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Image credit: WOTSO photos via Mentor Media | Aerial image of the Barracks Precinct at North Head Sanctuary in Manly.

WOTSO FlexSpace opens at North Head Sanctuary, Manly

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3 min read
The Harbour Trust is delighted to welcome WOTSO, Australia’s largest co-working space operator, to scenic North Head Sanctuary, Manly. WOTSO recently took up residence in the Officers’ Mess in the Barracks Precinct – a charming former defence barracks, constructed in the Art Deco style, that predates the Second World War.

On Friday 21 April 2023, WOTSO officially opened its doors to their newest location in North Head Sanctuary, Manly. Daniel Sealey, Director of Planning at the Harbour Trust welcomed WOTSO to their new home.

WOTSO have gained a reputation for sympathetically repurposing historical buildings as vibrant co-working spaces. This has involved preserving the architectural heritage of their venues while providing businesses and entrepreneurs with access to modern amenities. The Officers’ Mess is no exception to this approach.

At North Head Sanctuary, WOTSO have established a collaborative environment that nurtures productivity and creativity. Open 24 hours a day, WOTSO Manly - North Head features 180 desks, internet, shared kitchen facilities and even a coffee cart. In addition to the Officers’ Mess, WOTSO also occupy the smaller neighbouring building, the Officers’ Mess Annexe (c. 1955-1961).

‘The Officers’ Mess is buzzing with life and provides a place where small businesses and start-ups can flourish – which is something we all stand to benefit from,’ said Daniel Sealey, Director of Planning at the Harbour Trust.

‘And, of course, WOTSO have not only refurbished this building, they’ve also done the same for the Officers Mess Annexe. Further, they have plans for outdoor recreation in the adjoining lawn area, and have completed a new footpath along the roadway – improvements we will all be able to enjoy.’

Constructed in 1937, the Officers’ Mess was part of a broader defence complex at North Head Sanctuary that also included gun emplacements as well as underground tunnels and facilities. Due to its location at the harbour’s entrance, North Head played a crucial role in the defence of Sydney during the Second World War. Subsequently, the Officers’ Mess was used by the Army school of Artillery, which operated at North Head from 1946 to 1998.

‘We are thrilled to open our doors to WOTSO Manly - North Head,’ said Jessica Glew, Joint Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of WOTSO.

‘We love taking over buildings and repurposing them to give them a new life and purpose. As a “work close to home” solution, North Head is the perfect location for WOTSO as it is close to many homes of our members, yet feels far away from the hustle and bustle of the outside world.’

‘At WOTSO, we believe in creating spaces that promote productivity and creativity,’ stated Tim Brown, Joint Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer of WOTSO. ‘We've designed WOTSO Manly-North Head with these values in mind, ensuring that our members can work in a peaceful and inspiring environment that promotes well-being and productivity.’

With its picturesque surroundings and rich historical background, the Officers’ Mess building at North Head Sanctuary is set to provide WOTSO members with a unique and inspiring workspace. As WOTSO continues to expand its network of coworking spaces, the collaboration with the Harbour Trust at North Head Sanctuary represents a significant milestone in repurposing historical landmarks for contemporary work environments.


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Learn more about North Head Sanctuary, including it's history and our visitor experience.