For 20 years (and counting), we’ve sought to leave a legacy for all Australians by collaborating with passionate communities and firmly weaving our visitor destinations into Sydney’s cultural fabric.
Our 20th anniversary celebrations will commence on 20 March to commemorate the date when our founding legislation was presented to Parliament. From 20 to 29 March, the community can enjoy Rediscovery Days: a program of FREE tours and talks – plus special events and promotions by our tenants – that showcase the natural and heritage values of our protected sites. Our 20th anniversary celebrations will culminate in September, to commemorate when the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust 2001 was proclaimed.
Discover some of the great activities you can enjoy across our heritage sites on Sydney Harbour…
Our 20 Things to Do blog provides hot tips for enjoying our network of heritage destinations including Cockatoo Island, North Head Sanctuary, Headland Park, Sub Base Platypus, Woolwich Dock and Parklands, Macquarie Lightstation. Unable to make it to one of our sites? Don’t worry – the blog includes recommendations for exploring their stories online.
Throughout 2021 we’ll release a series of commemorative DigiTales. Authored by public figures and community advocates, as well as veteran staff and volunteer, these articles will capture the passionate dedication our beloved sites inspire.
In the 20 years since the Harbour Trust was established, our heritage sites have emerged as rich sources of intrigue and exploration, beloved by many Australians. For their contribution, we owe a debt of gratitude to the hundreds of volunteers who have generously shared their time, knowledge and passion. In this DigiTale, veteran volunteer Sandra Hall reflects on her journey with the Harbour Trust and celebrates the diversity of our volunteer team.
"I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have served as Harbour Trust Volunteer Manager since 2003 and have witnessed or played a part in a number of great initiatives. Many of these undertakings would not have been possible without our amazing team of volunteers. The Harbour Trust has benefitted greatly from their unique perspectives, special skillsets and length of service. This DigiTale shares the stories of some of the volunteers we’ve been privileged to work with." – Volunteer Manager
Between 20 and 29 March, you can join in our 20th celebrations by attending a free tour or talk. Plus, there will be special events and offers, courtesy of our tenants...
When: Open Studios Day postponed to Saturday 27 March (10am to 4pm), Landship Exhibition running until 3 April | Cost: FREE
Eager to get ‘art’ and about? The Headland Artists are hosting their biannual Open Studios Day and Landship Exhibition at Georges Heights, Mosman. The Open Studios Day is being held at the Headland Park Artist Precinct between 10am and 4pm on Saturday 27 March. It's an opportunity to meet (and purchase works from) talented artists who work out of heritage buildings, repurposed as studio spaces. Plus, you'll enjoy jazz by Mary Queen of Sax and Co. During your visit, head to the nearby Landship Gallery for an exhibition celebrating the Harbour Trust's 20th anniversary. The exhibition is running daily, from 10am to 4pm, until Easter Saturday (3 April).
When: Postponed to 2pm Saturday 10 April | Duration: 2 hours 30 mins
The Marina Café & Bar invites you to chill out with singer-songwriter Nicola Da Sensi at Cockatoo Island on Sunday 21 March. The Sydney-based artist will perform at Marina’s waterfront beer garden from 2pm to 4:30pm. Enjoy a sundowner and a pizza as you gaze across Sydney Harbour and get drawn into songs that draw on pop and R&B.
When: 1pm, Wednesday 24 March | Duration: 60 mins | Cost: FREE
Australia’s Memorial Walk is a paved pathway at North Fort in Manly inscribed with the names of servicemen and women who defended Australia in peace time and war. This talk will pay tribute to units, families and individuals (including Vitoria Cross recipients) commemorated in this beautiful memorial. You’ll hear stories of sacrifices made on the front line, incredible acts of bravery and more.
Note: Miss out on this DigiTalk? Register to attend our next DigiTalk on 14 April. Guest presenter Sarah Luke will discuss the research that fuelled her new book delving into the industrial school era of Cockatoo Island: 'Like a Wicked Noah’s Ark: The Nautical School Ships Vernon & Sobraon'.
When: 10:30am, Friday 26 March | Duration: 90 mins | Cost: Free
Cockatoo Island has a remarkable history as a shipbuilding and ship repair facility, contributing significantly to Australia’s maritime affairs between 1857 and 1991. Join John Jeremy, the final CEO of Cockatoo Dockyard Pty Ltd, on this special journey through 134 years of maritime history at Cockatoo Island.
Note: Miss out on this tour? Watch our new video, Shipyard Stories: The Maritime History of Cockatoo Island featuring John Jeremy.
When: 1pm, Saturday 27 March | Duration: 60 mins | Cost: FREE
This brand new, all-ages tour is an accessible tour on the lower island. This is an opportunity to learn about the crucial role the Cockatoo Island Dockyard played in the Allied war effort of World War II. You will visit the Dockyard precinct, including the Fitzroy and Sutherland Docks, as well as the Slipways.
Note: Miss out on free tickets for the World War II Shipyard Tour? You can still purchase tickets for the regularly scheduled tour. Tickets are available from $16.
