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Cockatoo Island Management Plan 2017

Authoritative Version
Plans/Management of Sites & Species as made
This instrument is a heritage management plan for the World, National and Commonwealth Heritage values of Cockatoo Island, Sydney Harbour.
Administered by: Environment and Energy
Made 21 Dec 2017
Registered 23 Jan 2018
Tabled HR 05 Feb 2018
Tabled Senate 05 Feb 2018
Table of contents.

 

Cockatoo Island Management Plan 2017

 

I, JOSH FRYDENBERG, Minister for the Environment and Energy, acting pursuant to section 316(1) of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, hereby make the Cockatoo Island Management Plan 2017, to manage Cockatoo Island, a property that is included in the World Heritage List and is entirely within a Commonwealth Area.

I, DAVID WILLIAMS, Assistant Secretary, Heritage Branch, Heritage, Reef and Marine Division of the Department of the Environment and Energy, acting pursuant to section 324S(2) of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, hereby revoke the Cockatoo Island Management Plan 2010 and replace it with the Cockatoo Island Management Plan 2017, to protect and manage the National Heritage values of the National Heritage place, Cockatoo Island.

I, MARY DARWELL, Executive Director Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, acting pursuant to section 341S(2) of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, hereby revoke the Cockatoo Island Management Plan 2010 and replace it with the Cockatoo Island Management Plan 2017, to protect and manage the Commonwealth Heritage values of the Commonwealth Heritage place, Cockatoo Island.

This instrument commences on the day after it is registered.

JOSH FRYDENBERG

Dated   21 December 2017

DAVID WILLIAMS

Dated   14 December 2017

MARY DARWELL

Dated   3 November 2017


Title: Cover page of Management Plan - Cockatoo Island - Description: Cover page of Management Plan - Cockatoo Island. Aerial photograph of Cockatoo Island with Sydney Harbour Bridge in background. 


 



The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust acknowledges the development of this Cockatoo Island Management Plan by staff at the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, and is grateful to all those organisations and individuals who have contributed. A special thankyou is given to the members of the Community Advisory Committee and Friends of Cockatoo Island for assisting with the development of the Plan and for their invaluable comments and suggestions throughout the drafting period. Thank you also to the members of the community who attended information sessions or provided comment, and to the staff of the Department of the Environment and Energy, who made a valuable contribution to the preparation of the Plan.

 

Authors:

Staff of the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust

 

Main Consultant Providers:

Government Architect’s Office, NSW Department of Commerce

Godden Mackay Logan Pty Ltd

John Jeremy

 

For full list of consultants see Related Studies section of Plan

 

Copyright © Sydney Harbour Federation Trust 2017.

 

This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission from the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust. Requests and enquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be addressed to:

 

Director Marketing, Communications & Visitor Experience

Sydney Harbour Federation Trust

PO Box 607, Mosman, NSW 2088

 

or email info@harbourtrust.gov.au

 

For more information about the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust or to view this publication online, visit the website at:

http://www.harbourtrust.gov.au


 

 

 



Table of Contents

 


1.         Introduction   8

2.         Aims of this Plan   12

3.         Planning Framework  14

Relationship with the Harbour Trust’s Comprehensive Plan   14

Related Harbour Trust Policies and Guidelines  14

Statutory Planning Context  14

Plans Prepared for Neighbouring Lands  17

4.         Site Description   20

5.         Site History  26

6.         Analysis and Assessment  44

Heritage Listings  44

Conservation Management Plans  45

Archaeological Assessments  46

Cultural Landscape   46

Natural Values  47

Site Contamination   48

Remediation & Decontamination Works Undertaken to Date   55

Compliance with the Building Code of Australia  56

Repairs to Buildings and Structures  56

Condition of Services  57

Transport Management  59

Noise Impact Assessment  61

7.         Heritage Values  64

Cockatoo Island’s Character  64

Summary Statement of Significance, Convict Buildings and Remains CMP   64

Summary Statement of Significance, Cockatoo Island Dockyard CMP   66

World Heritage Listing  67

World Heritage Values  69

World Heritage Listing - Summary Statement of Significance   70

National and Commonwealth Heritage Values  73

Condition of Values  77

Management Requirements and Goals  80

Conservation Policies  81

8.         Outcomes  100

Vision   101

Design Outcomes  104

Precinct Outcomes  109

Accessibility  130

Noise   131

Water Sensitive Urban Design   132

Water Sensitive Urban Design   132

Remediation and Management Strategy  132

Ecologically Sustainable Development  135

Interpretation   137

9.         Implementation   141

Implementation Plan   142

Monitoring and Review of the Plan   147

10.       Images and Acknowledgements  149

11.       Related Studies  153

12.       Appendices  157

 



Table of Figures


 

Figure 1: Management Plan Area  10

Figure 2: The Harbour Trust’s Comprehensive Plan   18

Figure 3: Drawing by JS Prout of Cockatoo Island and Spectacle Island   20

Figure 4: Precinct Areas  23

Figure 5: Local Area Context  24

Figure 6: 1869 engraving depicting convict life on Cockatoo Island   27

Figure 7: Phases of Development  28

Figure 8: Section through No 5 silo   29

Figure 9: Photograph of quarried sandstone (1890s)  29

Figure 10: Drawing of Cockatoo Island in 1845  31

Figure 11: Photograph of young boys from old ship “Vernon”  32

Figure 12: Photograph of young boys from training ship “Sobraon” (1898)  32

Figure 13: Photograph of main walkway through Plateau (1890s)  34

Figure 14: Photograph of weatherboard workroom in the female gaol precinct (1890s)  35

Figure 15: HMS Galatea in the Fitzroy Dock (1870)  35

Figure 16: Engineers’ & Blacksmiths’ Shop (Building 138) c.1870  36

Figure 17: Photograph of interior of Machine Shop (Building 141) (1914)  37

Figure 18: Photograph of publication: “Cockatoo Docks Sydney 1939-1945 War Record”  38

Figure 19: USS New Orleans  39

Figure 20: Dockyard apprentices assembled at the Fitzroy Dock (1947)  40

Figure 21: Drawing Office (Building 10)  40

Figure 22: Workers involved in refit of the Oberon Class submarines  41

Figure 23: Launch of HMAS Success (1984)  42

Figure 24: Environmental Considerations  50

Figure 25: Land Bases and Passenger Transport Routes  60

Figure 26: Outcomes – Overall 106

Figure 27: Public Domain Structure   107

Figure 28: Outcomes – Southern Apron   110

Figure 29: Southern Apron Ideas  111

Figure 30: Southern Apron – Possible New Building Envelopes  112

Figure 31: Outcomes – Eastern Apron   117

Figure 32: Eastern Apron Ideas  118

Figure 33: Eastern Apron – Possible New Building Envelope   119

Figure 34: Outcomes – Northern Apron   122

Figure 35: Northern Apron – Ideas  123

Figure 36: Outcomes – Plateau   127

Figure 37: Convict Trail 128

Figure 38: Possible Convict Trail on Plateau   129

Figure 39: Interpretation Opportunities  139

 


Title: Interior of Building 150 - Description: Image of interior of Building 150, Cockatoo Island (Turbine Shop). 

 

 

 

 


 


Title: Cover page - Chapter 1 - Description: Cover page - Chapter 1 - Introduction - Management Plan Cockatoo Island. Photograph of Cockatoo Island at dusk.
 


1.     Introduction

 

On 21 August 2003 the Minister for the Environment and Heritage approved a Comprehensive Plan for the harbour sites managed by the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust (the Harbour Trust). The plan, which was prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust Act 2001, sets out the Harbour Trust’s vision for the sites under its control.

 

A requirement of the Harbour Trust’s Comprehensive Plan is that more detailed management plans are prepared for specific precincts, places or buildings. In addition to this the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999 requires the Harbour Trust to make plans to protect and manage the National Heritage values and Commonwealth Heritage values of National and Commonwealth Heritage Places. Cockatoo Island is identified on both the National and the Commonwealth Heritage Lists.

 

Cockatoo Island Convict Site is one of 11 historic sites that together form the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property. This plan includes measures to protect the World Heritage values of Cockatoo Island.

 

Accordingly, the purpose of this Management Plan is to guide the outcomes proposed in the Harbour Trust’s Comprehensive Plan, to satisfy the requirements of Schedules 5, 5A, 5B, 7A and 7B of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Regulations 2000 (EPBC Regulation) and to be consistent with the World, National and Commonwealth Heritage management principles.

 

The Comprehensive Plan proposes the revival of Cockatoo Island as a working maritime site and as a functioning, active part of Sydney’s cultural life. Its heritage values are to be protected and the island is to be freely accessible to the general public. The island’s rich history will be recognised and will inspire its revival.

