John Weir Reserve, on the corner of Torres Street and Captain Cook Drive, is the gateway to Kurnell village and features natural shade, seating and gardens. The Reserve was named in honour of John Graham Weir MBE, who was an outstanding community member of Kurnell.
Mr Weir served as President of the Kurnell Progress Association for 25 years and was involved in most other local community organisations. In 1970 he received Sutherland Shire Council's first Citizen of the Year Award, and in 1971 was further recognised with an MBE for his community work. He served as an independent Sutherland Shire Councillor from 1971 to 1974. He was instrumental in bringing about the sealing of Kurnell’s dirt roads and the installation of kerb and guttering, reticulated water, protection works to the foreshore, a boat ramp and reconstruction of Marton Hall after it was destroyed by fire.
Following gazettal of John Weir Reserve in October 2000, a memorial to Mr Weir was unveiled in March 2001, together with a time capsule. New landscaping, seating and a pathway were installed by Council the following year. The curved concrete pathway that wraps around the John Weir Memorial incorporates ceramic tiles featuring Aboriginal artwork by Joe Hurst, a multi-disciplined artist who works in design, construction, sculptures and painting, and is a long time member of the Boomalli Aboriginal Arts Co-operative. Mr Hurst also carved the feature poles and bollards, which reflect the maritime nature of the area.
These works were designed to reflect the natural and cultural character of Kurnell while respecting and appreciating the Aboriginal history of the area and to reflect the significance of Kurnell in Australia's history.
Gateway Signage - 2020
To acknowledge the 250th anniversary of the meeting of two cultures in 2020, Council constructed new gateway signage, acknowledging the area as the site of first contact between the Gweagal people and Lieutenant Cook and the crew of the Endeavour ship on the southern shores of Kamay Botany Bay, Kurnell in 1770.
The new gateway signage at Kurnell, installed as part of Council upgrades to John Weir Reserve, features five weathered steel pillars bearing a topographical representation of the Kurnell peninsula, with the words “The Meeting Place” prominently displayed and an acknowledgement of the Dharawal people as the traditional custodians of the area.
The materials and sculptural design of the gateway signage were carefully chosen to tell the story of Kurnell:
The sandstone blocks represent the building blocks of the nation, stemming from Place. The corten (rust-coloured) steel was selected for its beautiful ochre colour. Ochre was an important material for First Nations people and also represents the wonderful colours of the cliff faces around Kurnell.
Stainless steel was chosen because it was enduring and bright. In reflecting those who gaze upon it, it creates a shadow of the viewer, representing the past.
The interpretative topographical map of the Kurnell Peninsula reflects the significance of Country and the connection we share to places that are significant to us.
The gateway signage forms part of a long term project to update signage linking different suburbs and geographical areas across the region, providing a consistent visual identity across the Sutherland Shire.
Enquiries can be directed to the Sutherland Shire Council on 9710 0333 or firstname.lastname@example.org