Parramatta Square Heritage Interpretation

Interpretation Strategy​
Interpretation Plan and Implementation

Walker Corporation

Parramatta, NSW
Dharug Country

Parramatta Square is a landmark urban renewal project set to transform Parramatta’s city centre. GML designed the heritage interpretation of 6 Parramatta Square, a centrepiece of the development.

The $3.2 billion Parramatta Square redevelopment spans 3 hectares and will deliver retail, office, mixed use and public spaces, six new buildings and a refurbished town hall. The square sits on a historic landscape with Aboriginal archaeology dating back at least 10,000 years, as well as layers of colonial and Victorian period archaeology. 

GML Heritage was commissioned by Walker Corporation to design and interpret how the tangible and intangible significance of the site would be communicated to the wider public. ​

The interpretation design process was informed by historical and archaeological research but led by community and collaboration with the Darug Specialist Panel, and Leanne Watson in particular. Watson worked closely with GML’s design team to create an artwork display.

The resulting design concept celebrates the site’s Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal history and heritage.

The display interprets the archaeology excavated from 6 & 8 Parramatta Square and the history of this site as the landscape changed – from the ancient wetland landscape, through to colonisation, European built heritage, and the lived experiences of Darug culture today.

The visual form of the creek line and waterholes moves the audience through the different historical phases. Hand-sculpted food vessels, cast in bronze, symbolise each era. The final pool, Ngara, calls us to listen to Country.

Leanne Watson’s artwork, etched into the travertine, unifies the piece and speaks to the lived continuum of Darug culture in Parramatta today.

GML collaborated with JPW Architects, City of Parramatta Council and Walker Corporation to integrate the concept into the public domain and architecture of the building footprint. 

Leanne Watson shares the story of this Coolamon that holds great significance in her family. The Coolamon is one of many artefacts researched for the artwork by artist Jacob Nash (Daly River descendant) that appears in Badu Baraya.

Badu Baraya at Parramatta Square.

The final pool of the installation, Ngara, calls us to listen to Country.

Artefacts excavated from the site form part of the installation.

Badu Baraya by night.

Awards

Winner, Interpretation Australia Awards, 2023, Interpretation Project – Indoors