Chinese Garden of Friendship | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Chinese Garden of Friendship

Item details

Name of item: Chinese Garden of Friendship
Type of item: Landscape
Group/Collection: Parks, Gardens and Trees
Category: Other - Parks, Gardens & Trees
Location: Lat: -33.876527 Long: 151.202824
Primary address: 1 Harbour Street, Darling Harbour, NSW 2000
Parish: St Andrew
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Sydney
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
PART LOT3 DP1206677
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
1 Harbour StreetDarling HarbourSydneySt AndrewCumberlandPrimary Address
Day Street and Pier StreetDarling HarbourSydney  Alternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Place Management NSW Heritage and Property Group DPIEState Government 

Statement of significance:

The Chinese Garden of Friendship is state significant as an outstanding exemplar of a community-based late overseas Chinese garden of the type found in Australasia, North America and Europe constructed in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. It was the first Southern or Cantonese style garden in New South Wales developed cooperatively between Sydney's Chinese communities and public authorities in New South Wales and Guangdong.

The Garden demonstrates living traditions of over a thousand years in formal garden design and making in China and long continuities of particularly Southern, formal garden design and horticultural practices. It transcends boundaries between Cantonese cultural sensibilities within Sydney's urban context. Its penjing collection of miniature landscapes, cultivated in Sydney, diverse in their use of indigenous plant species such as the Port Jackson fig as well as species from China. The collection's cross-cultural significance is enhanced by geometric timber tracery screens and open-sided pavilions copied from historic Sydney models as a conscious expression of Chinoiserie. They provided a degree of popular familiarity and receptivity to Chinese gardens that hailed the construction of this garden.

The Garden is a unifying element tying the larger scale of the new Darling Harbour and older, more intimate spaces of Haymarket's streets and lanes. The continuing development of Sydney's Chinese communities are reflected in its Southern Chinese design and artisanship, in conjunction with Sydney and New South Wales' materials and construction. The Garden provides continuity to a landscape rooted in the ever-more sophisticated Haymarket Chinatown of which it is now a distinct quarter.

The Garden symbolises the welcoming of Australian-Chinese communities into New South Wales and Australian society. It represents the successful collaboration of Cantonese and Sydney designers, technicians and tradesmen and the transfer of traditional skills and techniques. It is a unique example of cross-cultural exchange in the construction of built and landscape forms that clearly demonstrate the rich heritage of Guangdong and Southern China translated into a new and unique garden enjoyed by the whole community.
Date significance updated: 06 Aug 18
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.

Description

Designer/Maker: Guangzhou Garden Planning & Building Design Instt.;Tsang & Lee; Edmond Bull & Corkery;
Builder/Maker: Gutteridge Haskins & Davey; Darlg. Hbr. Auth.; Imperiial Gardens; Leightons; Aust.Native Landscapes
Construction years: 1986-1988
Physical description: The garden is a designed landscape largely enclosed by a masonry wall, covering 10,300m2 (1.03 ha) in area. This area is composed of three main elements:

- garden landscaping 5,700m2
- lake and streams 3,300m2
- pavilions and other structures 1,300m2

The site includes the forecourt entrance stairs, fire egress ramp, two imperial guardian lion (or ski) statues and plantings of Chinese elms (Ulmus parvifolia), all of which adjoin the garden wall outside the garden proper.

Much of Cockle Bay comprises 19th century, introduced fill of unknown quality, provenance and changed ground levels. Following reclamation, this site had multiple industrial uses from the early 19th century on, with its final use being for warehousing. Industrial remnants are buried below the garden.

The various elements are described in turn below.

The Garden Wall:
The garden is enclosed by a white painted, rendered masonry wall on 3 sides (south, east and north). The wall is
approximately four metres in height and capped with scroll styled terracotta tiles. The western side is defined by a palisade fence transitioning to a mixed water and pavilion edge. The palisade fence is atypical but included so passing pedestrians can see into and be attracted to visit the garden. This 'open' fence also has a very important role in the feng shui of the garden, allowing the qi energy to move from the garden towards Cockle Bay.

