The iconic Chinese Garden of Friendship at Darling Harbour is to be heritage listed as the community comes together to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its opening.

NSW Heritage Minister Gabrielle Upton said the garden was the first Cantonese-style garden in NSW, developed co-operatively between Sydney’s Chinese communities and experts in Guangdong.

“The Garden turns 30 this year, and what better way to mark this magnificent event than to recognise something that is both a symbol of international understanding and a welcome retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city,” Ms Upton said.

“It’s the blending of Southern or Cantonese design and elements from Guangdong with building and plant materials from Australia which produces a historically unique garden here in the heart of Sydney.”


The Chinese Garden of Friendship are said to represent a thousand years of living traditions of formal garden design and horticultural practices in China. It has been the site of many cultural exchanges between Australia and China over the years.

In 2014, Guangdong Governor Zhu Xiaodan and NSW Premier Mike Baird participated in a tree planting ceremony to mark the 35th anniversary of the Sister State Relationship.

Minister for Finance, Services and Property Victor Dominello said the ongoing popularity of the Garden was a source of great pride for members of the local Chinese community.

“Today is a momentous occasion and I especially want to acknowledge the local Australian Chinese community for their dedication to the preservation of this site and the cultural ties it underpins,” Mr Dominello said.

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“Achieving State Heritage Register status is a major milestone which will help to ensure the Garden can continue to be a place of quiet reflection and tranquillity as well as a cultural landmark for many years to come.”

The garden showcases a collection of miniature penjing landscapes, cultivated in Sydney and featuring indigenous plant species, such as the Port Jackson fig. Architectural items such as timber tracery screens and pavilions provide an expression of Chinoiserie: east-west design.

This year marks the 30th, or Pearl anniversary, of the opening of the Garden in Australia’s Bicentennial in 1988.