Yurong Water Garden

Related to City Art
Installed 1999
A water garden artwork set within three levels of gardens surrounded by large trees

An environmental artwork inspired by the original Yurong creek cascades over 3 levels of gardens.

Artist: Anita Glesta 

Artwork description

The Yurong Water Garden is an environmental artwork by Anita Glesta, in Cook and Phillip Park in the city centre. It's inspired by Yurong Creek, which ran from this area to Woolloomooloo more than a century ago. The artwork follows the course of the original creek.

Locally sourced water and sandstone make up the artwork. The water channel is formed from large, rough-hewn sandstone blocks and recycled pavers – the original foundation stones of the park.

The simplicity and scale of the artwork has been designed to work in balance with the detail and grandeur of St Mary’s Cathedral, which sits above the gardens.

Water runs through 3 levels of landscaped gardens and each terrace features rocks in shapes and forms that echo and repeat from level to level.

On the highest level, the source fountain seeps from hidden pipes through small holes in the rocks and drips into the channel below. It's carried down to the second level and flows through a series of sunken troughs, where hydraulics stir the water into waves.

The final level sees the water emptied through an underground pipe into a reflection pool.

Glesta designed the Yurong Water Garden to be interactive. The rocks are in human scale and have been deliberately placed to encourage visitors to use them for sitting, climbing and rest.

Yurong Water Garden was commissioned as part of a major redevelopment of Cook and Phillip Park and was completed in July 1999. It was created in collaboration with Elizabeth Mossop of Spackman & Mossop Landscape Architects, who integrated the installation into the overall landscape design.


Anita Glesta studied at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Before moving to Sydney in 1994, she exhibited her work in galleries and museums in New York.

During her time in Australia, she taught at the Sydney College of the Arts and the University of NSW and showed her work throughout Sydney. 

Her public commissions include City of Sydney projects for Wynyard and Lang parks, and sculptures for the Mount Annan Botanic Gardens and Rushcutters Bay.

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