Forecourt -
The garden entrance is defined by stairs and podium with two imperial guardian lion (or shi) statues protecting the entrance, one male and one female. The stairs and podium, while outside the walls, are part of the garden proper and of the quarantine fumigation process. Some ceramic trays (pen or pun) and some specimen stones, are from Guangdong.

Pavilions -
There are 17 pavilions in the garden, some interconnected, others are free standing, constructed with components from both China and Australia, including:
- grey roof tiles (Guangdong).
- golden glazed roof (Guangdong).
- Gurr pavilion, granite paving and handrails (Guangdong)
- grey bricks (from Guangdong, recycled from demolished historic buildings). The bricks were refurbished and polished in China.
- grey floor tiles (Shanghai).
- grey ceramic door and window reveals (Shanghai).
- ceramic grills (Shanghai).
- granite column bases, margins, cladding, handrails, paving and door frames (Fujian).
- geometric timber tracery, and other structural elements (New South Wales).

Water -
The water bodies including the lake, pond and brooks, are constructed with a concrete base liner. The waterfall rockwork is sprayed concrete over a wire formwork, similar to the technique used in the artificial grottoes in the animal enclosures at Taronga Zoo, Mosman. Water is recycled, filtered and UV treated similarly to a public fountain system.

Garden rock -
All general landscape rock is water-weathered fossiliferous limestone from an ancient river bed, excavated from
Cumnock Station, in Cabonne Shire, New South Wales. In China, similarly water-worn rock was very highly prized in gardens, often coming from Lake Tai. This represents a local variation in material on a traditional pattern of use.

Garden granite bridges -
All stone bridges are granite fromGuangdong, China.

Featured rock sculptures
- Ying rocks in the Courtyard of Welcoming Fragrance are weathered limestone quarried from the mountains of Yingde, a district in south Guangdong.
- Ying rock sculptured mountain and stairs to the Tea House are from Yingde in China (see above).
- Taihui rock in the garden of the Hall of Longevity is a rare weathered limestone from Lake Tai in China and a gift from
Guangdong.
- Wax rock in paved courtyard of Hall of Longevity is a rare river-moulded rock and a gift from Guangdong.

The dragon wall
The Dragon Wall is a double sided, free-standing screen made of glazed terracotta from China, commissioned specifically for this garden and a gift from the government of Guangdong. The wall depicts a blue dragon representing New South Wales and a brown dragon representing Guangdong, both are in search of the pearl of wisdom. The wall design is based on the 'nine dragon walls' in Datong, Shangxi. The wall was manufactured by Shiran Glazed Pottery in 943 pieces and assembled on site by potters from China.

The main, or Mountain Gate -
This gate was a gift from the government of Guangdong.

Landscape paving -
All paving including pebble mosaics are supplied and laid by New South Wales contractors. The mosaic patterns are
both decorative and suggest a natural stone scree found along the edges of lakes and rivers.

Pavilion artworks -
All art including calligraphy, wall hangings and paintings are a gift from the government of Guangdong.

Pavilion furniture -
All traditional furniture pieces are a gift from Guangdong, while the recent addition of a display cabinet in the Water Pavilion was designed and built in New South Wales.

Planting -
All plants were sourced in New South Wales, including Australian and exotic species. There are two lychee trees (Litchi chinensis) that were planted by visiting governors of Guangdong province in 2009 and 2015. Lychee is one of the 'four great fruits of Lingnan', along with banana, pineapple and paw paw.

Penjing (kV) collection -
Tenjing', or 'pun-gingE'l ( Ek-i)in Cantonese, roughly translates as 'landscapes in a tray' or 'tray scenery'. It focuses on creating a miniature landscape of trees and rock, sometimes with added figurines and landscape elements such as bridges, pavilions and farm animals. The collection commenced in 1992 and is largely created in the Cantonese or Lingnan style of penjing, which is particular to Guangdong and Guangxi provinces. This style pays particular attention to matching the natural and artificial elements, such as plant and pot.

There are 17 individual examples in the collection, composed of 13 different species including two Port Jackson figs (Ficus rubignosa).

