Located on the east coast of Australia in the Illawarra region, 75 kilometres south of Sydney, the name Red Point is taken from the distinctive colour of the rock of the headland as it juts out into the Pacific Ocean.
The project involved the integration and celebration of Country through the provision of a landscape master plan that established access to the point, an important place to the local Aboriginal Wadi Wadi people. The point holds great cultural significance, as a place for fishing, meeting, and observing the sea.
In response to the brief to upgrade the existing damaged seawall to reinforce the ocean edge, both the client Sydney Water and our team at Taylor Brammer identified this project as an opportunity to improve pedestrian access to Fisherman’s Beach and establish a safe and accessible pathway to a new viewing area on the water’s edge looking towards the Five Islands. The local indigenous history of the place is crucial with Hill 60, a heritage-listed Aboriginal site, forming the entrance to Red Point. Given the local Indigenous people’s enduring relationship with the land, it was imperative to acknowledge their connection and integrate their stories into the very fabric of the project.
The integration of the local indigenous Elders stories is key to recognising the site’s importance to the Illawarra Region and Indigenous history. Taylor Brammer and Sydney Water facilitated consultation and extended liaison with the local Elders and artists of the Coomaditchie United Aboriginal Corporation. This process was integral to the sharing of their story of the Wadi Wadi people, which was curated and woven into the ‘robust fabric’ of the place. Their stories and cultural history are depicted in vibrant artworks across the site including a 21 metre long art installation on the sea wall itself. The artworks celebrate the stories born of this place and include tales of :
Hill 60 Tribal & Traditional grounds of the Wadi Wadi Nations
Hill 60 provided an elevated viewing point to observe ocean tides, schools of fish and any rival tribes. A community of cultures old and new, our hands are connected to each other by the trails that take us to our special places. The tale of two cultures coming together, seaweed “King Neptune’s necklace” shellfish is one of the many delicate seafoods gathered on the oceans edge that our people have survived on.
Traditional Hunting & Gathering
Acknowledging the East Coast tribal people, our land, our medicinal plants as a source of food that grow in our special places.
The shoreline is our area for fishing with our canoes and traditional woven nets; a special place connecting our past and present to the ocean.
Five Islands Dreaming Story
Hill 60 is a campsite and tribal area of the Wadi Wadi. Mt Keira, the Womens’ mountain, is connected to the five islands by our dreaming story of the Creation of the Five Islands.
Five daughters were thrown off Mt Keira by their father OolaBoolaWoo, the west wind on five huge pieces of the mountain. The daughters turned into mermaids after years of fretting for their sister Geera, now known as Mt Keira.
Fisherman’s Beach Port Kembla (Fisho’s), Past & Present
The campsites of the local tribal people are sitting on the high area of “Fisho’s Beach” with the trails going down to the ocean. Boats and fishing nets are connected by corks and woven rope. People come together and many hands are used to share the load of work to pull in their catch. The ocean edge is our special place; a place of food, a place for survival, our kitchen of history.
The Wadi Wadi Tribe and neighbouring communities, Sydney and the Shoalhaven, are connected by our walking trails and campsites with special places for gathering and telling of dreaming stories.
Alongside the celebration of the Wadi Wadi People’s history through art, Hill 60 has existed as an important place for the local Indigenous peoples with evidence of middens, burial sites and a history of storytelling and ceremony. As a part of the conservation and enhancement of Red Point, Taylor Brammer drew inspiration from the local planting character on Hill 60; an added component to this historical place making. The supplementary landscape planting was installed by the Indigenous land care group under the stewardship of the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council (ILALC). These plants consisted of endemic coastal vegetation with plants being propagated from nearby Hill 60.
The rugged nature of this dramatic and exposed site required an equally hardy but straightforward response that utilises concrete, stainless steel and basalt stone key components of the overall works to the site.
The outcome is a community asset that conserves Indigenous culture and stories in collaboration with the restoration and enhancement of the existing Sydney Water facility. Red Point has seen the successful maintenance and upgrade of the local natural environment, with renewed access and enjoyment for the whole of the Illawarra community.
Location: Red Point, Port Kembla
NSW 2505 Australia
Design year: 2017
Year Completed: 2021