 

The island will become home to an array of complementary uses and activities, ranging from those which tap into the island’s past, such as maritime and related industries, to entirely new uses such as cultural events, short-stay accommodation and restaurants.

 

In keeping with tradition, existing buildings and structures will be adaptively reused. Significant heritage artefacts will be conserved and will form an important aspect of the island’s attractions as well as facilitating people’s understanding of its past. Parkland and vantage points will provide opportunities for people to enjoy the island and the harbour.

 

The island’s future has generated great public interest and passion. However, its planning is also recognised by many as challenging. This is due to the:

 

  • Difficulties of transporting materials and passengers to and from it;
  • Number, variety and condition of the buildings;
  • Complex heritage overlays;
  • Size of the island;
  • Contamination; and
  • Hazardous conditions (public safety).

 

Having regard for these complexities and the length of time during which this plan will be implemented, the Harbour Trust concluded that it is not desirable to attempt to identify detailed outcomes for the whole island. Accordingly, this plan aims to provide a long-term vision and a framework for decision making that is sufficiently flexible to accommodate new ideas and change and that is consistent with and does not adversely impact on the statutory heritage values of the place. The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust is committed to the conservation of the World, National and Commonwealth Heritage values of its places, and this commitment is reflected in its Act, its corporate planning documents and processes. This Management Plan, which satisfies sections 316, 324S and 341S of the EPBC Act 1999, provides the framework and basis for the conservation and management of Cockatoo Island in recognition of its heritage values.

 

The Harbour Trust’s Heritage Strategy, which details the Harbour Trust’s objectives and strategic approach for the conservation of heritage values, was prepared under section 341ZA of the EPBC Act 1999 and accepted by the Minister. The policies in this plan support the directions of the Heritage Strategy, and indicate the objectives for identification, protection, conservation, presentation and transmission to all generations of the Commonwealth and National Heritage values of the place.

 

Commencement Date

This plan was developed by the Harbour Trust in 2008 and reviewed by the Australian Heritage Council in December 2008. Revisions were made and the Plan is now considered to be consistent with the National and Commonwealth Heritage management principles. Notice of this Plan was published in the Government Gazette on 23 June 2010 and registered as a legislative instrument on 2 September 2010. The Plan takes effect from 23 June 2010.

 

In 2016, the Plan was reviewed in accordance with ss 324W and 341X of the EPBC Act, which recommended the Plan be amended. The Plan (as amended) takes effect from the date after registration on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments.

 

Land to which the Management Plan Applies

The land covered by the Management Plan is shown by broken black edging on the plan at Figure 1. All of the land including the bed of the harbour is within Lot 1 DP 549630 and is in the ownership of the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust.

 



 

Title: Figure 1 - Management Plan Area - Description: Plan of Cocaktoo Island showing buildings including numbers. 


Figure 1: Management Plan Area

 


 

Title: Cover page - Chapter 2 - Description: Cover page - Chapter 2 - Aims of this Plan - Management Plan Cockatoo Island. Photograph of Cockatoo Island campground.2 AIMS OF THE PLAN

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To achieve the Harbour Trust’s vision for the island this Management Plan aims to:

 

  • Conserve, protect and manage the World, National and Commonwealth Heritage values of the island as an historic place within Sydney Harbour and facilitate its interpretation, appreciation and adaptive reuse;
  • Be consistent with the World, National and Commonwealth Heritage management principles;

 

  • Provide general public access to the island;
  • Facilitate the transport of people and goods to and from the island by providing appropriate waterfront infrastructure;
  • Revive the island by reintroducing maritime and related industry as well as a range of complementary uses including cultural, entertainment, dining, education, recreation, retail, offices and studios;
  • Establish Cockatoo Island as a place of public enjoyment by providing public open space and the creation of venues for cultural events; and
  • Apply the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development to the revitalisation of the island.

In doing this, it also aims to:

 

  • Provide opportunities for visitors to understand and appreciate the rich and varied history of the island by providing for site interpretation, education and appropriate uses;
  • Provide visitor facilities and amenities including safe pedestrian paths, viewing areas, lookouts and access to the convict precinct, the docks, tunnels, cranes and other historic structures;
  • Realise the potential for easy access including access for the disabled;
  • Enhance views to and from the island;
  • Manage the flora and fauna remaining on the site and interpret the original harbour landscape;
  • Improve the quality of stormwater runoff in order to reverse adverse impacts on the harbour; and
  • Apply remediation strategies consistent with the range of proposed land uses while reducing any adverse environmental impact on the harbour.

 


Title: Cover page - Chapter 3 - Description: Cover page - Chapter 3 - Planning Framework - Management Plan Cockatoo Island. Photograph of solitary cells on Cockatoo Island at dusk.


 

 

 

 


3 PLANNING FRAMEWORK

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3.     Planning Framework

 

Relationship with the Harbour Trust’s Comprehensive Plan

This Management Plan is the middle level of a three tiered comprehensive planning system developed to guide the future of the Harbour Trust’s lands.

 

The other levels are:

§  The Harbour Trust’s Comprehensive Plan - this is an overarching plan that provides a process for the preparation of Management Plans; and

§  Specific projects or actions - actions are defined in the EPBC Act 1999 and are similar to the concept of development in NSW planning legislation.

 

This Management Plan has to be interpreted in conjunction with the Harbour Trust’s Comprehensive Plan, in particular the Outcomes identified in Part 5 of the Harbour Trust’s Comprehensive Plan and the Objectives and Policies in Part 3.

 

The Outcomes diagram in Part 5 of the Harbour Trust’s Comprehensive Plan for Cockatoo Island is reproduced at Figure 2. Conservation policies in this plan provide guidance on how these outcomes can be managed in a way that protects, conserves, presents and transmits to all generations the National and Commonwealth Heritage values.

 

The Objectives and Policies most relevant to this Management Plan are those relating to working harbour, tourism, contamination, water quality and catchment protection, cultural heritage, adaptive re-use of places and buildings, access, open space and recreation, and education. These Objectives and Policies were addressed during the assessment of the site and are discussed in more detail in the relevant sections of this plan.

 

Related Harbour Trust Policies and Guidelines

There are a number of overarching Policies and Guidelines foreshadowed in the Harbour Trust’s Comprehensive Plan that will be developed over the lifetime of the Harbour Trust and that will also guide the conservation and adaptive reuse of the island. Current relevant policies are:

 

§  The Harbour Trust’s Corporate Plan;

§  The Harbour Trust’s Leasing of Land and Buildings Policy;

§  The Harbour Trust’s policy for the Leasing of Land and Buildings to Community Users;

§  The Harbour Trust Event Policy;

§  The Harbour Trust’s Heritage Strategy; and

§  The Harbour Trust’s Interpretation Strategy for Cockatoo Island.

 

This Management Plan has regard for these existing policies. If or when other Harbour Trust Policies and Guidelines are developed this plan will be reviewed to ensure that they do not impact adversely on the World, National and Commonwealth heritage values.

 

Statutory Planning Context

 

Commonwealth Legislation

All ‘actions’ on Harbour Trust land, undertaken by either the Harbour Trust or on behalf of the Harbour Trust, are controlled by the EPBC Act.

 

Section 26 of the EPBC Act 1999 protects Commonwealth land from actions taken on or outside it that may have a significant impact on


the environment. Section 28 protects the environment from actions taken by the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth agency that may have a significant impact.

 

The environment is defined to include:

 

a)      ecosystems and their constituent parts, including people and communities; and

b)      natural and physical resources; and

c)       the qualities and characteristics of locations, places and areas; and

d)      heritage values of places; and

e)      the social, economic and cultural aspects of a thing mentioned in paragraph (a), (b), (c) or (d) above.

 

Sections 318 and 341ZC of the Act requires the Harbour Trust to have regard for the World, National and Commonwealth Heritage values of a place before it takes an action, and to minimise the impact that the action might have on those values. This plan includes the World, Commonwealth and National Heritage values taken from the statutory heritage listings of the island.

 

State Legislation

The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust Act 2001 specifically excludes any land owned by the Harbour Trust from the operations of state planning law. This includes State Policies (SEPPs) and Regional Environmental Plans (REPs) prepared by the State Government and Local Environmental Plans (LEPs) prepared by councils.

 

Notwithstanding this the Harbour Trust has prepared this plan so that it is consistent with both State and local plans. The relevant state statutory plans are:

Title: Photograph of Building 29 - Description: Photograph of Building 29 (Muster Station), Cockatoo Island.