Ages of individual penjing, where known, range from 12 years to about 70 years. All have been cultivated and styled in Sydney by penjing artists. Two very old and well regarded penjing were sent from Guangdong as a gift in 1988, but they did not survive the quarantine fumigation process. Some of the ceramic trays (pen or pun), and some of the specimen stones, are from Guangdong. The penjing collection is owned by the Crown through Place Management NSW.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Condition:
Fabric - good to excellent
Archaeological potential - moderate to high

Integrity:
Excellent
Overall, the garden is little changed since construction. The plantings have matured considerably since 1988 and have at times affected key visual connections between various elements. General maintenance and considered interventions are addressing these matters over time. Plant shaping to align with design principles, including feng-shui, scale, massing and form are recognised and being addressed over time.
Date condition updated:06 Jun 18
Modifications and dates: 2005: Conversion of the Blue Room (pre-2005 it was used as a cafe), located above the current cafe seating area, due to poor access. The Blue Room remains in original condition and is now used as a meeting room and for internal staff activities only. It is not currently (at the time of nomination in 2018) accessible to the public although this may change in the future.

An original memorabilia shop was converted into the current cafe. To build a new kitchen, a small open courtyard at the back of the shop, where the penjing collection was originally displayed, was demolished. The penjing collection was relocated to the Courtyard of Welcoming Fragrance as the garden entry.

The forecourt was remodelled to accommodate an access ramp for those with a disability, and generally enlarged to the west to give the entrance more presence in the broader Darling Harbour landscape.

In 2013 the public toilet along the southern wall was internally renovated. There was no change in its footprint.

The pavilions are in original condition. Ongoing maintenance has focussed on painting and minor repairs only. renovation.
Further information: Prior to colonisation the site was open water adjacent to a low lying swampy area. From about 1850 to 1984 the site was in-filled and used as industrial land.
Current use: Public Chinese garden, cultural and tourist attraction
Former use: Aboriginal land, harbourside industrial site, export refrigeration complex

History

Historical notes: The "Eora people" was the name given to the coastal Aborigines around Sydney. Central Sydney is therefore often referred to as "Eora Country". Within the City of Sydney local government area, the traditional owners are the Cadigal and Wangal bands of the Eora. There is no written record of the name of the language spoken and currently there are debates as whether the coastal peoples spoke a separate language "Eora" or whether this was actually a dialect of the Dharug language. Remnant bushland in places like Blackwattle Bay retain elements of traditional plant, bird and animal life, including fish and rock oysters (Anita Heiss, "Aboriginal People and Place", Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/barani).

With the invasion of the Sydney region, the Cadigal and Wangal people were decimated but there are descendants still living in Sydney today. All cities include many immigrants in their population. Aboriginal people from across the state have been attracted to suburbs such as Pyrmont, Balmain, Rozelle, Glebe and Redfern since the 1930s. Changes in government legislation in the 1960s provided freedom of movement enabling more Aboriginal people to choose to live in Sydney (Heiss, Sydney City Council).

The Aboriginal name for Darling Harbour is Tumbalong (Sydney City Council, 2019).
Prior to colonisation the site was open water adjacent to a low lying swampy area. From about 1850 to 1984 the site was filled-in and used as industrial land.

The land that would become the Chinese Garden of Friendship is in Cockle Bay and was progressively reclaimed and industrialised from the early years of the 19th century. Industries included ship building and repairs around the edges of the water, while further inland predominant uses were engineering workshops, metal foundries and food milling factories.

The site was first developed as Mort's Fresh Food & Ice Company in the 1850s with internationally significant developments in refrigeration technology arising from this period. Late 19th century light industrial buildings on the site and in its vicinity were demolished in 1985 as part of the Bicentenary redevelopment of Darling Harbour. This site history is uncommon for overseas Chinese gardens, which are typically located in existing parklands. The exception is several gardens in Hong Kong that were built in the 1970s-80s on reclaimed waterside industrial land.

The Landscape Section of the NSW Public Works, Government Architect's Branch were directly involved in development and construction of the garden. Oi Choong, then Head of the Landscape Section, notes that along with the Mt. Tomah (now the Blue Mountains) Botanic Garden and Mt. Annan (now the Australian) Botanic Gardens and Bicentennial Park (at Homebush Bay), the Chinese Garden of Friendship is one of the few seminal landscapes built to celebrate Australia's bicentennary (Choong, pers.comm., 27/7/2018).

