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Return to the Harbour

Swim at Barangaroo Swimming Hole, Marrinawi Cove, surrounded by native flora.

Sydneysiders and visitors alike have a deep affection for Sydney Harbour and enjoy a long association with bathing. Gadigal people bathed along the inner harbour’s shores prior to and after European settlement, and the Colony’s early baths were built at Dawes Point and Soldiers Point (Erskine Street).

Since Dawes Point Baths’ closure, generations of Millers Point locals have been jumping and swimming off the piers at Walsh Bay.
In 2015, Barangaroo Reserve opened, recreating the original headland topography and flora, but with one major omission – the inability to safely access the water to swim, fish or canoe.


Our scheme is to reimagine Marrinawi Cove as a swimming spot for all to enjoy. Beautiful, sheltered and north-facing, native flora and carefully sculpted tessellated sandstone line the cove, extending along the headland.


A good current flows through this tidal cove, keeping the water clean and sparkling for swimmers. The scheme retains the naturalist beauty of the cove while gently inserting timber platforms and steps to allow safe access to the water.  A shark net encloses the outer edge of the inlet.


In this time of COVID-19 and closure of public swimming pools, the ability to swim outdoors in salt water, the earth’s natural healing source, and truly connect with nature is even more important than before.


Barangaroo Reserve was set aside to provide recreation opportunities for the surrounding communities and visitors to Barangaroo. We believe swimming at Marrinawi Cove would create a unique recreation experience for all to enjoy.


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[Prepared by Yasmina Bonnet, Anne Warr,
Tim Schwager and John Dunn.]

Download PDF of the submission Return to the Harbour.

 

below: Joseph Lycett’s watercolour of Aboriginal people swimming and spear fishing in Sydney Harbour around 1817 (National Gallery of Australia)

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above left: Sam Hood’s 1935 photo of young men diving into the Harbour at the central wharf Millers Point (State Library NSW)

above right: Testing the waters at Mirranawi Cove, 2020

left and top of page: drawings by Tim Schwager