 



Sydney Regional Environmental Plan – Sydney Harbour Catchment 2005

This SREP applies to the whole of Sydney Harbour’s waterways, the foreshores and entire harbour catchment. It provides a framework for future planning, development and management of the waterway, heritage items, islands, wetland protection areas and foreshores of Sydney Harbour. Under the SREP, Cockatoo Island is included in the catchment area of Sydney Harbour, as a foreshores and waterways area and is also listed as a strategic foreshore site. Potential impacts on Cockatoo Island resulting from development in NSW are assessed through this instrument. The planning principles of the SREP relevant to the island include:

 

§  Development that is visible from the waterways or foreshores is to maintain, protect and enhance the unique visual qualities of Sydney Harbour;

§  Development is to protect and, if practicable, rehabilitate watercourses, wetlands, riparian corridors, remnant native vegetation and ecological connectivity within the catchment;

§  The number of publicly accessible vantage points for viewing Sydney Harbour should be increased;

§  Public access to and along the foreshore and waterways should be increased, maintained and improved;

§  Public access along foreshore land should be provided on land used for industrial or commercial maritime purposes where such access does not interfere with the use of the land for those purposes;

§  The use of foreshore land adjacent to land used for industrial or commercial maritime purposes should be compatible with those purposes;

§  Water-based public transport (such as ferries) should be encouraged to link with land-based public transport (such as buses and trains) at appropriate public spaces along the waterfront;

§  The provision and use of public boating facilities along the waterfront should be encouraged;

§  Sydney Harbour and its islands and foreshores should be recognised and protected as places of exceptional heritage significance;

§  An appreciation of the role of Sydney Harbour in the history of the Aboriginal and European settlement should be encouraged;

§  The natural, scenic, environmental and cultural qualities of the Foreshores and Waterways Area should be protected;

§  Significant fabric, settings, relics and views associated with the heritage significance of heritage items should be conserved; and

§  Archaeological sites and places of Aboriginal heritage significance should be conserved.

 

Local Government

Cockatoo Island does not fall within any Local Government Area (LGA). However, it has an obvious relationship with the neighbouring LGAs of Leichhardt, Canada Bay and Hunters Hill. Most of these areas are zoned for residential purposes and these zones are described in Section 12 – Background Material, of the Harbour Trust’s Comprehensive Plan. The characteristics of these areas and the nature of the relationship they have with the island are described in the section of this plan dealing with “Surrounding Lands”.

 


Title: Photograph of view to Harbour Bridge - Description: Photograph of view to Harbour Bridge and CBD from Cockatoo Island

Plans Prepared for Neighbouring Lands

Plans and policies prepared by neighbouring land managers provide a context for this Management plan. The following are particularly relevant:

 

New South Wales Roads and Maritime Services

The NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) is an arm of Transport for NSW and is responsible for the development, management and use of waterways in NSW’s major ports, including Sydney Harbour. RMS is also responsible for approving (or requiring the demolition of) wharves or other structures that extend beyond the boundary of the Harbour Trust land. To assist in these processes it has prepared a number of policies that it considers when deciding whether to grant approval or not. These include:

 

§  Obtaining permission to lodge a development application;

§  Engineering Standards and Guidelines for Maritime Structures; and

§  Marine Habitat Survey Guidelines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CI.002.POM.Fig.02 Cplan outcomes.jpg
 

Title: Figure 2 - Comprehensive Plan Outcomes - Description: Figure 2 - Comprehensive Plan Outcomes. 


Figure 2: The Harbour Trust’s Comprehensive Plan

 


 

Title: Cover page - Chapter 4 - Description: Cover page - Chapter 4 - Site Description - Management Plan Cockatoo Island. Photograph of Cockatoo Island with Elkington Park, Balmain, in background. 


4 SITE DESCRIPTION

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4.     Site Description

 

Cockatoo Island is the largest island in Sydney Harbour at the confluence of the Lane Cove and Parramatta Rivers. In its original state, it was a heavily timbered sandstone knoll, rising to 18 metres above sea level. Originally it was only 12.9 hectares in size, however, its land area has been expanded to 17.9 hectares through extensive cutting, reclamation and filling. Almost all of the original land area of the island has been removed, and the current vegetation includes plants growing on the cliff faces and plantings of exotic species in the garden areas.

 

The island is characterised by a diversity derived from its incremental development over a long period of time. This diversity, combined with the topography make it difficult to perceive the island as a unified entity.

 

The island was vacant between 1992 and 2001, and many of the buildings deteriorated during this time. Some areas also contain contamination and industrial hazards resulting from over a century of shipbuilding. The lower area of the island still accommodates a range of industrial buildings, concrete pads from demolished buildings, cranes, dry docks and wharf related structures. However, many buildings and wharves were demolished after the closure of the dockyard, and this has resulted in large open areas on the northern and eastern foreshores.

 

Title: Figure 3: Historical drawing of Cocaktoo and Spectacle Islands - Description: Figure 3: 1843 drawing by JS Prout of Cocaktoo Island and Spectacle Island

 

Figure 3: Drawing by JS Prout of Cockatoo Island and Spectacle Island

This 1843 drawing by J.S Prout shows the southern side of Cockatoo Island with Spectacle Island to the left. It was drawn 4 years after the first convicts arrived but already the effectiveness with which they cleared the vegetation is apparent. It also shows the original topography of the island before large parts of it were quarried away and the extensive land reclamations undertaken.

 

Figure 4 - Precinct Areas identifies the areas referred to in this management plan as the Southern, Northern and Eastern aprons and the Plateau. Appendix 1 identifies all of the locations and building numbers of existing and previous buildings and their uses.

 

The buildings on the Southern Apron are the most intact of the maritime aprons. These include the two dry docks, a number of robust industrial buildings, wharves, slipways, cranes and other

maritime related infrastructure. There is no clear order in the layout of these buildings, however, many are built of similar materials and are similar in scale and this gives the area a cohesive built character.

 

The Northern Apron faces Woolwich peninsular. It is a large open area with only a few structures remaining. From the water it appears as a grassed open space with a vegetated backdrop. At its western end there are two large slipways and associated cranes that were previously used for shipbuilding and repairs. Adjacent to the slipways are the Powerhouse, brick chimney and sewage treatment plant. An extensive rock shoreline that replaced wharves that were demolished when the island was vacated provides an edge to this precinct and has become a nesting area for Silver Gulls. Much of the Northern Apron has been landscaped and is used as a camping ground with public amenities and covered barbecue / eating area.

 

The Eastern Apron has two distinct areas – the entry area and a group of workshops further to the south. The entry area includes the Parramatta ferry wharf, the former Administration Building, remnants of a memorial garden and a large, east facing open area with a stone cliff as a backdrop. The second area includes a series of waterfront workshops arranged so that they create a street between them. These buildings include the stone, convict-built workshops, the Turbine Shop, the Pattern Shop, Tool Store, Canteen as well as several other industrial buildings and the Bolt Wharf.

 

The Plateau or upper area of the Island includes three distinct areas. At its western end there is the convict gaol and associated sandstone buildings and walls. The central area includes a row of multi-storey workshops that were built on the sites of the former convict water tanks and quarry yard. The eastern end is characterised by a group of houses, including the Superintendent’s Quarters “Biloela House”, whose backyards meet, forming an arrangement of lawns, garden beds, and exotic trees. Also included in this area are the convict grain silos, the WW II searchlight tower and the landmark water tower.

 

Surrounding Lands

Cockatoo Island is the largest of the three islands that were known in the 1820s as the ‘Hen and Chickens’. The other two are Snapper which is also a Harbour Trust site, and Spectacle, which is occupied by the Australian Navy. See Figure 5 - Local Area Context.

 

Cockatoo also shares a convict and maritime heritage with Goat Island, located 2km to the east. This presents opportunities for future joint interpretation and public visitation.

 

The island also has a relationship with the surrounding mainland areas, including Woolwich, Birchgrove, Balmain, Rozelle, Drummoyne and Birkenhead.

 

The Parramatta River foreshores of Woolwich face directly onto the Island. This includes the recreational areas of Clarkes Point Reserve and the Horse Paddock, the Hunters Hill Sailing Club and Woolwich Marina. Further up the slope the land is zoned for residential purposes and is characterised by low to medium density housing. There are also a number of restaurants and cafes and the Woolwich Pier Hotel located at the top of the ridge.

 

To the south of the island, the foreshores of Leichhardt Local Government Area (LGA) face onto the island and include the suburbs of Birchgrove, Rozelle and Balmain. These areas are characterised by late 19th century terrace and semi-detached residences with some higher density residential redevelopment on former industrial sites - most notably the Balmain Cove development on the site of the former Balmain Power Station. These areas are mainly zoned for residential purposes and there is unlikely to be any significant change.

 

Title: Photograph of Cockatoo Island from Woolwich Dock Lookout - Description: Photograph of Cockatoo Island from Woolwich Dock LookoutThe eastern foreshore of Canada Bay LGA includes the suburbs of Drummoyne and Birkenhead Point and these also face the island. These areas are mostly developed with medium to high-density residential development with some free standing and semi-detached housing. There is also a large marina and associated retail development at Birkenhead Point and nearby the Drummoyne Sailing Club and adjoining parklands.

