11 June 2024

Interim Ngamawari park coming to Acton Waterfront in 2025 with work underway

| Ian Bushnell
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fenced-off park under construction

The fenced-off Acton Waterfront public park site. The interim park will open next year. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

Work has started on the interim park at the Acton Waterfront that will eventually become the permanent 30,000-square-metre public park celebrating Ngunnawal culture and history, named Ngamawari.

City Renewal Authority’s acting deputy chief executive officer Jen Ramsay said the interim park would open in 2025 and provide a place for people to relax by the lake, exercise and enjoy events and activities.

“This is an exciting milestone in the ongoing transformation of the Acton Waterfront,” Ms Ramsay said.

“These works will not only deliver an interim park next year, but also provide the essential infrastructure for a future Ngunnawal-themed permanent park and city neighbourhood.

“It’s about enlivening the area as soon as possible while also laying the foundations for a major lakeside destination for locals and visitors.”

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Local construction company Complex Co is building the interim park, which will include grassed areas, garden beds and retaining walls, temporary lighting and shade structures, hardstand spaces to support events, and food and coffee options.

Other infrastructure will be stormwater and additional infill, as well as secure access for heavy vehicles, maintenance and emergency vehicles.

The permanent park, due to open in 2028, would extend the size, experience and amenities at Ngamawari once completed.

Artist's impression of waterfront park

An artist’s impression of what’s planned for Ngamawari, the eventual permanent Acton Waterfront park due to open in 2028. Image: ACT Government.

Ms Ramsay said this would result in a large-scale and culturally significant public space for all Canberrans.

“Ngamawari has been designed hand-in-hand with local Ngunnawal community members and creatives,” she said.

“From native plantings to artworks, Ngunnawal culture and history will be embedded throughout the expansive park.

“It will provide a special experience to all who explore the planned adventure playground, extensive native gardens, pavilions and event spaces over the coming decades.”

It is also envisaged as a place for events, markets, exhibitions, community gatherings and other activities.

The public art spaces will be curated by West Australian public arts consultancy FORM as the park’s First Nations curator.

In collaboration with the Ngunnawal community, FORM will deliver a series of concepts, through construction, that will be integrated into the park for the 2028 opening.

The new park will also have to integrate with the proposed mixed-use development to be built behind it on the current carparks.

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Ngamawari will follow the construction of neighbouring Henry Rolland Park in 2018 and the lake reclamation, 700 m boardwalk and public beach in 2022.

The park’s name – Ngamawari (pronounced nar-mar-wa-ree) – was gifted by Ngunnawal community representatives in November 2023.

It means ‘’cave place’’ in the Ngunnawal language and recognises the cultural importance of the limestone caves flooded during the creation of Lake Burley Griffin and the role they played for shelter and art along the Molonglo River.

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