18 July 2023

Honouring the heritage of Hill 60 with new upgrades planned for the Port Kembla site

| Keeli Royle
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Artist impression of new deck at lookout site

Wollongong City Council is seeking community feedback on new works planned for Hill 60. This is a digitally manipulated image showing the current site blended with Wollongong City Council’s artist’s impression of the new site. Photo: Keeli Royle.

It’s been eight years since Wollongong City Council adopted the Masterplan for Hill 60 and now the approvals are finally in place to start work on the heritage-listed site.

Plans for the first stage of major upgrades, which include improved access to the area and a new expansive viewing platform, have been shared with the community for feedback, with work expected to begin next year.

Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said the council had decided to develop the masterplan after the site was put on the NSW Heritage Register, with the plan finalised in 2015.

But due to the site’s significance, two separate heritage approvals were required before the full program of works could begin.

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“It’s important we got the plan right, and now with a range of approvals in place, we’re able to start phased works on improvements to the area that will protect its significant heritage values while also making the area better for those who visit,” Cr Bradbery said.

In recent years, the carpark at MM Beach has been upgraded, outdoor fitness equipment installed, tree features planted and the access ramp at Fishermans Beach rebuilt.

But there has also been investment to recognise the area’s Aboriginal and military significance, such as the Eye on the Horizon public artwork and the steel sculptural work Magari in the lower carpark area. It was funded by the Australian Government under the Saluting Their Service Commemorative Grants Program.


The Eye on the Horizon sculpture at Hill 60 reflects the investment to recognise the area’s Aboriginal and military significance. Photo: Keeli Royle.

“This area is an important site for the Aboriginal community, and council has been working closely for some time with representatives from the community to ensure the proposed works are in keeping with the site’s cultural values and long history,” Wollongong City Council general manager Greg Doyle said.

He said the upgrades were important to improve the venue’s safety, and the council wanted to provide visitors with the opportunity to learn more about the history of the site.

READ ALSO Whale sculpture tells story of Dharawal people’s cultural connection to Windang Island

“This is why the viewing area will feature interpretive artwork that celebrates the site’s rich Aboriginal heritage as well as artwork that recognises the site’s military history,” Mr Doyle said. “We’re looking to raise awareness and the profile of the site’s shared history and values.”

However, another important part of Hill 60’s history appears to be still on the backburner, with the old military tunnels closed off to the public.

Graffitied old military tunnel

The military tunnels at Hill 60 are yet to receive funding for upgrades. Photo: Keeli Royle.

The council has conducted assessments to ensure the tunnels are structurally safe, with stair access identified as a priority for future works, but according to information on the Our Wollongong website, there is no allocated budget for any upgrades.

“Wollongong City Council recognises the Hill 60 tunnels are a place of great historical significance,” a council spokesperson told Region.

”We’re investigating options to protect the tunnels and we will do this in consultation with the community.

“For now, the Hill 60 tunnels remain closed for safety reasons. We ask that people do not enter the tunnels.”

The community is invited to an online meeting on 18 July or an information session at Hill 60 on 22 July.

For more information or to have your say on the project, visit the Our Wollongong website.

Consultation closes on 31 July.

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