 

For all of these residential areas, the impacts on amenity of noise, light, traffic and parking are important. Accordingly the Harbour Trust has been careful to address these issues during the preparation of this Management Plan. See the Analysis and Assessment and the Outcomes sections of this plan.

 

 

 


Title: Figure 4: Precinct Areas. - Description: Figure 4: Precinct Areas. 

 

 


Figure 4: Precinct Areas

Updated drawing

 


 

Title: Figure 5: Local Area Context - Description: Figure 5: Local Area Context. 

 


Figure 5: Local Area Context

Updated drawing

 

 


 

Title: Cover page - Chapter 5 - Description: Cover page - Chapter 5 - Site History - Management Plan Cockatoo Island. Photograph of Building 3 (c1847-51, Mess Hall), Cockatoo Island. 

 

 


5 SITE HISTORY

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5.     Site History

 

Aboriginal Heritage

It was recorded by early colonists that Aboriginal people of the Sydney region called Cockatoo Island Wa-rea-mah. Aboriginal people inhabited the area for thousands of years prior to European settlement and the island may have been used as a fishing base.

 

No physical evidence of Aboriginal heritage has been found on the island, and the activities that have taken place and the alteration of the physical landscape make it unlikely that any evidence of Aboriginal use or occupation remains intact.

 

European Heritage

European occupation of Cockatoo Island began in 1839 when the first prisoners were transferred there. Since then it has been used to accommodate a girls’ reformatory and industrial school, boys’ training schemes and shipbuilding and repairs.

 

The buildings and artefacts that remain on Cockatoo Island represent all these phases of its occupation and development, from the convict gaol to the last structures built to carry out the Oberon Class submarine refits. Traditionally, buildings on Cockatoo Island have been retained, re-used and adapted to suit current needs. Periods of use overlapped and buildings were put to many different uses. The Island contains several areas of High Archaeological significance. Buildings, gardens, artefacts, ephemera, and most importantly the patina and historic layout are all still represented. Convict grain silos can be found side by side with a WW II search light tower, a steam powered crane with the convict constructed dock, and dockyard graffiti with the mercury arc glass rectifiers in the powerhouse. As a consequence, the island is a rich mosaic of all these things and is of exceptional heritage value.

 

The buildings remaining from these different phases of development are shown on Figure 7.

 

Arrival of the Convicts

In February 1839 sixty convicts were relocated to Cockatoo Island to alleviate overcrowding at Norfolk Island. Cockatoo Island was chosen because its isolation by water offered security for the people of Sydney while allowing easy supervision by the colonial administration. The island was to soon gain a justifiable reputation as a grim and brutalising place.

 

The newly arrived convicts were put to work quarrying the stone for the prison buildings that were to become their accommodation. The island had no naturally occurring supply of drinking water and so they also manually excavated large water tanks and, in what was a controversial attempt to ensure a reliable supply of grain for the colony, they excavated large bottle shaped silos to store surplus wheat (see Figures 6 and 8). The colony had suffered chronic grain shortages and in an attempt to prevent this reoccurring Governor Gipps proposed storing grain for use during times when the harvest was poor. On Cockatoo he had a supply of free labour to undertake the excavation and the security of the island to ensure the safety of the stored grain. However, the Colonial administration in London saw this as unnecessary interference in the free market and ordered that the grain be released for sale.

 

Many of the buildings constructed during this phase of the island’s development, including the barracks, guard house, grain silos, engine house workshop, some residences and the Fitzroy Dock, are still extant and although some have been adapted for new uses they none-the-less tell a coherent story of early, colonial prison life. See the 1857 plan of the island reproduced at Figure 10.

 

 

A Dockyard and Prison

Convict labour facilitated the beginning of shipbuilding and repair on the island.

 

The island was strategically placed to support the development of Port Jackson as a trading centre and this potential was identified early in the life of the colony. The construction of a dry dock was considered crucial to this outcome and as a consequence Governor Gipps sought approval from the Imperial Administration in London to construct a dock using convict labour. In preparation, he instructed that the convicts begin preparing the site for the dock.

 

In 1845 the inmates commenced their most ambitious undertaking, the construction of the Fitzroy Dock. This work was the first of its kind in the Australian colonies and unlike most other dry docks in other parts of the world, was excavated from solid rock. The site chosen for the dock required the removal of large sandstone cliffs with an average height of 45 feet just to clear a shore level space large enough to accommodate the dock. The dock was named in honour of the NSW Governor Sir Charles Augustus Fitz Roy and took nine years to construct. It commenced operations in December 1857 when convict labour was used to overhaul the British naval brig, HMS Herald. In the years that followed the Fitzroy Dock was predominantly occupied with the repair and servicing of Royal Navy ships.

 

Title: Figure 6: Historicalk engraving of convict life on Cockatoo Island - Description: Figure 6: 1869 engraving depicting convict life on Cockatoo Island.

Figure 6: 1869 engraving depicting convict life on Cockatoo Island

The first prisoners to arrive from Norfolk Island were accommodated in tents, prison boxes and portable houses borrowed from Goat Island. However, by the time this engraving was made the convicts had constructed an array of permanent buildings. The top image shows a convict pouring grain into one of the underground silos that Governor Gipps had excavated to store the colony’s surplus grain. The central image shows the Mess Hall in the Prisoners’ Barracks (Building 3).

 

 


 

Title: Figure 7: Phases of development on Cockatoo Island - Description: Figure 7: Phases of development on Cockatoo Island.Figure 7: Phases of Development

Updated drawing


 

 

 

Title: Figure 8: Historical drawing of grain silo no. 5 - Description: Figure 8: Typical  section through grain silo no. 5 (historic drawing).

Figure 8: Section through No 5 silo

One of the earliest tasks undertaken by the convicts on Cockatoo Island was to excavate large underground silos. This drawing is of a typical section through No.5 silo. The only access to the silos was via a manhole about 2 feet in diameter. Convicts working to carve the silos were forced to remain underground until they had hewn the required daily quota of stone. It is believed that there were originally 20 silos on the island. However, the exact number still extant is not known because several are believed to be hidden under asphalt paving near Biloela House. Others were destroyed during the excavation undertaken to accommodate the workshops built during WW II.

 

 

 

 

Title: Figure 9: Historical photograph of quarried sandstone - Description: Figure 9: 1890s photograph of quarried sandstone.

 

Figure 9: Photograph of quarried sandstone (1890s)

Sandstone quarried by the convicts was used to build many of the buildings on the island. It was also used for building works in Sydney, including the construction of Semi-Circular Quay. This photograph was taken in the 1890s during the second, or Biloela Gaol phase when prisoners who were capable of heavy work quarried and dressed stone in the paddock between the men’s and women’s sections.

 


Convict labour was also used to build the fine sandstone Engineers’ and Blacksmiths’ Shop (Building 138), which still stands near the dock. This is one of the first buildings associated with the operation of the Fitzroy Dock and was built to a Royal Engineers’ design, with the Portsmouth Steam Factory in England used as the prototype. The Dock and Building 138 are an outstanding example of the use of convict labour to provide a major piece of infrastructure for the colony, as recognised by the World Heritage listing of Cockatoo Island Convict Site as part of the greater Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property. The machinery in the workshop was operated by steam until 1901 and some evidence of the original equipment remains. The use of convicts to build the Dock and the Engineers’ and Blacksmiths’ Workshop building, two major pieces of infrastructure, addresses one of the major World Heritage criteria for the listing of Cockatoo Island.

 

During this time the island was both a prison and a dockyard, with the convicts providing the labour needed to run the dock. However, these two uses resulted in management conflict, which was partly overcome with the appointment of Gother Kerr Mann as Superintendent of the Prison as well as Engineer of the Dockyard.

 

Conditions for the convicts were extremely harsh. Their accommodation was overcrowded and sickness was common. As a result, a Select Committee appointed in 1861 to enquire into public prisons criticised the management of Cockatoo, declaring that the “moral axioms of the present age” had obviously exerted no influence upon its running. Although only a few small changes were made after the Select Committee enquiry, the Island continued to operate as a prison for another eight years. By this time all but one of the prisoners had been sentenced in the colony and in 1869 the Cockatoo Island prison closed and the inmates were moved to Darlinghurst Goal.

 

Reformatory and Training

Shortly before the closure of the prison the government passed two Acts that aimed to provide care, education and training for neglected and abandoned children and to establish institutions for girls under the age of 16 who would otherwise have been placed in an ordinary prison.

