Bara Bridge at Kensington Ponds, Centennial Parklands

Bara Bridge at Kensington Ponds, Centennial Parklands

Bara Bridge at Kensington Ponds, Centennial Parklands

The design of a new pedestrian and cycle bridge and boardwalk in a major park in Sydney was inspired by the shape of ‘bara’ eels and their migration to the Pacific Ocean from the very pond it traverses. Bara Bridge celebrates ancient Indigenous culture and is an environmentally sensitive addition to the vast Centennial Parklands.

This new accessible gateway replaces a decaying and inaccessible pedestrian bridge. It connects the park to a new light rail station, broader pedestrian/cycle networks and surrounding suburbs.

The bridge widens at the centre to form a viewing platform, a place of repose, allowing pedestrians to pause and appreciate the aquatic and bird life, and flora, such as endangered banksia scrubs and native grasses.

The shape, movement and colour of the long-finned eels is reflected in the form and materiality of the bridge design. The bridge’s railings are made of different coloured anodised aluminium fanning out at the centre, echoing the skeletal structure and dynamism of the eel. Colours were selected for camouflage and movement.

Materials were carefully chosen for their low maintenance, durability, and 100% recyclability. Local spotted gum is used for handrails and kerbs, sandstone for paving and retaining blocks. Lightweight, non-slip fibreglass reinforced plastic mesh (FRP) was selected for the bridge deck. The anodised aluminium balustrade was chosen for its colour, sheen, colourfastness, and 100% recyclability. The painted steel super-structure is also 100% recyclable.

To minimise disturbance to the pond ecosystem just three piles were driven into the pond-bed. A four-prong cruciform steel structure from each pile supports the bridge and provides both lateral and longitudinal stability.

ABOUT SAM CRAWFORD ARCHITECTS (SCA) SCA is a design driven architectural practice based in Sydney, Australia. Over the last 20 years, the award-winning practice has established a reputation for design excellence in residential, cultural, public and educational projects. They focus on seven core principles: People, Place, Purpose, Delight, Efficiency, Sustainability and Value.

CENTENNIAL PARK Centennial Park is located four kilometres from the Sydney central business district and has more than 189 hectares of open space including gardens, wetlands, sports fields and cycle tracks. https://

-33.903823334304, 151.22710457064

SDA Structures
Year of the project conception
Year of completion of the project
COST (€/m²) ($/m²) (€/ha) ($/ha)
AUD$3,289 /m²
Price category
Price subcategory
Customer type
Administració pública
Customer Name
Greater Sydney Parklands
square metre
Construction company
Christie Civil
Works management
Centennial Parklands
Maintenance manager
Centennial Parklands
Maintenance costs (€/m²)
Kensington Ponds, Centennial Parklands
Coordinates UTM
Latitude: -33.90382333430444 Longitude: 151.227104570639
City / Place