Thank goodness for the Goods Line! Or maybe thank you to the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority or whoever is responsible for this new public space… either way, this latest park addition to the Sydney recreational scene is a welcome new area serving as a vital connecting element between some previously rather neglected parts of the city.
The Goods Line can easily be found if you turn west from the doors of Market City/Paddy’s Market and follow the tram tracks. Currently you will walk past a giant construction zone, the former Entertainment Centre car park. This also used to be home to the monorail and the covered walkway that connected the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, aka the Powerhouse Museum, with the Entertainment District of Darling Harbour.
All this is now gone and more is soon to follow in the NSW government’s major redevelopment plans of the area. As one of the first great moves in the new direction, the Goods Line is now making it much easier to access not just the Powerhouse Museum but also the Ultimo university and TAFE campuses.
The Goods Line is a reinvented part of Sydney’s industrialised past, previously used by the railway system that would ship freight from the warehouses to the harbour front at Darling Harbour. With the industry and the wharfs gone by the 1980’s the railway became obsolete and this stretch of land was long neglected. What a wonderful ideal to give this piece of real estate now back to the people of Sydney!
Modelled after similar urban projects such as in New York City, the Goods Line is not just a new passageway connecting previously hardly accessible areas of the city with each other and providing much needed recreational space, it is also paying homage to the railway and the working people of the area. And it does this in a rather clever way.
Instead of removing all of the tracks, some of them have been left in the ground, embedded in fresh coarse grey pebble and sturdy native plants such as grasses and kangaroo paws. There are rusty plaques inserted in the smooth concrete walkways, with letters reading railway related keywords such as “arrival” or (quite beautiful, really!) “from here to the world”. There are mechanical parts here such as switches and signals. Interpretative signs help with explaining the different elements.
For the kids there’s a playground here, a sandbox with a old sandstone culvert, archeologically retrieved in 2002 during an excavation in nearby Mary Ann Street. There is also water play for the little ones, zig-zagging brick channels that will funnel the water downstream.
For the older kids, uni students, locals, there are bright yellow seating arrangements, stools, an outdoor gym, lunch tables, ping-pong tables and a small amphitheatre. Lawns invite you to bask in the Sydney sun. Plenty of opportunity to sit back and relax and enjoy some quiet time.
The Goods Line now connects the Darling Harbour area with the Ultimo campus of the UTS and the ABC, and even better, it connects to a quick and safe underground passage all the way to Central Station. I am really excited about how well this new park works as a connecting artery to the different parts of the city. Lastly, it offers new views of the gorgeous Dr Chau Chak Wing Building.
If you haven’t been to the Goods Line yet, do check it out soon. It will give you a very new perspective on this part of town, a true asset to the public experience of Sydney.
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