 

The abandoned prison buildings on Cockatoo Island presented an opportunity to implement these Acts and in 1871 the prison buildings were adapted as an industrial training school and reformatory for girls. The island was also renamed Biloela, a North Queensland Aboriginal word for Cockatoo. This was an attempt to distance the island from the stigma attached to the former prison.

 

The reformatory was located away from the industrial school in one of the free overseers’ cottages (probably Building 9) while the industrial school was accommodated in the former prison barracks and mess hall. A ten-foot high fence was built to separate the reformatory and school from the dockyard.

 

For the younger girls the industrial school was essentially a boarding school, while the older ones were taught skills to equip them for domestic service once they left the island.

 



 

Title: Figure 10: Historical drawing of Cockatoo Island - Description: Figure 10: Drawing of Cockatoo Island in 1845 (drawing made in 1857).


This plan shows the buildings and other developments that were completed during the first 18 years of the island’s life as a prison. It was drawn in 1857 and is an update of an earlier survey done in 1845. The blue edge delineates the extent of the island and the reclamations that had taken place at that time. The uncoloured buildings were built prior to 1845 and those coloured red were built between 1845 and 1857. The plan shows four Overseers Quarters, however only three were eventually constructed.Figure 10: Drawing of Cockatoo Island in 1845

 

 


otTitle: Figure 11: Historical photograph of young boys from old ship "Vernon"  - Description: Figure 11: 1870s photograph of young boys from old ship "Vernon" undertaking gardening.

Figure 11: Photograph of young boys from old ship “Vernon”

In 1871, an old ship, the ‘Vernon’, was anchored off the northeast corner of the island as a nautical training ship for homeless or orphaned boys. In addition to nautical skills, the boys were taught trades such as tailoring, carpentry, shoe and sail making. They also undertook the formidable task of getting the island’s vegetable gardens in order, planting fruit and ornamental trees and levelling and sowing the recreation and drill ground. For this later task 250 tons of soil was transported from Woolwich by punt. This photograph shows a small group of the boys working in a vegetable garden on the island.

 

Title: Figure 12: Historical photograph of young boys from training ship “Sobraon” - Description: Figure 12: Photograph of young boys from training ship “Sobraon” (1898) playing outdoor games.

Figure 12: Photograph of young boys from training ship “Sobraon” (1898)

This photograph was taken in 1898. It shows a group of boys from the second of the training ships, the ‘Sobraon,’ with their pet emu on the island’s recreation ground where they played cricket, rounders, football and other games. In the background is the boathouse, which was associated with the ‘Sobraon’. The chimney and belltower of the convict built Engineers’ and Blacksmiths’ Shop (Building 138) are also visible.

 

 


 


Conditions for the girls were overcrowded, particularly cold in winter, and the buildings still bore too close a resemblance to a prison to be in any way comfortable. During the first few years their treatment was appallingly harsh and in November 1873 the school was reported to be in a state of insurrection. This was addressed by the appointment of a new Matron in 1875 who restored order and treated the girls with respect.

 

In 1879 the reformatory was closed and this freed up buildings for the industrial school but the extra accommodation was soon compromised by the construction of the Sutherland Dock. The industrial school remained until 1888 when it was moved to the former Roman Catholic Orphanage at Parramatta.

 

At the same time as the reformatory and industrial school were accommodated on the island, an old ship, the Vernon, was anchored off its northeast corner and was used to house delinquent and orphaned boys. In 1890 the Vernon was replaced by the Sobraon, which remained there until 1911. The Sobraon was a much larger ship and was able to accommodate 500 boys. The boys were segregated from the girls, and, later, from the prisoners at Biloela Gaol. They were taught trades such as tailoring, carpentry, shoe and sail making and space was made available on the island for them to grow vegetables. A patch of land on the apron east of Biloela House (Building 22) was used as their recreation area (see Figure 12) and a swimming enclosure was later added. However, subsequent development on the island has removed all visible evidence of their existence.

 


A Gaol Again

In 1888 Cockatoo Island was once again used as a prison. This time it was to ease overcrowding at Darlinghurst Gaol and for the first time it accommodated both male and female prisoners who were considered to be habitual offenders, incapable of reform.

 

The women occupied a compound in the centre of the island (now replaced by Buildings 12 and 13) while the men were housed in the barracks to the west. This accommodation was recognised as inadequate but few alterations or improvements took place because it was always intended to be temporary.

 

Prisoners still quarried stone but any building work that took place was executed under contract. The turnover of prisoners was high, with as many as 70 admissions a week. See Figures 13 and 14 for photos from this period.

 

In its final years the gaol only housed female prisoners and in 1908 those that remained were relocated to Little Bay.

 

This ended the island’s long role as a prison and dockyard and facilitated its emergence as the State Dockyard.

 

 


 

 

 

 


Title: Figure 13: Historical hotograph of main walkway through Plateau  - Description: Figure 13: Photograph of main walkway through Plateau (1890s). Shows main walk from Governors Quarters offices on left hand side.

 

Figure 13: Photograph of main walkway through Plateau (1890s)

This photo, taken during the Biloela Gaol period (c.1890s) shows the main walkway along the plateau of the island from the Military Officers’ Quarters (Building 2). It illustrates how the prison precinct was designed to maximise surveillance, with a clear line of sight from the sentry box on the right up to the female gaol precinct in the distance. On the left of the path is a row of cottages originally built in 1850 as accommodation for the Free Overseers (extant today are Buildings 9 & 11). At the time this photograph was taken, the cottages were used as warders’ accommodation

 

 


Title: Figure 14: Historical photograph of weatherboard workroom in the female gaol precinct - Description: Figure 14: Photograph of weatherboard workroom in the female gaol precinct (1890s). Interior of sewing room 1b.

 

Figure 14: Photograph of weatherboard workroom in the female gaol precinct (1890s)

Female prisoners carried out needlework for the Government Stores and this photo shows lengths of cloth and the sewing machinery used by the women.

 

Dockyard and Shipbuilding

Throughout the time that the island was used for institutional purposes the dockyard continued to operate and expand. However, with the closure of the prison in 1869 it could no longer rely on convict labour and its administration was split between the Department of Prisons and the Public Works Department.

 

 

Title: Figure 15: Historical photograph of HMS Galatea in the Fitzroy Dock - Description: Figure 15: HMS Galatea in the Fitzroy Dock (1870)

Figure 15: HMS Galatea in the Fitzroy Dock (1870)

The Galatea was visiting Australia as part of an around the world tour undertaken by Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh. The elegant stone building to the right of the dock is the Engineers’ and Blacksmiths’ Shop (Building 138), which was built by convict labour in various stages. This photograph shows the first two stages including the bell tower. The building was subsequently altered in the early 20th century by the addition of a second floor to accommodate the brass finishing shop and is now obscured by new buildings that have been erected in front of it.

 

Shipbuilding, mostly small scale, began in 1870 and by the beginning of WW I over 150 dredges, barges and tugs had been built. Most of this early shipbuilding activity took place on the slipways located to the east of the Engineers’ and Blacksmiths’ Shop (Building 138) on the eastern apron.

 

As early as 1870 the increase in dockyard activity and in the size of the ships created a need for a second, larger dock at Cockatoo. The engineer Louis Samuel won the contract to build a new dock, the Sutherland Dock, which was constructed by free labour between 1882 and 1890. By world standards, the design and construction of the new dock were outstanding.

 

The construction of the new dock required the excavation of a massive amount of rock and soil and this was used to reclaim land south of the dock, expanding the southern apron and allowing the expansion of dockyard facilities. The northern cut saw the demolition of the isolation cell block next to the Guardhouse. The first structure to be built as part of the dockyard’s expansion into the former prison area on the crown of the island was the Mould Loft (Building 6), which was completed in 1911. The new dock also generated building activity on the eastern apron, where the General Store (Building 123) was built between 1901 and 1908. This is one of the most architecturally elaborate workshops and is also associated with the final phase of New South Wales Government control over the island.

 

Commonwealth Naval Dockyard 1913-1933

Following Federation ownership of the island was transferred from the NSW Public Works Department to the Commonwealth Government and it became the dockyard of the Royal Australian Navy.

 

New machine tools were purchased from Britain and the island developed as a naval dockyard with a much greater capacity for building and repairing warships. The building program affected most parts of the island. No. 1 Slipway was upgraded and extended and new dockyard buildings were built on the plateau at the site of the former convict work yard. These included the Drawing Office c.1919 (Building 10), the Electrical Shop c.1916 (Building 15) and the Timber Store c.1916 (Building 19). The prison buildings were adapted for administration purposes, with the Mess Hall (Building 3) becoming the main office of the dockyard, the northern and eastern wings of the Prison Barracks (Building 5) converted to a Ship Drawing and an Engine Drawing Office and the southern wing used as a boardroom.

