Brett Leavy, team leader for the Virtual Warrane II exhibitions of Sydney Cove before the arrival of the British First Fleet in 1788.

CITY INFORMATION MODELLING | An Australian team of environmental modellers and sound artists, led by Brisbane indigenous media strategist Brett Leavy and Sydney cultural centre director Jennifer Kwok, has updated its original 2008 contribution to the Virtual Nations (historical environments) vision. Originally launched as an exhibition at the City of Sydney Customs House in mid-2008, the Virtual Warrane II project was re-launched there in July 2012, with substantially upgraded simulations of original vegetation species, original sandstone shorelines, the Tank Stream which flowed along what is now Pitt Street, fishing in bark canoes and even ghostly wireframe silhouettes of the present-day Opera House and Circular Quay skyline of towers. Using a ‘mashup’ of commercial modelling systems, Brett Leavy collaborated with other digital artists in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne to develop a ‘Sacred Tracks of the Gadigal’ theme. Said Leavy: ‘This is my artistic impression of what Sydney might have been like before the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788. It provides users with immersive heritage experiences with the traditional owners of the land.

Modelling of a Gadigal tribe’s campsite on the pre-colonised land around Sydney Harbour.

‘The concrete of this city was built upon a place that, for the Gadigal people and their neighbours, held a deep spiritual connection that continues to the present day.’ As Customs House Director, Jennifer Kwok curated both the original and latest Virtual Warrane multimedia exhibitions, with a creative team including Leavy, Real Serious Games, photographer Peter Murphy, Graffix Garage, BIMA Vision and Wax Sound Media.

Immersive Heritage modelling of pre-European Circular Quay with wireframes of contemporary buildings. By Brett Leavy/Real Serious Games.