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Precious Environments

Our harbour gems are rich in heritage value, with distinctive buildings and artefacts from bygone eras.

Likewise, many contain delicate ecosystems comprised of rare and endangered native flora and fauna. As such, we undertake works to protect our precious natural and built environments and ensure they are safe and enjoyable for the public.

Distinctive Heritage Buildings

Our extraordinary places host distinctive buildings, rich in heritage value. For example, the former military hospital at Mosman, Cockatoo Island’s cathedral-like Turbine Hall and Australia’s oldest Lighthouse – Macquarie Lighthouse in Vaucluse. These structures are living examples of Sydney’s past, and contribute immeasurably to the city’s identity and visitor economy.

As advocates for adaptive reuse, we work to ensure their continual existence through a program of conservation works. 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 Bygone Eras

Our Volunteer Restoration Team have been instrumental in maintaining the historic integrity of our extraordinary places. Their many feats include 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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