The Chinese Garden of Friendship was formally opened to the public in 1988 during the Bicentennial celebrations. It was the culmination of years of lobbying by Sydney's Chinese communities, and a complex design and construction process undertaken jointly by the Guangzhou Garden Planning & Design Institute and the Darling Harbour Authority.

Mr Henry Tsang OAM is a leading figure in Sydney's Chinese community, a member of Sydney City Council (1991-1999) and the NSW Legislative Council (1999-2009). He had advocated the establishment of a Chinese garden in Sydney since the 1970s. At that time, overseas Chinese gardens were first established in Hong Kong and Singapore. In the early 1980s, the grounds of Sydney's two oldest Chinese temples (Tze Yup temple in Glebe, and Yiu Ming temple in Alexandria) were embellished with new boundary walls and pailou (gates). At the same time, the local Chinese community in British Columbia (Canada) has succeeded in having a Chinese garden established in Vancouver, which opened in 1982.

With the announcement in 1984 of the redevelopment of Darling Harbour to align with the upcoming 1988 bicentenary of colonisation, the local Chinese community lobbied the NSW government for a garden site in Darling Harbour. Tsang approached Neville Wran, the then Premier of New South Wales (1976-1986), to allocate an area of crown land for a traditional Chinese garden to celebrate the role of the Chinese community in developing Australia's commercial and social structures since the early 19th century. Tsang and the local Chinese community were able to secure from Wran a site adjacent to Chinatown in Haymarket, and helped facilitate an intergovernmental relationship between the Province of Guangdong and State of New South Wales to jointly fund, design and construct the new garden.

The relationship between Sydney and Guangzhou (previously Romanized as Canton), the capital of Guangdong province, is particularly strong because of trade and migration since the earliest days of colonisation. The agreement stipulated Guangdong would provide the design of the garden and key building materials, furniture and artworks that are intrinsic to the classic garden typology, while New South Wales would manage and fund its construction through the Darling Harbour Authority.

The garden design is a built and horticultural expression of a private garden, sometimes described as a scholar's or classical garden.

Garden typologies created over the last thousand years from the Song to the Qin dynasties demonstrate many historical, philosophical and regional variations. For instance, the cold climate Northern garden styles favour deciduous plant species and an urban character, while the warmer temperate climates of the Southern styles are marked by
lusher sub-tropical plantings. Southern styles are sometimes called Cantonese, from their associations with Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan provinces and Hong Kong and Macau, or Lingnam, meaning 'south of the mountains', referring to the region's location south of the Five Ranges of the Yangtze Valley. Generally, a private garden is a place of retreat and reflection, poetry, art, calligraphy and horticulture.

The Garden of Friendship design weaves the principles of auspicious positioning and orientation to channel positive qi energy through the garden; provides a preferred large and central water body to capture positive energy otherwise expressed as wealth and prosperity; demonstrates the placement of landforms to block unfavourable weather while opening the garden to the positive movement of the sun; places pavilions around the water body to reflect upon and
disseminate the positive energy stored within the water body; and establishes key visual connections between the host and guest pavilions and landscape. A 2004 feng shui assessment of the garden considered it as a reflection of these design principles and as an embodiment of the five elemental relationships between water, earth, air, wood and steel.

There is considerable documentation of the challenges with building the garden, from the initial Cantonese concept drawings and their conversion into Australian-style construction drawings; sourcing local trades people with the skills to undertake very unusual construction methodologies; finding suitable local building materials; importing special materials from China such as artworks, furniture, tiles and feature rocks; and the politics of Chinese working on the site within the strict union rules and regulations of the time.

The garden was formally opened on 17 January 1988, at the commencement of the Bicentennial celebrations that strongly focused on Australia's achievements as a multi-cultural society with an official theme of 'Living Together'. It was first such garden in the southern hemisphere, the second in an English-language settler society after Vancouver, and among the earliest in the world.

