A tea house, moon gate and waterfall feature will be installed in Wollongong's Botanic Garden, as part of a new Chinese Friendship Garden which will take shape over the next two years.
Celebrating a 20 year "sister city" relationship between Wollongong and Longyan, the garden will be a gift funded by the Chinese city.
On Tuesday, dignitaries from Longyan joined with Wollongong council delegates in the gardens to plant a Chinese native Yew Tree and mark the beginning of the friendship garden project.
It will be located along the "middle creek" section of the Botanic Garden, near the Japanese bridge which was donated to Wollongong in 1993 in recognition a sister city relationship with Kawasaki.
While details will be finalised during community consultation next year, the council's environment conservation manager Vanni De Luca said it was envisaged that there would be sculptures, a stone bridge entryway and a Chinese tea house.
"We don't want to change the overall theme of middle creek, so the structure of the trees, the vegetation and the intimate nature of the space wont' change, but we'll embellish it with a Chinese flavour," he said. "The entryway will be a stone bridge over the creek, which has been chosen because of the Feng Shui principle that means you always move through the space to the north and against a flow of the creek."
"Then there will be a moon gate that delineates the end of the garden."
He said the existing concrete drains - which he jokingly termed a "municipal style waterfall" - would be hopefully transformed into a grotto-style waterfall feature.
Plain concrete pavers would be embellished with Chinese artworks, and a tea house structure proposed to be installed on a garden bank at the edge of the river would be able to host cultural activities like meditation, poetry readings or calligraphy lessons, he said.
Mr De Luca said the various elements would be installed progressively from 2021, as funding becomes available from Longyan.
Director of Infrastructure and Works, Andrew Carfield said the middle creek area had been identified as the best location for the new cultural feature.
"This is a really appropriate part of the city, because of it's location between the university and the city," he said.
"We have a Botanic Garden master plan and this has been identified as part of that, but the design itself is still being worked on and all the people who are very passionate about the garden will be able to have input."