The Audley Dance Hall and Ironbark Flat Restoration was awarded the Cultural Heritage Award of Excellence at the 2016 NSW AILA Awards. It was a fabulous recognition of this project for our team.
Why was this project so important?
The Audley Dance Hall and Ironbark Flats are at the heart of the Audley Village within Australia’s oldest national park. Our challenge was to carefully restore and ‘reveal’ these culturally significant buildings in their original setting on the bank of the Hacking River.
First established in the late 19th Century as a ‘resort’ or ‘pleasure ground’, Audley Village evolved over the next decades to meet the recreation and cultural needs of a growing Sydney community.
Over time, many of the panoramic vistas into, within and out of Audley were obscured. Our design restored these views so that visitors to the park can appreciate its aesthetic value and experience of Audley as coherent parkland.
Our approach pared back newer landscape installations and restored glimpses of the river beyond reinstated picnic lawns. The Dance Hall is once again used as an event space, café and visitor centre, and is at the heart of this setting. It evokes both a strong sense of history and a sense of place.
“We combined our skills in both architecture and landscape architecture on this project to deliver a revitalised landscape and building as a hub for tourism”, said David Phillips.
“With so many economic and environmental benefits, this project has proven that heritage landscapes and buildings can be sustainable in the long term.”
The Gardens Precinct is at the heart of the World Heritage precinct of Parramatta Park. It is of exceptional historical, aesthetic, research and interpretive value.
Like The Crescent to the west of Old Government House, The Gardens Precinct is a significant site for convict settlement.
Parramatta Park is a place of exceptional national significance. Its importance lies in its rich and wide ranging attributes and values, including:
- the park’s rich history of occupation by the Burramatta clan of the Darug people and ongoing connection for the Aboriginal community;
- the history of the site as the seat of Colonial Government and a place of agriculture and convict settlement;
- the important role the park has played in Australian history, and
- as a significant open space for the City of Parramatta.
The park is also part of the World Heritage serial listing of Australian Convict sites. This carries a responsibility for the Trust to manage the landscape values of the site, and balance these against the visual impact of the urban environment
Phillips Marler are currently involved in a major design and documentation for the Parramatta Park Gardens Precinct for Parramatta Park Trust.
Our selection for this $7 million project recognised our capability in both landscape architecture and landscape heritage.
The project is within the World Heritage Area of Parramatta Park. It focuses on three main areas:
- Murray Gardens and Creek
- George Street Gatehouse promenade and
- The northern area of the Gardens as it intersects with the Parramatta River and the rapidly changing CBD of Parramatta.
Interpreting and understanding the historic layers of the site made this a complex project for our landscape heritage team with the competing interests of conservation and new design to create more vibrant spaces.
Elements of former colonial structures and roads were revealed by an archaeological dig. The first stage is nearing construction.
This project meant engaging with a world heritage landscape with high evidence of archaeology and built heritage. It is a privilege to work in such a significant place, but painstaking at the same time.
We relish the detail and the process of working through the issues with Parramatta Park Trust to ensure the design is always complimentary to the significance of the place and provides a rich experience for the public.
Julie Marler, Phillips Marler