“Balancing community access and education with rare Aboriginal heritage”
Located within the Royal National Park, south of Sydney, the Aboriginal engravings at Jibbon Headland have long been a popular location for the public to appreciate the cultural heritage of the local Dharawal people. However, increasing visitor numbers had contributed to its deterioration, with erosion and abrasion putting the preservation of the engravings at risk. Identified by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and the National Park and Wildlife Service (NPWS) as an important landmark on the Royal Coast Track, Fleetwood was engaged to construct a new viewing platform and walkway that would provide urgent protection to the area, whilst still allowing adequate public access to the unique cultural site.
NSW Office of Environment and Heritage
Scope of Work
Fleetwood was selected to deliver the iconic new structures based on our proven expertise working within sensitive environments. We began by partnering with Phillips Marler to identify and fine-tune the most effective designs, methodology and materials. We then led the highly complex construction phase, flying in pre-mixed sand and cement for the above ground footings by helicopter in bulka bags to avoid site contamination and speed up the construction process. Materials and tools were then manually carried into the area by foot along a 300-metre trail. The galvanised and painted steel work components for the walkway and the viewing platform were assembled offsite in small sections and then individually helicoptered into position with great care to complete the final installation.
More Project Information
Landscape Architects Phillips Marler were commissioned by NPWS to design and document construction for a new 60-metre steel elevated viewing platform and walkway. The logistics of the sensitive site dictated much of the design process requiring solutions to a range of challenges including the ability to be installed with no fixed sub-soil construction, as well as withstanding bushfires and the corrosive effects of the salty coastal environment.
The sensitive nature and remote location of the Jibbon Headland site was hugely challenging from a construction and installation perspective. Vehicle access was severely restricted, so for the solution we looked skyward. A helicopter would be needed to transport and place materials to avoid any damage and reduce working time on the ground.
An innovative approach was required throughout the project given the constraints of access, together with the highly sensitive construction corridor with aboriginal carvings very close to the work site. The footing structures, in particular, had to be carefully designed and installed to ensure minimal impact. Helicopters were used to bring in all materials using dedicated drop zones, while our crews would walk up the beach with their hand tools each day to Jibbon Head, approximately 450m from the nearest vehicle access point.
- Steel elevated viewing platform and walkway
- Fire and corrosion resistant finishes
- Steel handrails with stainless steel top rail
- Mild steel
- Stainless steel
- Marine grade paint system
- Hot dip galvanising
- FRP minimesh
Working safely in a remote corner of a National Park on sandy and unstable ground, with many materials flown in by helicopter, was far from simple. Beyond the structures themselves, external factors such as snakes, heat and gusty winds also needed to be considered.
Preserving the culturally sensitive site and surrounding bushland drove the entire design and construction process. No fixed sub-soil construction was allowed and vehicle access was kept to an absolute minimum. To reduce the need for future disruptions at the site, all materials and paint finishes were specified to maximise longevity and withstand fire as well as corrosion in the salty coastal environment.
By protecting the priceless Dharawal Aboriginal cultural heritage of the area, the new viewing platform and walkway allows the local Bundeena community to benefit for years to come through increased visitation.
Extensive consultation was undertaken throughout the project with the local Aboriginal community to ensure both its cultural sensitivity and enduring value.
The walkway provides safe and easy access to the site, allowing more families and visitors to experience one of the region’s most significant Indigenous cultural landmarks. It also forms an early stage of a much larger project that will, ultimately, see the creation of a series of Great Walks in NSW that will stand alongside iconic routes such as Tasmania’s Overland Track and Victoria’s Great Ocean Walk.
Fleetwood Urban have exceeded our expectations in the fabrication and delivery of this project. Their attention to detail is exemplary and we are delighted with the end result.
David Phillips Owner