Council to spend $80,000 fixing map of Australia at Lawson

Blue Mountains City Council is taking a first step in putting a treasured water feature in Lawson back on the map.

The large scale, contoured concrete 'Map of Australia' feature built in Wilson Park in 1932 by Frank Higgison - complete with water channels and ornamental wooden bridge - is collapsing due to a lack of maintenance.

But at a council meeting on Tuesday night (November 10), councillors voted in favour of staff recommendations to spend $80,000 to start urgent stabilisation work to replace the bridge's footings, clear silt and repair weir structures.

Clr Romola Hollywood welcomed the move and noted its timing - during a period when council faced financial constraints - was recognition of the site's importance, heritage value and uniqueness.

She went so far to remark "it's Lawson's own version of Monet's bridge!"

Clr Annette Bennett said she was thrilled money has been made available to start remediation work "which will, in essence, save the bridge”.

"It is a Lawson icon - in the picture taken on its opening day [in 1932] you can just see what it meant to the community," Clr Bennett said.

Mayor Mark Greenhill said: "This is a piece of our history and if you don't fix things like this, you lose them."

Liz Benson from Friends of Wilson Park told councillors if urgent repairs were not made, even if only interim measures were adopted, "the historical nature of it is going to be ruined”.

"The bridge is completely eroded and hanging on by a thread - how, I don't know."

Glimpse of the past: The map of Australia at Lawson in its heyday. The council has allocated $80,000 to start stabilisation works at the site.

Glimpse of the past: The map of Australia at Lawson in its heyday. The council has allocated $80,000 to start stabilisation works at the site.

Ray Richardson, another member of the group, said: "I know some members of the public are a little impatient, but it's terrific to see it [the initial repairs] is coming to fruition.

"The map of Australia is unique and is worth preserving for that reason alone," Mr Richardson said.

Work will start later this month and take up to five weeks to complete.

After that, council will prepare a conservation management plan for the site which will include options for further restoration and maintenance and also nominate the site to be put on the State Heritage Register.

The map of Australia in Lawson today.

The map of Australia in Lawson today.

The Map of Australia in Lawson: Clrs Romola Hollywood and Annette Bennett with members of the Friends of Wilson Park.

The Map of Australia in Lawson: Clrs Romola Hollywood and Annette Bennett with members of the Friends of Wilson Park.

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