History Celebrated In Final Link Of Woolooware Bay Pathway

Published On 08 May 2017 at 12:00 PM

Work has begun on Stage 6 of the Woolooware Bay Shared Pathway project which is the final link of a pedestrian and cyclist pathway from La Perouse to Kurnell, around the shores of Botany Bay.

Stage 6 focuses on a heritage-listed oyster industry site between Atkinson Road, Taren Point and the property boundary of privately owned Woolooware Shores Retirement Village. 

“This final stage has environmental and heritage significance, but is also the last piece of the puzzle in an incredible scenic experience that showcases the natural beauty around the shores of Botany Bay,” said Sutherland Shire Mayor Carmelo Pesce.

The new boardwalk will provide a scenic walking and cycling route through the existing mangroves to viewing platforms located on the areas of reclaimed land. These locations have been designed to afford views of the heritage-listed wharf and a new sand island, which will be installed 120m offshore to act as an alternate bird habitat and roosting area. 

Since business on the site was closed in the 1980s the wharf has become a roosting area for a variety of shorebird species, including several varieties of migratory shorebirds. Some of these birds fly as far as Siberia each year and are protected under international agreements.

Significant restoration have recently been undertaken to stabilise the aging structure, including replacing the original roof which consisted of fibrous asbestos sheeting. An environmentally approved weatherboard material was used and the wharf’s foundations were capped to prevent further degradation by marine life.

To ensure the bird habitat is not disturbed, pedestrians and cyclists will remain hidden from the bird’s direct line of sight by feature walls with viewing holes, located across the platform area in close proximity to the wharf.

“The design for the boardwalk and sand island aimed to balance elements of environment, heritage and recreation to deliver a comprehensive experience with educational value for the community,” said the Mayor.

The site’s rich cultural history, having been used to farm oysters for much of the 20th century, has been included as an integral part of the project. At low tide remnants of the oyster racks are still visible in the sand offshore and much of the shoreline was shaped by its regular use by the thriving industry. A war era ‘Nissen Hut’ still remains on the site to this day, having been used regularly for storage by various users for over sixty years.

The industrial history of the site left large sections contaminated with tar and creosote, materials which were used to coat the oyster racks and prevent deterioration in the salt water. Prior to the design phase of the pathway project, RMS completed significant works to reinforce the shoreline of the contaminated areas and sealed the contamination with a 700mm clay cap finished with geofabric and jutemesh.

The Woolooware Bay Shared Pathway project falls under the Sydney Metropolitan Regional Trails framework and has involved successful cooperation between Sutherland Shire Council and NSW Roads and Maritime Service, with additional funding being provided from Local Land Services and the Metropolitan Greenspace Program.

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