EXHIBITION: Botany & the Bay

The Edwards getting ready to row, c.1930s
Courtesy of Edna Edwards & Debbie Oliver

Can you believe this photograph was taken on the foreshores of Botany? Due to the 1970s construction of Port Botany, the spot where this photograph was taken no longer sits right beside the water. Foreshore Road, a four- lane expressway, now runs where these boys would have slipped their boat into the Bay. The hum of fast moving semi-trailers has now replaced the sound of gentle waves.

‘Botany & the Bay’ explores the Botany district’s changing relationship with its famous namesake. It looks at the fond memories many locals have of swimming, fishing and sailing on the Bay. It also considers the negative impacts of this body of water. In the 1930s for example, the serious erosion of our coast left some residents in fear their homes would be washed away.

The exhibition brings together a wide collection of photographs and objects sourced from Council’s archives and local residents. ‘Botany & the Bay’ runs from September 9th 2013 – March 14th 2014.

Below is just a glimpse of what you will see.

The Bay has always been important to Botany’s identity. When Council created its first logo in 1914 it featured an illustration of Captain Cook’s arrival. City of Botany Bay Library & Museum Services
Botany never claimed to be Bondi or Coogee, but for residents its water was wonderfully close, 1950s
Courtesy of Dorothy Hargraves & Denis Muller
Many locals recall catching fish, prawns and blue swimmer crabs in Botany. Denis Muller’s home backed onto Botany Bay and he spent all his free time down by the water, 1950s Courtesy of Dorothy Hargraves & Denis Muller

 

Large industrial sites like Bunnerong Power Station (pictured here) and Australian Paper Mills were important landmarks on Botany Bay. Many locals enjoyed their presence due to the recreational opportunities they offered. The Paper Mills discharged warm water into the Bay which many locals liked to relax in. The power station offered a canal that contained fast moving water. Many kids recall floating along the canal, traveling to its end, then getting out to go again. City of Botany Bay Library & Museum 
A fishing village used to exist in Botany around Booralee, Luland, Hale and Bay Streets. It formed in the 1840s and continued to thrive well into the 1930s. In the following decades however, a number of alterations to the Bay severely impacted the fishermen’s livelihoods. Its last fishermen left in the 1970s. City of Botany Bay Library & Museum  

 

Homes of the southern side of Dent Street, often saw their backyards flooded during king tides, 1930
City of Botany Bay Library & Museum

 

Even in the 1950s, after the reclamation of land behind Dent Street,the waves of Botany Bay continued to erode the area.
City of Botany Bay Library & Museum

 

In the 1970s, Nancy Hillier OAM organized resident protests against the development of Port.Botany. Though they could not stop the port’s construction, they did help prevent aspects of the complex such as the proposed coal loader.
Nancy Hillier Archives, City of Botany Bay Library & Museum 

 

Artists impression of Port Botany’s Expansion, 2006. This expansion which will be completed soon will increase the port’s number of berths from 6 to 11.
Courtesy of Sydney Ports

 

 

 

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