This process of 'translation', in which a Southern-style garden was recontextualised in the setting of the new Darling Harbour development, brought together a unique fusion of Cantonese and Sydneysider styles, materials, artisanship and horticultural practices. In the spirit of 'translation', the garden's plantings have evolved greatly since that time. It was very raw when opened and being a new landscape was overplanted in the expectation that natural losses would occur. It has prospered, and over time plants have had to be removed to give others around them room to expand, and to preserve particular visual connections.

Like any living garden, the Garden of Friendship is continually changing, and these dynamic processes are actively managed to retain the original design spirit and integrity while allowing its evolution in response to climatic and social changes, and the natural life cycles of living plants.

Key elements within the townscape setting for the Garden of Friendship are Tumbalong Park and Tumbalong Boulevard.
Tumbalong Park is a key link in the qi line from the garden to Cockle Bay, while the boulevard is the effective buffer between the garden and the very large Sydney International Convention Exhibition and Entertainment Precinct (SICEEP) structures. The qi line has been marked since 2017 by a bronze strip across the stage in Tumbalong Park symbolically linking the garden with the parkland and the waters of Darling Harbour (Place Management NSW).

Launching The Chinese Garden of Friendship's 30th Anniversary in 2018, the initiative of Minister Victor Dominello with the Chinese Gardens Advisory Panel welcomed key community leaders and representatives to celebrate Chinese New Year during a magical auspicious evening that marks CNY in one of the city's key cultural places. 2018 will see the garden's planned development plans and community collaboration in building a prosperous future for the Gardens (Haymarket Chamber of Commerce, 17/3/2018). The gardens are holding a festival to celebrate 30 year anniversary: events 29/9-14/10/2018 (CentralMag, 26/9/18, 7).

On 4 October 2018 the Hon. Victor Dominello MP, as Minister for Services and Property, (Places NSW) used an event celebrating the Garden's 30th anniversary as an opportunity to announce that Gabrielle Upton MP, Minister for Heritage has recently added the place on the State Heritage Register. The event was well attended by the Heritage Council with the Chair, Deputy Chair, Mark Dunn, Louise Cox, Bruce Pettman and with Prof Richard Mackay amongst a strong Chinese community presence (Tim Smith, pers.comm., 5/10/18).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Gardens-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. River flats-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Changing the environment-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Ethnic influences-Activities associated with common cultural traditions and peoples of shared descent, and with exchanges between such traditions and peoples. Chinese cultural accommodations of Western influences-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Sydney and Australian Landmark-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Significant Places How are significant places marked in the landscape by, or for, different groups-Monuments and Sites
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Creating environments evocative of the 'old country'-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes and parklands of distinctive styles-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes of scenic beauty-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Gardens celebrating multiculturalism-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes of contemplation and devotion-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Gardens and landscapes reminiscent of an 'old country'-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes demonstrating styles in landscape design-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes of passive recreation-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes of urban amenity-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Changing land uses - from suburban lots to public gardens-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Creating landmark structures and places in urban settings-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Public works-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Performing theatrical entertainments-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Parks and public gardens-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Creating works of art-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Designing in an exemplary architectural style-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Adaptation of overseas design for local use-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Designing landscapes in an exemplary style-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Designing structures to emphasise their important roles-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Architectural styles and periods - Southern Chinese or Cantonese style-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Interior design styles and periods - Southern Chinese or Cantonese style-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Landscaping - Southern Chinese or Cantonese style gardens-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Outdoor relief-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Visiting gardens-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Tourism-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Developing collections of items-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Outdoor concerts and performances-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Activities associated with relaxation and recreation-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Visiting places of romantic inspiration-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Enjoying public parks and gardens-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Gathering at landmark places to socialise-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Places of informal community gatherings-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Developing local clubs and meeting places-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Belonging to an historical society or heritage organisation-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with the Hon. Neville Wran AC CNZM QC, NSW Premier 1976-86-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Henry Tsang OAM, Deputy Sydney Lord Mayor, Councillor, architect-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Thomas Sutcliffe Mort, merchant, philanthropist, horticulturist-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Chinese Garden of Friendship is historically significant at the State level for evidence of the human activity of making and maintaining gardens and landscape design. It continues over a thousand-years of formal garden design and making in China and some two hundred years of formal garden design and making in New South Wales. Its particular style shows blending of Southern or Cantonese design and elements from Guangdong with building and plant materials from New South Wales to produce a historically unique garden in Sydney.