 

Title: Figure 16: Historical photograph of Building 138 - Description: Figure 16: Engineers’ & Blacksmiths’ Shop (Building 138) c.1870

 

Figure 16: Engineers’ & Blacksmiths’ Shop (Building 138) c.1870

At the time this photograph was taken, the Fitzroy Dock and the maintenance workshops were transferred to the control of the NSW Harbour and Rivers Department. The dockyard no longer relied on convict labour and the men in this photograph would have been free, paid labour.

 

This period also saw the construction of the Parramatta and Camber Wharves, the Destroyer and Sutherland Wharves and the roadway tunnel connecting the docks to the northern shipyard.

 

 

Wartime

WW I prompted significant growth in the dockyard with up to 4000 men employed building war ships and converting merchant ships for war service. New workshops had to be erected quickly and were mostly metal framed structures clad in corrugated iron. Although many of these buildings may have been seen as temporary, most of them remained for the rest of the dockyard’s life.

 

Six houses were erected on the eastern end of the plateau. These included the Medical Officer’s Assistant and Police Residence (Building 21), the Launch Driver and Coxswain’s Residence (Building 23) and Managerial Staff Residences (Building 24).

 

A new power station was also built. Throughout the war the dockyard’s steam power supply was a problem and in 1918, a new coal fired powerhouse (Building 58) was completed. This supplied all the power, lighting and hydraulic needs of the dockyard. It also powered the pumps that emptied and filled the docks. This powerhouse remains intact with much of its equipment in situ, including the elevated main switchboard, the largest surviving marble paneled DC switchboard in Australia, the mercury arc glass rectifier bank (installed in 1937 when the island was connected to the mainland AC electricity supply) and the two centrifugal hydraulic pumps. The adjacent boiler house and steam turbines were removed in the 1960s but the brick chimney remains and is a significant landmark on the Cockatoo Island skyline.

 

Privatisation

Immediately after the war the dockyard was kept busy reconverting naval ships for merchant service. However, following a 1926 High Court judgment, which precluded the dockyard from accepting work other than from the government, and the sale of the Commonwealth Line of Steamers, shipbuilding and dock work declined. The building of steel ships in Australia had almost ceased and the dockyard had no orders for the construction of new ships. Not surprisingly Cockatoo struggled financially.

 

Title: Figure 17: Historical photograph of interior of Building 141 - Description: Figure 17: Photograph of interior of Machine Shop (Building 141) (1914)

 

Figure 17: Photograph of interior of Machine Shop (Building 141) (1914)

The transfer of Cockatoo Island to the Commonwealth Government in 1913 resulted in the installation of many additional modern machine tools and the yard’s expansion to satisfy the needs of a naval dockyard. This photograph was taken inside the Machine Shop (Building 141) c.1914. At this time the yard still had chronic power supply problems resulting from the poor condition of its obsolete generators.

 

 

Title: Figure 18: Historical photograph of publication: “Cockatoo Docks Sydney War Record” - Description: Figure 18: Photograph of cover of publication: “Cockatoo Docks Sydney 1939-1945 War Record”

Figure 18: Photograph of publication: “Cockatoo Docks Sydney 1939-1945 War Record”

Cockatoo Island Dockyard was justifiably proud of the contribution it made to the Allied war effort in the South Pacific and produced this booklet to record its achievements. During WW II it was the allies’ main ship repair facility in the South West Pacific and 3200 men were employed building and repairing ships, many of which had been damaged in the decisive naval battles of 1942.

 

As a consequence the Commonwealth Government decided to lease the island to a private consortium known as Cockatoo Docks and Engineering Co. Ltd. The new managers made many changes to the running of the dockyard but there was little change to the fabric of the island other than the extension of the Sutherland Dock in 1928 and some further reclamation.

 

World War II

Following the outbreak of WW II Cockatoo Island became a hive of activity once again as merchant ships and luxury liners were converted to troop transports, stores and naval ships. Two hundred and fifty ships, many of which had been damaged as a result of action including Kamikaze attacks, were converted or repaired at Cockatoo during the war years. The dockyard also played an important role in meeting the needs of the merchant shipbuilding program.

 

To facilitate this work many new buildings and infrastructure were built. Several new wharves were built as well as a second slipway on the northern apron. New workshops were constructed on the Southern Apron including the Dock Master’s Office (Building 78) and the Painters’ and Dockers’ Workshop (Building 79). Other more substantial buildings that were built to meet the war effort included the Turbine Shop and Brass Foundry (Building 150).

 

The dockyard was of great strategic importance to the Allied war effort and action was taken to protect it from enemy attack. Air raid shelters were built at various locations around the island. Some were purpose built, while others involved the radical modification and reinforcement of several of the convict-built buildings. A search light tower, tunnel and first aid station were also constructed. All of these structures remain on the island as an unedited record of the turbulent war years.

 

Peacetime

Shipbuilding continued apace after the war and increased in 1950’s following a decision by the Commonwealth Government to build a number of anti-submarine frigates.

 

During this phase most of the old structures were maintained and used. These included the original Fitzroy Dock workshop and the Prisoners’ Barracks. However, the inadequacies of the dockyard, including its size, aging facilities and the difficulty and expense incurred in transporting goods to and from the mainland were becoming more of a problem. By the early 1960’s the dockyard’s work was declining and this was a trend from which it was never to recover.

 

The Last Ships

In 1979 Vickers Cockatoo was awarded the contract to build the fleet replenishment ship HMAS Success. The Success was the largest naval ship to be built in Australia and the last ship to be built at Cockatoo. The Success was launched in 1984 and although the submarine-refitting program for the “Oberon” class submarines continued for a few more years, the 1991 refit of HMAS Orion marked the end of the dockyard’s working life.

 

For the final 25 years of its operations the maintenance and refit of RAN submarines was the mainstay of the dockyard. Several new buildings were constructed during this period specifically for the refitting of the ‘Oberon’ class submarines. These included the Weapons Workshop and Electronic Building (Building 93) on the south eastern apron and the large crane on the bolt wharf.

 

Closure

Following the refit of the Orion the workforce was disbanded; equipment, machinery and furniture were sold at auction and many of the buildings and wharves were demolished. However, notwithstanding this, a substantial array of structures and artefacts representing all phases of the island’s life remain.

 

Title: Figure 19: Historical photograph of USS New Orleans - Description: Figure 19: Photograph of USS New Orleans (1942)

 

Figure 19: USS New Orleans

Fifteen United States Navy ships were repaired at Cockatoo Island during WW II. Included among them was the USS New Orleans, which was torpedoed in the Battle of Lunga Point, losing 150 foot of its bow in the ensuing explosion. The New Orleans steamed backwards from the Solomon Islands to Cockatoo where a temporary bow was fitted. This allowed the ship to return to the US for reconstruction.

Title: Figure 20: Historical photograph of Dockyard apprentices - Description: Figure 20: Photograph of Dockyard apprentices assembled at the Fitzroy Dock (1947)

 

Figure 20: Dockyard apprentices assembled at the Fitzroy Dock (1947)

Cockatoo Island was one of the earliest establishments in Australia to set up special schools for the training of apprentices, and this co-ordinated training was a milestone in industrial history. Apprentices were indentured to nearly all trades that were carried out on the island, with their number occasionally approaching half the total number of tradesmen employed.

 

 

Title: Figure 21: Historical photograph of Building 10 - Description: Figure 21: Photograph of Drawing Office (Building 10) (WWII)

 

Figure 21: Drawing Office (Building 10)

Cockatoo Island fostered a well-qualified technical team that had the capacity to undertake a wide range of design work. This was particularly the case at the end of WW II when this photograph of the Drawing Office (Building 10) was taken.

 

Many people in the community called for the island’s convict and maritime industrial heritage to be conserved. A community group called the Friends of Cockatoo Island was formed to lobby for the island to be retained in public ownership and for the island’s cultural heritage to be conserved. In 2001 the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust was established and the island transferred to the Harbour Trust to ensure its long-term conservation and rehabilitation.

Title: Figure 22: Historical photograph of workers involved in refit of submarines - Description: Figure 22: Photograph of workers involved in refit of the Oberon Class submarines (1980s)

Figure 22: Workers involved in refit of the Oberon Class submarines

To facilitate the refit of the Oberon Class submarines, $4.7 million was allocated for the construction of new facilities. These included 2 substantial buildings – one adjacent to the Bolt Shop Wharf (since demolished) and the Weapons and Electronic Workshops (Buildings 92 & 93) on the southern side of the Fitzroy Dock. These buildings were a far cry from the grime of the traditional workshops. They were fitted with the most modern equipment and had to achieve the highest standards of cleanliness. This photograph shows workers in the ‘clean room’ where the high-pressure air and telemotor components of submarines were refitted. The hats and uniforms illustrate the sensitivity of the instruments and the need to regulate the environment.

