A SPECIALLY commissioned art collection has been created for Walker Corporation’s 6 & 8 Parramatta Square lobbies, reflecting on the Indigenous and European history of Parramatta as part of the city’s evolution as a modern and diverse urban centre.
The collection starts with an intricate heritage display embedded into the architecture of the 6 Parramatta Square lobby which follows the changing patterns of use of the rich landscape and ancient wetlands around Parramatta Square.
It has been co-designed with the local Darug community and tells the story of both Aboriginal and European connections to this site.
The collection includes a complete working replica of the Rose Hill Packet boat known as ‘the lump’ by first fleet convicts and is permanently positioned in the lobby of 6 Parramatta Square.
The Rose Hill Packet was the first European boat built in Australia, specifically designed to take supplies from Sydney Cove to Rose Hill, now modern-day Parramatta.
Extensive research has enabled the design of the Rose Hill Packet to reflect certain elements of construction known to be common at the time, as well as allowing interpretation where needed.
Walker Corporation Chairman Lang Walker AO said the new display in the lobbies of 6 & 8 Parramatta Square paid tribute to the large role Parramatta has played in Australia’s rich history.
“Art and heritage are so important in all our developments and Parramatta has an amazing story to be told,” Mr Walker said.
The heritage interpretation display, designed by GML in collaboration with the Darug Specialist Panel is the centrepiece of the 6 Parramatta Square lobby.
The Aboriginal narrative
Leanne Watson, Darug custodian, artist and educator was engaged alongside artist and designer Jacob Nash (Daly River descendant) to help share and communicate the Aboriginal cultural narrative.
The work draws on archaeological data excavated from 6 & 8 Parramatta Square and links stories of Parramatta Square with the site’s ancient creek line and wetland pools.
Sharon Veale, CEO of GML Heritage said alongside artefacts, Aboriginal symbols etched into travertine and hand-crafted sculptures are visual cues for the audience to move through a timeline of changing lifeways.
“The immersive new heritage interpretation displays at 6 & 8 Parramatta Square will captivate tenants and visitors alike. The designs are evocative and beautiful, and hopefully it will create a sense of curious wonder in the place’s histories and stories as part of Parramatta’s exciting future,” said Mrs Veale.
Centred on food as a key historical theme, the installation incorporates a series of vessels interpreting different phases of the place’s history. From deep time and the deposition of ancient alluvial soils from the Parramatta river which nurtured Aboriginal people’s lives for millennia; to the colonisation and cultivation of land through European production and consumption of food in domestic settings; to the waves of migrants who brought new cuisines to the Parramatta area, to the enduring connection to Country explored by the Darug community today.
Also hanging in the lobby of the newest commercial office building of the $3.2 billion precinct, is a super canvas by Indigenous artist Yaritji Young called Honey Ant Dreaming.