Little Bay is the site of the last remaining deposit in Sydney of Miocene clay and ochre (a sacred clay used by Aboriginal people for traditional body painting), so the project required careful planning and utmost care on the location.

“The Paleo Valley staircase is a key piece of pedestrian infrastructure and it allows pedestrians to descend six metres from the top of the site to the bottom,” said McGregor Coxall Managing Director Adrian McGregor. “It also spans very delicately across some existing Miocene geology which is very ancient, and the Aboriginal ochre which is used for ceremonial purposes by the local Aboriginal community for special events and ceremonies. They’re very soft and very ancient geologies so the stair allows pedestrians to traverse over the top without the risk of harm.”

All three elements – the stairs, bridge and boardwalk – were constructed from full steel and painted in a marine grade coat system. This ensured the finished product was of the highest quality and capable of resisting the environmental challenges of the coastal setting.

The curved boardwalk, which is more than 100m long, was also panelled along its full length with approximately 1000 recycled railway sleepers made from a mixture of Australian hardwoods. The stunning timber finish allows the new boardwalk to blend with the natural environment in which it sits, and is yet another example of the sort of thoughtful and attractive design for which Fleetwood has become known to collaborate on.

To ensure absolute sensitivity towards the site, the Fleetwood team processed and pre-assembled all of the elements off site to ensure they were perfect before our rigging and carpentry teams proceeded with installation.

This project gave Fleetwood Urban the opportunity to display our flair for problem solving as well as our passion for attractive, efficient and lasting design. It was also another opportunity for successful collaboration, this time with project owner CIP as well as McGregor Coxall.

“Fleetwood solves problems for us,” said McGregor. “We get fast and honest feedback. Their rapid response enables us to design faster and more efficiently. When we’re testing options and we’re pushing the boundary, we want to get that feedback that enables us to have those discussions. So rather than closing doors, we find that the feedback is such that it allows us to deliver robust and great design.”