 

A New Life

After the closure of the island in 1991, and a period of slow deterioration and vandalism, Cockatoo Island was vested in the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust in 2001. A journey of rehabilitation had begun. With the financial assistance of the Australian Government including the Department of Defence, a process of renewal and repair of services, decontamination, basic maintenance and safety measures commenced. In 2005 all the remedial work was revealed with the Cockatoo Island Music Festival which was a great success. Since then, the island has been opened to the public and has become a sought after venue for events, functions, art exhibitions and filming, with the Sydney Biennale being a major drawcard for visitors. A regular public ferry service provides transport to Cockatoo Island for workers and visitors. Short stay accommodation is available in renovated houses and a camping ground has been established on the landscaped northern apron. School programs attract many groups and tours, self guided, audio or guided cater for a growing number of visitors.

 

Extensive conservation work has been carried out to many buildings and a stonework conservation program has commenced for the World Heritage listed convict buildings. An archaeological research program has revealed additional convict remains, in particular two isolation cells and storage areas hidden under the Cookhouse of the convict barracks.

 


Figure 23: Launch of HMAS Success (1984)
The replenishment ship HMAS Success was the biggest naval ship to be built in Australia and the last to be built at Cockatoo Island. It was launched in March 1984 and is still in service with the RAN.
Title: Figure 23: Historical photograph of launch of HMAS Success - Description: Figure 23: Photograph of launch of HMAS Success (1984)

Title: Cover page - Chapter 6 - Description: Cover page - Chapter 6 - Analysis and Assessment - Management Plan Cockatoo Island. Photograph of interior of Building 150, Cockatoo Island. 


6 ANALYSIS AND ASSESSMENT

INSERT FULL PAGE PHOTO

 


 


 

6.     Analysis and Assessment

 

Heritage Listings

 

World Heritage List

On 31 July 2010, “Australian Convict Sites” serial property of 11 sites was inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage List, (reference 1306). The sites are:

 

§  Old Government House and Domain (Parramatta),

§  Hyde Park Barracks (Sydney)

§  Cockatoo Island Convict Site (Sydney)

§  Old Great North Road (near Wiseman’s Ferry)

§  Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (Norfolk Island)

§  Port Arthur Historic Site (Port Arthur)

§  Cascades Female Factory (Hobart)

§  Darlington Probation Station (Maria Island)

§  Coal Mines Historic Site (Norfolk Bay)

§  Brickendon-Woolmers Estates (near Longford)

§  Fremantle Prison (Western Australia)

 

The listing of the eleven complementary sites constitutes an outstanding and large-scale example of the forced migration of convicts, who were condemned to transportation to the distant colonies of the British Empire. The various sites illustrate the different types of convict settlement used to serve colonial development projects, including Fitzroy Dock and the Engineers’ and Blacksmiths’ Workshop on Cockatoo Island. The listing specifically relates to the following World Heritage criteria;

 

 

 

Criterion (iv): The Australian convict sites constitute an outstanding example of the way in which conventional forced labour and national prison systems were transformed, in major European nations in the 18th and 19th centuries, into a system of deportation and forced labour forming part of the British Empire's vast colonial project. They illustrate the variety of the creation of penal colonies to serve the many material needs created by the development of a new territory. They bear witness to a penitentiary system which had many objectives, ranging from severe punishment used as a deterrent to forced labour for men, women and children, and the rehabilitation of the convicts through labour and discipline.

 

Criterion (vi): The transportation of criminals, delinquents, and political prisoners to colonial lands by the great nation states between the 18th and 20th centuries is an important aspect of human history, especially with regard to its penal, political and colonial dimensions. The Australian convict settlements provide a particularly complete example of this history and the associated symbolic values derived from discussions in modern and contemporary European society. They illustrate an active phase in the occupation of colonial lands to the detriment of the Aboriginal peoples, and the process of creating a colonial population of European origin through the dialectic of punishment and transportation followed by forced labour and social rehabilitation to the eventual social integration of convicts as settlers.

 

Full text of the above listings can be found at Appendix 8.

 

National Heritage List

 

Cockatoo Island is listed as Historic Place No.105928 on the National Heritage List (Place File No. 1/12/022/0089). Full text of the above listings can be found at Appendix 9.

 


 

Commonwealth Heritage List

 

Cockatoo Island Industrial Conservation Area is listed as Historic Place No.105262 on the Commonwealth Heritage List (Place File No. 1/12/022/0089).

 

The following individual items and precincts on the island are also identified on the Commonwealth Heritage List:

§  The Barracks Block, Historic Place No.105257, Place File No. 1/12/022/0085

§  Prison Barracks Precinct, Historic Place No. 105256, Place File No. 1/12/022/0085

§  Mess Hall (former), Historic Place No. 105259, Place File No. 1/12/022/0085

§  Military Guard Room, Historic Place No. 105258, Place File No. 1/12/022/0085

§  Underground Grain Silos, Historic Place No. 105264, Place File No. 1/12/022/0092

§  Biloela Group, Historic Place No. 105263, Place File No. 1/12/022/0090

§  Fitzroy Dock, Historic Place No.105261, Place File No. 1/12/022/0088

§  Sutherland Dock, Historic Place No. 105260, Place File No. 1/12/022/0087 and;

§  Powerhouse/ Pump house, Historic Place No, 105265, Place File No. 1/12/022/0086

 

Full text of the above listings can be found at Appendix 10.

 

Cockatoo Island Industrial Conservation Area and the above items are also listed on the Register of the National Estate and the National Trust of Australia Register of Classified Places.

 

Conservation Management Plans

There are two main Conservation Management Plans (CMPs) for all of Cockatoo Island, one covering the Convict Era, the other the Dockyard Era. The CMP for Convict Era Buildings and Remains was completed by the NSW Government Architect’s Office (GAO) in 2009, while the CMP for the Cockatoo Island Dockyard was completed by consultants Godden Mackay Logan (GML) in 2007. The 2007 CMP by GML also includes a detailed Archaeological Management Plan.

 

In addition, there are also specific CMPs for the following individual buildings:

  • Building 58 (Powerhouse) - Godden Mackay Logan 2005
  • Buildings 6, 12 and 13 - Conybeare Morrison Pty Ltd 2004
  • Buildings 10, 21, 23, and 24 - Robertson and Hindmarsh 2003

 

The methodology used in the CMPs to assess significance generally follows the format set out in James Semple Kerr’s The Conservation Plan. The CMPs assessed the cultural significance of the island by examining the way in which its extant fabric demonstrates its function, associations and aesthetic qualities.

 

The World, National and Commonwealth Heritage values included in this plan were taken from the listing of the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property, National Heritage List and Commonwealth Heritage List. However, summary statements of significance from the CMPs have also been included and these assist in describing the then-potential World, National and Commonwealth Heritage values of Cockatoo Island.

 


 

Archaeological Assessments

Cockatoo Island includes substantial standing and sub-surface archaeological features.

 

In 2007, GAO and GML conducted an archaeological assessment of Cockatoo Island, which resulted in the production of the archaeological potential maps for the Convict Era remains (at Appendix 3) and the Dockyard era (Appendix 4), to guide future work on Cockatoo Island.

 

The assessment found that evidence of many additional buildings and features from the convict and institutional era are likely to be present as an archaeological resource below the current ground level. The natural rock of the island is often very close to the surface, thus evidence of features that have been cut down into the rock, like trenches, wells and pits, are likely to survive.

 

The intensity of activities on the island (construction, quarrying, and land reclamation) are most likely to have destroyed all evidence of the pre-European environment.

 

The archaeological assessment summarises the potential and known key dockyard and industrial archaeological resources on Cockatoo Island and identifies their archaeological and heritage significance. The assessment determined that subsurface archaeological features and deposits relating to the dockyard and industrial uses may be present throughout Cockatoo Island, although most of the island has been subject to disturbance.

 

In those areas identified as having archaeological potential, a monitoring program will be carried out during any sub surface exposure or removal of superficial layers. A qualified archaeologist will undertake this monitoring.

 

Cultural Landscape

The GML and GAO CMPs describe Cockatoo Island’s cultural landscape as follows:

 

The cultural landscape of Cockatoo Island is a continuing landscape, and many of the earlier convict-built components of the site have vanished to make way for additional dockyard facilities. The industrial character of the cultural landscape of the island has developed from the interaction of maritime and prison activity and is articulated by man made cliffs, stone walls and steps, docks, cranes, slipways and built forms. The changing pattern of use of the island was to facilitate industrial production, as technology changed and as demand increased. The cessation of shipbuilding activities on the island and the clearing of buildings that occurred resulted in substantial evidence of the cultural landscape being removed, particularly to the aprons. Most of the significant vegetation on the island comprises planted ornamentals on the central sandstone area, although there are also elements such as the banks of ferns growing on the sandstone cutting beside the Turbine Hall.

