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Clerk of Petty Sessions Cottage, Cockatoo Island.

Update: Major works underway to improve the amenity of Harbour Trust destinations

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The Harbour Trust continues to carry out significant works to enhance the amenity of its extraordinary places on Sydney Harbour and ensure they remain safe, accessible and enjoyable.

These works include the refurbishment of historic buildings, repairs to marine structures and enhancements to a major public passageway. These undertakings are part of a broader program of repairs and maintenance, which will continue into early 2024.

Remember: Before visiting any of our destinations, check the relevant visitor webpage for disruptions that may impact your experience. Read on to learn about key works currently underway.

[Note: This story was originally published on 31 May 2023 and was updated on 24 November 2023 and 24 January 2024 to reflect the progress of the works referenced.]

Works at Cockatoo Island / Wareamah

At Cockatoo Island / Wareamah, the Harbour Trust is taking steps to reopen Tunnel 1 (also known as the ‘Straight Tunnel’), which has been closed for structural review since June 2020. Specifically, shipping containers will be inserted into the tunnel, lining it, so that visitors have a safe passageway between the waterfront campground on the northern apron and the Docks Precinct on the southern apron. Once installed, the containers will also be used as a shelter for visitors and staff during emergencies or inclement weather.

[Update (6/05/2024): Following the successful completion of the Tunnel 1 re-lining project on Cockatoo Island / Wareamah, the Harbour Trust reopened the tunnel for public access on 28 March 2024. The containers will remain in place until more permanent steps can be taken to repair the inner lining of the tunnel. Read more here.]

Meanwhile, on the upper island, the Harbour Trust is undertaking conservation works on two historic buildings to enable their future use as short-term heritage accommodation. Buildings 9 and 20 date to the island’s turbulent convict era (1839-1869) and both were constructed by prisoners, using sandstone quarried on site. Building 20 (c. 1845-50) was a cottage for the clerk of petty sessions while Building 9 (c. 1857-57) served as quarters for the free overseer. It is anticipated the conservation works will be complete by April 2024.

The Harbour Trust is also repairing additional buildings on the lower island, to prevent further degradation of their heritage value. Namely, the Powerhouse and the adjoining Rectifier Room (buildings 57 and 58), the General Offices (building 123) and the Naval Store (building 124). These works will be completed by December 2023.

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Works at North Head Sanctuary, Manly

At North Head Sanctuary in Manly, the Harbour Trust is refurbishing Building 17, also known as the Artillery Gym, for new uses. Historically, this building was a recreational facility for gunners stationed with the Army School of Artillery, which operated at North Head from 1946 to 1998.

[Update (24/11/2023): It is anticipated the works will be complete by February 2024.]

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Works at Chowder Bay / Gooree, Mosman

At Chowder Bay / Gooree in Mosman, the Harbour Trust is performing structural repairs on the wharf and slipway, with the aim of reopening both structures to the public. Further, major work is underway to stabilise a section of cliff near the Chowder Bay Road roundabout in the wake of a landslip caused by a major weather event in February 2022.

[Update (24/11/2023): The landslip repairs were successfully completed in October 2023.]

[Update 24/01/2024): The work to repair the wharf is now scheduled to take place between February and mid-May 2024 subject to the findings from technical surveys and site conditions. To limit the disruption to residents and businesses around the site, the working hours will be strictly limited to between 7am and 3:30pm Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays.

Due to the nature of the work required to carry out the repairs, there will be times when noise will be unavoidable, particularly when replacing piles anchored to the seabed. The Harbour Trust will ensure that any noise is kept to a minimum.

Access to the immediate area around the site will be restricted, including by water. There may be times where it is necessary to disrupt traffic along Chowder Bay Road. The Harbour Trust is working with NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service to limit any disruption through the development of a detailed traffic management plan.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Harbour Trust Engagement team via email:]

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Helpful links

Learn more about the Harbour Trust and our visitor destinations.