THE Illawarra’s iconic Bald Hill reserve has received a major facelift, with improved amenities and a reconfigured road access officially opened today.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said Bald Hill was a popular tourist site, with more than 3,000 people visiting the reserve during busy weeks.
“This is a significant site for hang gliding and paragliding, with added international significance as the site of Lawrence Hargrave’s historic box kite experiments in November 1894,” Mr Chester said.
“The works have involved refurbishing the old amenities, which now include a new coffee spot, as well as providing a new viewing platform. This gives visitors two sites to sit, relax and have something to eat and drink.
“The Australian Government is pleased to have contributed $1 million under the Roads to Recovery program towards upgrading Otford Road and building a roundabout to provide safer access to the site.”
During the refurbishment, community artists were engaged to provide decorative pieces for the seating, amenities building and the plaza area between car parks. The artworks celebrate the area’s indigenous history and Lawrence Hargrave, an early Australian pioneer of flight.
State MP for Heathcote Lee Evans said community consultation had been undertaken in 2015 after adoption of the Bald Hill Reserve Master Plan.
“An important principle was to ensure the site remained ‘bald’ for the safety of recreational activities, and that there would be better and safer parking and access for people of all abilities,” Mr Evans said.
“The overall cost of the renewal is $7.38 million, with Council securing $2.9 million funding from the Restart NSW Illawarra Infrastructure Fund and $1 million funding from the Australian Government’s Roads to Recovery program.”
Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said the renewed and refreshed Bald Hill would serve the community and visitors for years to come.
“What we have now is a much more accessible site, with better car parking for buses and large vehicles, a new coffee spot, better seating, and new amenities,” Cr Bradbery said.
“This site is even more welcoming and will enhance the experience of visitors as they take in the best view in the Illawarra, as well as providing better access to the Lawrence Hargrave memorial.”