Monday, 2 July 2012

Ballast Point and Mort Bay Park.

Ballast Point is the newest park in the Sydney Harbour National Park complex. Ballast Point got its name from the previous (more than two centuries ago) use of the point to quarry rock for the ballast of sailing ships.

We visited on a winter's day in June, sunny but cold. The point is very exposed so a windy day would not be recommended.

Getting there.
The Woolwich ferry from Circular Quay takes about 10 minutes to the Balmain Thames St wharf.
By car -not recommended as there is little or no parking except for those with disabled parking permits.

The photo shows the ferry wharf and the departing ferry with a view to the Harbour Bridge.

There are no restaurants or cafes but free barbecue facilities at a few points and public toilets that are clean but designed by an architect who has different views of comfort to me. The park is well maintained. It closes between sunset and sunrise.

There are harbour views that you will not get from any other place.

A number of areas are designated for sculptures but there is little in place at the moment.

On the other hand, three of the retaining walls are now decorated with padlocks placed by couples and proclaiming eternal love. One of the walls is entirely dedicated to Michael Jackson.

There is a small display of relics from Menevia a large home built by Thomas Perkins about a hundred years ago. The point was also known as Menevia Point and Perkins Point by locals.

For much of last century the land was an oil depot and relics of this still remain.

In one case they have been turned into an intriguing sculpture.

Morts Bay Park adjoins Ballast Point park, in fact you have to walk through it to get to Ballast Point from the ferry wharf.

The park was once a shipbuilding facility and produced a number of corvettes for the Navy. Originally planned for commercial development when the shipyard closed two local politicians Nick Origlass and Issy Weiner. Both were mayors of Balmain City Council in their day, both Trotskyists who had been expelled from the Communist Party and the Labor Party, both very dedicated to the people of Balmain when it was a working class area. They had the bloody-mindedness needed to battle for a park for the residents.

The park overlooks Mort Bay, possibly the last evidence of a working harbour rather than a theme park.

Both parks have established and new plantings of native trees and while Ballast Point is still a little raw it is well worth the visit.

No comments: