Parramatta Park Dairy Precinct

Weaving stories in a Word Heritage-listed landscape and one of Australia's oldest European structures

Parramatta Park Trust

After a year-long period of research, including stakeholder and industry expert consultation, Trigger co-authored an Interpretation Strategy and designed a suite of innovative interpretives to revitalise the visitor experience for World Heritage-listed Parramatta Park’s Dairy Precinct. Significantly, the precinct contains one of Australia’s oldest European structures.

One of the project’s key objectives was to convey stories and histories that speak to the themes and World Heritage status of the park in a way that stimulates and engages diverse contemporary audiences. The spirit of historic structures and the landscape is evoked through integration of architectural heritage, archaeology, object display and sensory technology.

Touch screens function as interactive windows to displayed objects - bringing them to life.

This project received a special commendation at the Australian Interior Design Awards, Installation Category, 2017.

Throughout all interiors the curatorial and design intention was to reveal layers, which were added to over time. A room in the Rangers Cottage presents the entwined stories of the historic Sunken Dairy, discovered beneath a bedroom in the cottage in the 20th century, and the lives of the many Rangers and their families who cared for the Park.

The project includes interior interpretation design encompassing: object displays, AV, digital and sympathetic, and a dramatic lighting strategy for the whole site. Display cases, object displays, touch screen interactives and soundscape interactives can be refreshed over time so that the experience evolves and continues to reflect changing visitor requirements.

One of the challenges was to ensure that the significance of the site was not impacted and that all work was reversible. Creating a new experience with these constraints and conditions required a thoughtful and innovative design approach.

World-class heritage practice is showcased by an innovative design approach that serves to enhance architectural features, avoid clichéd ‘rustic’ overtones, and minimise intrusion on heritage fabric.

Each room in the Dairy Cottage features a display of object which were uncovered beneath the floor boards. These fragments have been collected and displayed grouped into the thematic structure that we developed for the precinct in the preceding Interpretation Strategy.

Subtle lighting illuminates the textures, layers and richness of the Dairy Cottage walls. Fragments of text taken from primary sources of those who once lived here are embedded in the illumination rails.

Projections on the floors of the Rangers Cottage tell the stories of eccentric Rangers who dwelled in this place.

The interpretive approach addresses the landscape through a range of interpretive interventions: discoverable interpretive panels, which integrate sensitively with existing fabric, and soundscapes.

Trigger created an interpretive design sub-brand which responded to the Park’s recent overarching rebrand. We liaised with the Trust’s brand/marketing teams to ensure understanding, cohesion and ownership. This sub-brand was designed for site-wide application, incorporating a flexible design language that addresses both the ‘rural’ and ‘regal’ characteristics of the park.