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Heritage Environments

Our protected places are rich in natural and cultural heritage.

They contain delicate ecosystems comprised of rare and endangered native flora and fauna and some carry Commonwealth, National and World Heritage listings. We undertake works to protect our precious natural and built environments and ensure they are safe and enjoyable for the public.

Heritage Buildings

The former military hospital at Mosman, Cockatoo Island’s cathedral-like Turbine Hall and Australia’s oldest Lighthouse, Macquarie Lighthouse in Vaucluse, are prominent examples of the heritage buildings that exist on our lands. These structures, and others under our protection, are living examples of Sydney’s past and through their adaptive reuse, they contribute to the city’s identity and visitor economy.

Across our sites, we have renewed many important heritage buildings. One of our success stories is the revitalisation of Chowder Bay’s Submarine Miner’s Depot. When we took control of the 19th century building, it was rundown due to water damage, neglect and ad hoc alterations. Our repairs included rectifying renovations that had obscured the original aesthetic and upgrading amenities. Sympathetically repurposed as a waterfront restaurant, it is now a popular visitor spot. Ultimately, by protecting our built heritage, we’re preserving their stories for new generations.

Relics from the past

Our Volunteer Restoration Team play a significant role in revealing the stories and heritage values of our sites This includes the restoration of vintage steam cranes, which were installed at Cockatoo Island more than a century ago. Today, the Harbour Trust schedules free demonstrations of the island’s Mort’s Dock and No. 2 Travelling cranes, allowing the public to witness these metal behemoths in all their steam-powered glory.

Meanwhile, the restoration of North Fort – a former army base accessible to the public as part of a regular guided tour – has been ongoing for several years. Most recently, 18 specialist volunteers restored the underground engine room, which powered gun emplacements during World War II. Now, work is underway to restore the fort’s underground plotting room. In this way, our volunteers are not only working hard to preserve the fort’s defence history, they are also enhancing the guided tour experience for visitors.

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