The Garden is historically significant for associations with the symbolic public acceptance of Australian-Chinese communities as part of broader New South Wales and Australian communities during 1988 bicentennial celebrations, when multiculturalism and a theme of 'Living Together' were strongly promoted.

The Chinese Garden of Friendship is historically significant for maintaining and showing continuing development of Sydney and broader Australian-Chinese communities. These have continued since the 1850s, creating and using a sequence of vernacular and designed structures and landscapes across the state reflecting Chinese and more particularly Cantonese, design and artisanship, local materials and construction practices. The Garden, as a product of desires of the local community, is evidence of this process of 'translation' of a venerable historic institution, the formal garden, into a new physical and cultural environment and a desire for a public expression of culture and outreach.

The Garden expresses Cantonese cultural sensibilities in a Sydney context and blurs boundaries between them. It continues, through its dynamic nature and continuing maintenance, to be a manifestation of two centuries of cultural, social and economic exchange between New South Wales and Guangdong.

The Chinese Garden of Friendship is historically significant for demonstrating increasingly sophisticated development of distinctive Chinatowns in Sydney and especially Haymarket, which continues to thrive and grow while earlier examples, such as in The Rocks and Surry Hills, are now mainly historical, rather than living communities.

The Garden is also historically significant for its capacity to demonstrate urban renewal in Sydney as a world city. Its location in Darling Harbour, formerly a polluted industrial area, subsequent survival and development during later waves of renewal here, are evidence of historical importance in anchoring and providing continuity in periods of upheaval associated with urban renewal.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Chinese Garden of Friendship is state-significant in representing the successful collaboration of Cantonese and Sydneysider architects, landscape architects, technicians and tradesmen in transferring traditional skills and techniques. Elements such as pavilions, bridges, rockwork, landscape art and furniture reflect Chinese architectural styles, some constructed by artisans from Guangzhou while others by locals trained using materials and techniques otherwise rare in Australia. The gardens represent a unique example of innovative and cross-cultural exchange.

The Garden is state-significant for creative or technical innovation or achievement, such as its penjing collection of miniature landscapes known in a limited number of overseas Chinese gardens, including Singapore, Seattle, Montreal, Portland and Huntington. These have been cultivated in Sydney and form a distinctive and highly creative element, especially their use of indigenous species such as Port Jackson fig. The collection has inspired development of other collections in New South Wales and establishment of a Penjing Academy.

The Chinese Garden of Friendship is significant for its aesthetic distinctiveness as the only example of a Southern style Chinese garden in New South Wales and Australia. Stylistic elements such as golden roof tiles, grey bricks, water bodies, granite bridges, natural rock sculptures, dragon wall and Mountain Gate exemplify the style, as do plantings such as lychees. There is no other landscape of comparable aesthetic distinctiveness in New South Wales.

The geometric timber tracery screens and the open-sided pavilions exemplify elements copied as a conscious expression of imaginary Chinese styles, known as Chinoiserie, intended for a Western audience. They exemplify the original forms of such a style and show capacity to respond to local climate in providing perforated screens and shading for outdoor rooms and verandahs.

The Chinese Garden of Friendship is state-significant for its landmark qualities as uniting the new larger scale of Sydney International Convention Exhibition and Entertainment Precinct (SICEEP) structures and spaces in Darling Harbour and the older, more intimate scale of Haymarket's enclosing streets and lanes. Motorists travelling on the A4 motorway obtain glimpses of its pavilions through trees and over the wall, as do residents of apartment towers, views not available anywhere else. In distant views, the Garden forms a distinctive landmark of greenery and trees in a highly urban environment.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The Chinese Garden of Friendship is state-significant for its special associations with Sydney's Chinese communities and broader Australian Chinese communities. The garden hosts community meetings, plays an important role in annual Chinese New Year celebrations, cultural activities such as traditional tea ceremonies, Chinese Opera and penjing display competitions.

