locations.


  • Foreshore amphitheatre
  • Extended deck for public performances
  • Hardwood native timber block seats
  • Pontoon with aluminium gangway

  • Spotted gum
  • Grey ironbark
  • Unseasoned hardwood
  • Sandstone
  • Mild steel
  • Non marine grade paint system
  • Aluminium

Sitting, quite literally, on the edge of Sydney Harbour, several key site risks needed to be taken into account. Managing these required meticulous construction detailing to ensure all work was completed safely in the often unpredictable marine environment. As just one example, all contractors working within 2 metres of the water’s edge had to be equipped with a personal flotation device (PFD). The site also held a daily toolbox talk that all contractors had to attend.


The sustainability of the timber source was of great importance to the job. Lendlease had stringent controls around the chain of custody to meet both their commitment to the BDA and the Green Rating for the whole project. All timber was sourced from sustainably grown forests in North Queensland compliant with the Australian Forestry Standard and the PEFC international standard. The chain of custody, from order to delivery, formed part of the quality hold points and final hand over documents.


With its public boardwalk, lawn and amphitheatre, Northern Cove is a place where Barangaroo visitors and workers can meet, relax and enjoy a variety of small-scale public performances, seven days a week.


Northern Cove provides a safe, inviting and easily-accessible public space just moments from one of Sydney’s most bustling commercial and tourist precincts. It allows the public to interact with the history of Sydney’s foreshore and the contribution this area has had to the building of the nation, whilst paying homage to the local Indigenous peoples and the site’s previous uses.


Award Name Location Year
World Architecture News (WAN) Waterfront Award Barangaroo Northern Cove 2015
NSW AILA Presidents Choice Award Barangaroo Northern Cove 2015