A former disused rail corridor between Central Station and Darling Harbour in Sydney has been transformed into a vibrant public open space (SHFA 2016). This unique elevated park has seen a significant, but redundant, industrial heritage feature re-imagined as a leafy civic spine in the heart of Sydney’s most densely populated area.
The original railway goods line, part of Sydney’s first railway opened in 1855, ran from the Sydney Yard (Central Station) to Darling Harbour. In 1911, it was extended to Dulwich Hill, with major rail yards at Rozelle and Darling Harbour. Much of the line was closed when Darling Harbour Yard was redeveloped into the successful Darling Harbour precinct of today.
Commissioned by the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, this new public precinct connects more than 80,000 tertiary students, locals and visitors to the attractions of Darling Harbour, via iconic landmarks such as the ABC headquarters and the new Dr Chau Chak Wing Building of the University of Technology Sydney, designed by internationally renowned architect Frank Gehry. The former elevated rail corridor features a series of ‘platforms’, which can be used for a variety of activities, including public entertainment, recreation and festivals.
The Goods Line is an example of the potential for innovative ideas and good design to incorporate heritage and history within creative public places.