The Garden is important to the community's sense of place because of its location in transitional space between the older Chinatown of Haymarket and urban renewal spaces of Darling Harbour. The Garden is increasingly regarded in Sydney's Chinese communities as a quarter of Chinatown, its 'domain' or parkland that helps reinforce a strong sense of place and provides space for respite and reflection, celebration and community-building in an area of growing high-rise buildings and population.

The Chinese Garden of Friendship is significant for its importance to a community's sense of place, shown in records and event data that show some 230,000 visitors during 2016-17 and an annual average over 2012-2017 of 205,000. Visitors include school groups, school holiday programs, evening functions and wedding ceremonies, as well as filming and photography activities.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The Chinese Garden of Friendship is rare on the state level as the only example in New South Wales of a Southern or Cantonese style garden, developed in co-operation between Sydney's local Chinese communities, relevant authorities in New South Wales and Guangdong. More recent Chinese gardens in New South Wales use different styles and have not been developed to the same extent or in a similar highly urban context. In a national and global context, this is an early example of a Chinese Garden outside China, following the Dr Sun Yat Sen Garden in Canada and the Bochun Garden in Germany by two years. At least 16 Chinese gardens were built globally outside China after Sydney's garden, and thus it is rare in NSW and also part of a small group globally.

The Garden is rare for its capacity to demonstrate designs and techniques of exceptional interest, especially transfer of knowledge and skills between Guangdong and New South Wales in construction of built and landscape forms demonstrating the rich built and horticultural heritage of Guangdong and Southern China.

The Chinese Garden of Friendship gives rare evidence of Sydney's Chinese communities and broader Australian-Chinese communities and the uncommon act of establishing and maintaining a Chinese garden as a public park, which expresses a particular Southern style as adapted and translated in New South Wales to form a place of unique importance to those, other Australian and all visiting communities.
Integrity/Intactness: Excellent, overall the garden is little-changed since construction. It can be appreciated that a garden is a living and evolving landscpe. The plantings have matured considerably since 1988 and have at times affected key visual connections between various elements of the garden. General maintenance and considered interventions are addressing these matters over time. Plant shaping to align with design principles, including feng-shui, scale, massing and form are recognised and being addressed over time.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:

Adhere to and implement the 2012-2015 Chinese Garden of Friendship Horticulture Major Maintenance Plan; and the 2012 Chinese Garden of Friendship Interpretation Strategy.

Recommendations

Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Statutory InstrumentNominate for State Heritage Register (SHR) 
Recommended ManagementProduce a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) 
Recommended ManagementPrepare a maintenance schedule or guidelines 
Recommended ManagementCarry out interpretation, promotion and/or education 

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for endorsementCMP submitted for endorsement  
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act - Site Specific Exemptions HERITAGE ACT 1977
ORDER UNDER SECTION 57(2) TO GRANT SITE SPECIFIC EXEMPTIONS FROM APPROVAL
Chinese Garden of Friendship
SHR No. 02017

I, the Minister for Heritage, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, in pursuance of
section 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, do, by this my order, grant an exemption from section 57(1) of that Act in
respect of the engaging in or carrying out of any activities described in Schedule "C" by the owner described in
Schedule "B" on the item described in Schedule "A".

The Hon Gabrielle Upton MP
Minister for Heritage
Sydney, 21st Day of October 2018

SCHEDULE "A"
The item known as Chinese Garden of Friendship, situated on the land described in Schedule "B".

SCHEDULE "B"
All those pieces or parcels of land known as Part Lot 3 DP 1206677 in Parish of St Andrew, County of Cumberland
shown on the plan catalogued HC 3213 in the office of the Heritage Council of New South Wales.

