Nur­rag­ingy Re­serve: ‘The One’ for Mil­lions

Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - History - By Carmel Lid­dell

The re­serve’s name Nur­rag­ingy com­mem­o­rates one of the two Abo­rig­ines of the Dharug tribe who re­ceived the first land grant to na­tives from Gov­er­nor Mac­quarie in 1819. The other ti­tle holder was Cole­bee, whose name has been given to the Cen­tre within the re­serve. A paint­ing by lo­cal Abo­rig­i­nal artist Danny East­wood de­pict­ing this land grant, hangs in­side the Cole­bee Cen­tre.

The land, orig­i­nally part of the Cum­ber­land Tim­ber For­est, was purchased by the State Govern­ment in the 1970’s as green belt for the rapidly ex­pand­ing area of Western Syd­ney. In 1981, the N.S.W. Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Plan­ning leased a sec­tion of the land to Black­town Coun­cil as a recre­ational area. The coun­cil made this its ma­jor Bi­cen­ten­nial project and cre­ated a mag­nif­i­cent park.

At­tract­ing over one mil­lion vis­i­tors per year, the eighty three hectare bush­land set­ting has some­thing for ev­ery­one; pic­nic and bar­be­cue ar­eas; chil­dren's play­grounds; bush­walk­ing tracks; for­mal gar­dens and a pic­turesque lake- with ducks. The chil­dren’s splash park has a wind­mill, wa­ter wall spray foun­tain, jets, can­nons and bucket dumpers- all par­tially cov­ered by a sail shade. Too much ac­tiv­ity? Not to worry. Day trip­pers can head for a more peace­ful al­ter­na­tive, the Chang Lai Yuan Chi­nese Gar­dens.

The gar­dens were de­signed and con­structed in 2011 by Black­town City Coun­cil and the Liaocheng Mu­nic­i­pal Govern­ment in China, as a sym­bolic ges­ture of friend­ship be­tween the two Sis­ter Cities. They named it Chang Lai Yuan, a fu­sion of the for­mer name of the Chi­nese mu­nic­i­pal­ity Dongchang, and Bu Lai Ke Cheng, the Chi­nese trans­la­tion of Black­town. Opened in 2012, the au­then­tic Chi­nese Gar­dens in­clude wa­ter, (rep­re­sent­ing liv­ing and ever chang­ing na­ture) stones, ( for sta­bil­ity and strength) plants, (pro­vid­ing beauty) and ar­chi­tec­ture, (the pavil­ions and tea­houses). El­e­ments from the Ming and Qing Dy­nas­ties are ev­i­dent too, in the gar­den’s Gate­way, Seven Arch Stone Bridge, Light Moun­tain Pavil­ion and a Water­fall Gazebo. As a whole, the gar­dens ex­presses har­mony be­tween man and na­ture. How­ever, when viewed from each of its struc­tures, magic hap­pens: ob­servers see gar­dens within the gar­den, emerge like a col­lec­tion of Chi­nese land­scape paint­ings. The fa­cil­i­ties, com­bined with sea­sonal changes to its land­scape, make Nur­rang­ingy Re­serve ‘the one’ for mil­lions of park vis­i­tors, all year round.

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