Bara Bridge – in progress

Centennial Parklands, Sydney, NSW

Sam Crawford Architects was originally  engaged by the Botanic Gardens and Centennial Parklands Trust to design a new footbridge over Kensington Ponds, incorporating new pedestrian and cycle paths as well as a viewing platform. The bridge will act as a gateway to the park and connect the recently completed light rail station to a network of pedestrian and cycle paths throughout the park.

“The ‘bara’ (both freshwater and saltwater eel) was a food source for the Dharawal [also known as Gadhungal] people inhabiting this area. This is demonstrated by the presence of traces of longfin eel in an 8,000 year old hearth discovered nearby.”*

Ponds within the Parklands are home to the ‘bara’ or long finned eel. Bara are compelled by instinct to journey to the warm waters of the Pacific to reproduce. During autumn, mature adult eels make their way south from the park’s many ponds to Botany Bay via storm-water drains or by wriggling overland. From there they swim to spawning grounds in New Caledonia, returning to the same ponds later in the year. The bridge aims to draw attention to this incredible and ancient migration; celebrating the resilience of the eel and its importance as a source of food to local people for thousands of years.

SCA is currently working with Christie Civil on the final stages of detailed design and documentation, as Christie Civil begins construction work on site.

* La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council, extract from Lymsmith and Christie Fearns Interpretation Strategy Nov 2017


Project Team

Sam Crawford, Ben Chan, Imogene Tudor, Ken Warr


Interpretation Strategy – Lymesmith with Christie Fearns Graphic Design
Accessibility – Morris Goding Access Consulting
Geotech: JK Geotechnics
Structural Engineer: Simpson Design Associates
Surveyor: Opus
Quantity Surveyor: Altus Page Kirkland


Botanic Gardens and Centennial Parklands Trust


Christie Civil