SCHEDULE "C"
1. All Standard Exemptions
2. Works under Plan of Management
Place Management NSW works in accordance with the Chinese Garden of Friendship Horticulture Major
Maintenance Plan 2012-2015 by the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority and with development consent
or exempt from development consent from Council of the City of Sydney.
3. Change of Use
Community events and temporary changes of use with development consent from Council of the City of
Sydney where:

NSW Government Gazette 181 21 August 2020
HERITAGE ACT 1977
ERRATUM NOTICE
The notice published in the Government Gazette No. 102 of 5 October 2018, for the Chinese Garden of Friendship
should have read – corrected typographical errors are underlined below:
HERITAGE ACT 1977
DIRECTION PURSUANT TO SECTION 32(1) TO LIST AN ITEM ON THE STATE HERITAGE REGISTER
Chinese Garden of Friendship – 1 Harbour Street, Darling Harbour, Sydney
SHR No 02017
In pursuance of section 32(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, I, the Minister for Heritage, having considered the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales and the other matters set out at section 32(1), direct the Heritage Council to list the item of environmental heritage specified in Schedule A on the State Heritage Register.
This listing shall apply to the curtilage or site of the item, being the land described in Schedule B.
The Hon Gabrielle Upton MP
Minister for Heritage
Sydney, 21st Day of September 2018
SCHEDULE B
All those pieces or parcels of land known as Part Lot 3 DP 1206677 in Parish of St Andrew, County of Cumberland shown on the plan catalogued 3234 in the office of the Heritage Council of New South Wales
Aug 21 2020
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions ORDER UNDER SECTION 57(2) OF THE HERITAGE ACT 1977

Standard exemptions for engaging in or carrying out activities / works otherwise prohibited by section 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977.

I, Donald Harwin, the Special Minister of State pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales do by this Order, effective 1 December 2020:

1. revoke the order made on 11 July 2008 and published on pages 91177 to 9182 of Government Gazette Number 110 of 5 September 2008 and varied by notice published in the Government Gazette on 5 March 2015; and

2. grant the exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977 that are described in the attached Schedule.

Donald Harwin
Special Minister of State
Signed this 9th Day of November 2020.

To view the standard exemptions for engaging in or carrying out activities / works otherwise prohibited by section 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977 click on the link below.
Nov 13 2020

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0201705 Oct 18 1027346
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage registerSydney Harbour Foreshore Authority    
National Trust of Australia register Chinese Garden of FriendshipC665227 Mar 13   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenBeattie, James2007'Growing Chinese Influences in New Zealand Chinese Gardens: Identity & Meaning'
WrittenBrash, Carol2011'Classical Chinese Gardens in Twenty-First Century America: Cultivating the Past'
WrittenCampbell, Duncan2011'Transplanted Gardens: aspects of the design of the Garden of Benificence, Wellington, New Zealand'
WrittenChoy, Howard, Feng Shui Architects2004Report of Feng Shui Analysis and Conceptual Advice
WrittenCommonwealth of Australia (Australian Heritage Commission: publisher)2002Tracking the Dragon: A guide for finding and assessing Chinese Australian Heritage Places
WrittenHan Li2015'From the Astor Court to Liu Fang Yuan: Exhibiting 'Chinese-ness' in America'
WrittenHodges, Sue2012Interpretation Strategy 2012: Chinese Garden of Friendship
WrittenJi Cheng1988The Craft of Gardens
WrittenMcCormack, Terri2008'Chinese Garden of Friendship' View detail
WrittenMissingham, Dr Greg2007Japan: 10+, China: 1: a first attempt at explaining the numerical discrepancy between Japanese-stype gardens outside Japan and Chinese-style gardens outside China
WrittenNowland, Peter (Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority)2012The Chinese Garden of Friendship Horticultural Major Maintenance Plan 2012-2015
WrittenPlace Management NSW2017Comparisons (other heritage-listed items, similar elements) - Comparator: other planned public Chinese gardens, NSW and elsewhere; 'Sydney Chinese' or 'NSW Chinese' or adaptations by Chinese people of existing sites, or examples of 'Sydney Chinoiserie'
WrittenRinaldi, Bianca Maria2011The Chinese Garden - Garden Types for Contemporary Landscape Architecture
WrittenRose, Lorna & Colliton, Gary1988The Garden of Friendship
WrittenSydney City Council2019Cartographica - Sydney on the Map
WrittenSydney Harbour Foreshore Authority: Planning & Infrastructure2012The Chinese Garden of Friendship - Horticulture Major Maintenance Plan 2012-2015

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage NSW
Database number: 5061920
File number: EF18/3894


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