When: 11:30pm, Sunday 28 March | Duration: 90 mins | Cost: FREE
As you explore lower Cockatoo Island, including the cathedral-like Turbine Shop and convict-built Fitzroy Dock, our knowledgeable guide will share stories and anecdotes that paint a vivid picture of the island throughout the ages. This tour is suitable for groups with less mobile members.
Note: Miss out on free tickets for the Lower Island Tour? You can still purchase tickets for the regularly scheduled tour. Tickets are available from $16.
When: 10:45 am, Saturday 27 March | Duration: 90 mins | Cost: FREE
Journey through the history of a historic gasworks, torpedo factory and submarine base in North Sydney with our Sub Base Platypus Walking Tour. As you explore this emerging community hub, you’ll learn about its First Nation, industrial and military heritage, including remnant buildings form different eras.
Note: Miss out on free tickets for the Sub Base Platypus Tour? You can still purchase tickets for the regularly scheduled tour. Tickets are available from $16.
When: 10:30am, 11:30am, 1pm and 2pm on 21/28 March PLUS 10:30am on 23 March | Duration: 90 mins | Cost: FREE
The Defence of Sydney Tour is an opportunity to walk in the footsteps of the men and women who served at North Fort, a former army base that once protected Sydney Harbour. Accompanied by a knowledgeable guide, you will marvel at heritage gun emplacements and descend into the 200-metre-long military tunnel complex. Finally, our guide will demystify an underground bunker once shrouded in secrecy: The Plotting Room.
Note: Miss out on free tickets for the Defence of Sydney Tour? You can still purchase tickets for the regularly scheduled tour. Tickets are available from $8.
When: 10:45am, Monday 22 March and Wednesday 24 March| Duration: 90 mins | Cost: FREE
During our Tunnels and Gunners Tour, an experienced volunteer guide will lead you through two sets of demilitarised fortifications, dating back to the 1870s. The tour is an opportunity to discover the stunning coastal bushland at Georges Heights in Mosman, and access tunnels off limits to the general public.
Note: Miss out on free tickets for the Tunnels and Gunners Tour? You can still purchase tickets for the regularly scheduled tour. Tickets are available from $8.
When: 11:30am, Saturday 27 March | Duration: 90 mins | Cost: FREE
This all-ages tour will introduce you to a line-up of brave, foolhardy and desperate convicts who dared to escape Cockatoo Island’s penal establishment (1839-69). As you explore the island, you’ll hear about successful and ill-fated escape attempts involving disguises, sewers, shark-infested waters, stolen boats and a volley of bullets.
Note: Miss out on free tickets for the Convict Escape Attempts Tour? It is still available as a private group tour. Tickets are available from $16.
When: 11:30am, Sunday 28 March | Duration: 90 mins | Cost: FREE
Want a crash course in Cockatoo Island's storied history? Book tickets for Sandstone to Steel. This all-ages tour charts the changing face of Cockatoo Island. As you visit key landmarks, our guide will reveal how they fit into the island’s historical narrative. They will also share anecdotes about a colourful cast of real-life characters.
Note: Miss out on free tickets for the Sandstone to Steel Tour? It is still available as a private group tour. Tickets are available from $16.
When: 10:30am, Thursday 25 March | Duration: 60 mins | Cost: FREE
Join us for a special tour on the history and heritage value of Cockatoo Island’s convict era solitary confinement cells. Harbour Trust heritage architect, Libby Bennett, will discuss the archaeological excavation works, which commenced in 2009 and unearthed the island’s solitary confinement cells, hidden beneath the historic cookhouse for more than 100 years.
When: Offer valid for bookings between Monday 22 March and Friday 26 March
For five days only, the Deckhouse at Woolwich Dock are offering diners a free glass of Wild Oats wine (White, Rose, Red) with every main course. To take advantage of this special offer, mention ‘Harbour Trust 20 Year Celebration’ when making a reservation at the waterfront restaurant and café.
When: 11:30am to 1pm and 2pm to 3:30pm, Saturday 27 March | Cost: $80 per person
Attention budding chocolatiers: The Sydney Chocolate School at Middle Head, Mosman are hosting a series of chocolate making classes in March as part of our Rediscovery Days program. Learn the traditional French technique of hand tempering chocolate on marble and leave the class with not only an understanding of the artistry of chocolate… but with your hand-made cocoa-filled delights to enjoy at home.
When: 10:30am, Monday 29 March | Duration: 90 mins | Cost: FREE
Go behind the scenes of Cockatoo Island’s dedicated volunteer workshop where a skilled team works to restore the heritage of the island’s once thriving shipyard. Accompanied by the workshop supervisor, you’ll see steam and electric cranes that have been restored to working order. You’ll also hear about projects currently underway, including the restoration of the No. 1 Travelling Steam Crane.
When: Offer valid from 20 to 29 March | Cost: Free
Looking to optimise your sense of ease and wellbeing? Book a free postural assessment for yourself (or your friends and family) with Sunrise Osteopathy, set within parkland at Georges Heights, Mosman. Be quick – this offer is only valid between 20 and 29 March. To book your free assessment, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking to visit or extend your knowledge of our heritage destinations? Here are some useful links…