Skip to main content

Revitalising Rhodes: breathing new life into community spaces

Council | 01 July 2024

In June 2024 the City of Canada Bay celebrated the completion of its Under the Bridges in Rhodes Project, funded by the NSW Government.

The project spanned over 12 months, focusing on three locations in Rhodes: John Whitton Reserve under John Whitton Bridge, Uhrs Point Reserve beside Ryde Bridge, and the eastern abutment under Bennelong Bridge.

In response to community feedback, the City of Canada Bay secured $100,000 of funding from the NSW Government’s Graffiti Management Grant to improve and activate these spaces for the community to use, helping to increase confidence in community safety and prevent vandalism and antisocial behaviour.

“The Under the Bridges in Rhodes Project has seen three under-utilised public areas become vibrant and welcoming places where our community can gather together,” City of Canada Bay Mayor Michael Megna said.

“The project is an example of creative problem-solving that harnessed the power of our community, drawing on their ideas and creativity to breathe new life into these spaces.”

The project kicked off in April 2023 with community night walks at each location to gather feedback and brainstorm ideas with stakeholders.

Over the following months the areas received upgrades including improved lighting, new seating, engaging art installations, and more. This project enabled new events and experiences at these sites. Highlights included:

DJ Nights by the Bridge
In late 2023 John Whitton Reserve was brought to life at night with live music, roving performances, family activities, food stalls and street games. Over 4,000 people from Rhodes and neighbouring suburbs enjoyed the event over two nights, bringing to life the vision of an all-inclusive, safe, vibrant and entertaining meeting place.

Infinity Goes Outdoors
In September 2023 a unique digital exhibition was hosted beneath Bennelong Bridge. A pier of the bridge was used as a canvas, with Infinity by Si Yi Shen projected onto the blank wall. The digital art projection explored Shen’s diasporic experience and sense of belonging and intrigued passersby as they walked along the foreshore.

A key element of the Under the Bridges in Rhodes Project was the use of public art. In addition to community mural workshops hosted in partnership with One Wall, two key artworks by First Nations artists were commissioned.

Confluence by David Cragg depicts local flora and fauna wrapped around bollards and benches under John Whitton Bridge and beside Ryde Bridge. Among the concrete infrastructure the artwork showcases elements of the natural world which draw the eye and provide a continued connection to Country, Spirit and Beyond.

Mullet Festival by Madwings spans over 10-metres under Bennelong Bridge and is an acknowledgement of the Wangal people and a gathering that has taken place on the Parramatta River for thousands of years. This celebration of food, dance, song and tradition would bring neighbouring clans together for trading and sharing. This artwork tells the story of the historic gathering and reflects the diverse multicultural community who share and gather on the river today.

The unveiling of Mullet Festival at the end of May 2024 marked the completion of the Under the Bridges in Rhodes Project.

“The unveiling of this artwork marks the successful completion of a project that showcased the power of community and collaboration,” Mayor Megna said.

“Together we’ve created new, vibrant spaces that locals and visitors will be able to enjoy for years to come.”

Council | 01 July 2024