 

The CMPs recommend that the cultural landscape be conserved by:

  • retaining remnant natural topography, indigenous vegetation and fauna;
  • retaining remnant evidence of gardens and significant tree plantings, which demonstrate different cultural expectations and aspirations in different periods and social contexts;
  • Limiting vehicles on the island; and
  • Retaining major land form modifications, including reclaimed foreshore areas, cuttings, walls, excavated docks, tunnels and roadways which express significant developments and events on the island.

 

These findings are consistent with the 2001 survey of cultural plantings on the island, undertaken by the Harbour Trust landscape architect, Craig Burton. This survey identified plantings of cultural significance and areas for further investigation and these are illustrated in Appendix 2.

 

Natural Values

In 2003 GIS Environmental Consultants were engaged to undertake a flora and fauna study of Cockatoo Island. See Figure 24-Environmental Considerations.

 

The study found that the:

  • Original flora and fauna on Cockatoo Island would have been an unusual mixture of species due to an absence of fire, isolation caused by the surrounding seawater, the lack of reliable source of fresh water and the strong marine influence;
  • Island would never have had a high diversity of species;
  • Island is highly developed and does not provide much quality habitat for native fauna;
  • Grassed areas on the lower levels provide foraging habitat for lapwing plovers, herons and starlings, but there is little cover for bush birds;
  • Hard covered surfaces on the south and west sides of the island provide basking areas for skinks;
  • Grey-headed Flying foxes, listed as a Vulnerable Species, forage on Port Jackson Figs on the northern slope. These figs are also a potential food source for the Superb Fruit-Dove;
  • Vacant buildings provide shelter for birds, skinks and rats;
  • Vegetative layers support a range of invertebrate prey suitable for insectivorous birds, mammals, and reptiles;
  • Island is considered to be ideal habitat for several species of insectivorous microbats, many of which are identified as threatened species under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act, 1999. However, no microbats were detected;
  • Pilings and piers extending from the south side of the island provide roosting habitat for seabirds such as Pied Cormorant, Little Pied Cormorant and Little Black Cormorant; and
  • Rocky foreshore provides potential habitat for Water rats and a wide variety of marine animals and plants. In particular, the foreshore on the northern side of the island provides habitat for a colony of Silver Gulls.

 

The report also identified:

  • Two tree species listed as Vulnerable in the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999. These are the Narrow-leaved Black Peppermint (Eucalyptus nicholii) and the Magenta Lilly Pilly (Syzygium paniculatum). Both of these trees were planted as ornamental specimens; and
  • Two uncommon species of fern allies, the Scrambling Club moss (Lycopodium cernuum) and the Skeleton Fork Fern (Psilotum nudum). The Skeleton Fork Fern appears in small patches along the cliff face between the Parramatta Wharf and the Turbine Work Shop (Building 150) and the Scrambling Club moss occurs near the entrance to Tunnel No 3.

 

The report recommended that:

  • The large Port Jackson figs should be protected to provide foraging habitat for the vulnerable Grey-headed Flying Fox and the Superb Fruit-Dove;

§  The Narrow-leaved Peppermint and the Magenta Lilly Pilly should be protected;

§  The fern allies should be protected by ensuring spraying or clearing of plants on the cliff edge does not occur;

§  The fern allies be identified with appropriate interpretive signage;

§  Bush regeneration should be carried out on the weedy areas on the sides and top of the plateau;

§  The maintenance of gardens should ensure that exotic species are not allowed to invade the regenerated areas;

§  A vegetation management plan may be appropriate to ensure suitable species are planted in the correct locations, to ensure weeds are controlled and bushland areas will becomes self sustaining;

§  Fire should not be used as a bush regeneration technique;

  • A nesting area at the western corner of the Northern apron should be dedicated for a limited population of Silver Gulls to ensure the viability of the Silver Gull colony; and
  • Insect killing lights (bug zappers) should not be used on the island so that a food supply for bat species is maintained.

 

Cockatoo Island is one of many sites in Sydney Harbour that serves as a nesting point for Silver Gulls. The population of gulls on the island are aggressive and in some areas their excrement – which is acidic – is causing damage to the building fabric. The Harbour Trust will investigate ways of controlling the population of gulls and will liaise with other relevant stakeholders in relation to this.

 

Site Contamination

The Island has undergone an extensive program of remediation, however understanding the history of ship building and engineering on Cockatoo Island is key to appreciating the historical environmental condition of the island. Contamination on the island has resulted from the previous land filling and waste disposal practices as well as the spillage and release of chemicals and materials. Consequently, various types of contaminants have been reported in soils, surface-water, groundwater and near shore sediments. Hazardous materials were also associated with the various buildings and structures, some pavements and other building surfaces.

 

Extensive assessment of contamination on Cockatoo Island was carried out following the closure of the Dockyard in 1991. The Cockatoo Island Environmental Characterisation report, prepared by the Cockatoo Island Rehabilitation Consortium (CIRC) provides a useful review of contamination on the island at that time.

 

Since assuming ownership of the island, the Harbour Trust has commissioned specialist consultants to conduct an independent environmental audit and prepare a draft Site Audit Report (SAR) for Cockatoo Island. Environmental studies, Remediation Action Plans and Validation Reports have also been prepared for parts of the site. A remediation and environmental management strategy has also been developed, which was based on the previous assessment reports and the recommendations provided by the audit. The remediation strategy and other environmental requirements are to be documented in the Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for the island. A summary of this strategy is provided in the ‘Outcomes’ section of this Plan. Details of the extensive building decontamination, remediation, assessment and monitoring projects completed by the Harbour Trust on Cockatoo Island are discussed later in this Plan.

 

The following provides a summary of site conditions at the time of the closure of the Dockyard.

 

Soils and fill

In its original state, Cockatoo Island was a heavily timbered knoll occupying approximately 13 hectares. Filling occurred from the early development of the site, finally increasing the island’s area to the current 17.9 hectares. From the establishment of the penal settlement, cut fill and trade wastes were disposed by addition to the Island’s foreshores. After the Fitzroy Dock was completed in 1857, the industrial component of the fill is likely to have increased. From 1910 industrial trade wastes were transported out to sea for disposal, however the disposal of building rubble and other solid wastes continued along the shorelines. By 1917, all but the north-western shoreline was completed to the present extent.

 

Barge disposal at sea ceased in 1940 and trade wastes were added to the rubble used for shoreline advancement in the northwest part of the Island until 1960. As a result, much of the fill used on Cockatoo Island included sandstone, demolition rubble, slag, ash, coke, scrap metal, fibro cement and general rubbish. Contamination in these materials was predominantly heavy metals, Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and asbestos. Historical evidence also suggested that process wastes were routinely disposed in this area. These wastes included electroplating sludge (heavy metals, cyanides) and anti-foul wastes (mainly Tributyltin - TBT).

 

Studies showed that fill in other areas of the island had a higher component of natural materials, being mainly sandstone, marine sands and silt with some building rubble and process wastes. However, in addition to filling, there were other sources of contamination (or laydown mechanisms) at Cockatoo Island. A draft report prepared by Sinclair Knight Merz in 2003 listed the main types:

§  Localised dumping and/or spillage of wastes associated with former operations, examples include:

o   The former pipe laundry (Buildings 32 and 33) area, located at the north eastern corner of the site where chlorinated solvents were used and stored;

o   Grit blast wastes containing heavy metals that remain on the surface of the southern apron and in the power house/ coal bunker area;

§  Leakage of chemicals or fuels from above and below ground storage tanks, pits and associated pipe work;

§  Atmospheric fallout from operations that may have impacted the exposed near-surface soils across the site, such as from the boiler house chimney, incinerator, furnace stacks etc. Atmospheric fallout is likely to have been responsible for contamination of the grassed areas of the plateau, where there were no recorded industrial operations;

§  Leakage, outflows and accumulation of contaminated sediments and wastes in the sewerage and stormwater systems, including disused septic tanks;

§  Discharge to soils from hazardous building materials, including lead based paints, asbestos sheeting and lagging, PCB electrical fittings and coal tar based bitumen pavements;

§  Pesticide/ herbicide treatments for control of rodents and weeds;

§  Contamination associated with special processes, such as the X-Ray laboratory, weapons stores etc, and;

§  Migration of contaminants into the Docks and sediments in surrounding waterways.

 

The main contaminants of concern in soils and fill were considered to be metals and metalloids, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, organotin compounds and asbestos. However, other contaminants such as petroleum hydrocarbons, cyanides, solvent chemicals or polychlorinated bi-phenyl compounds were also identified as potentially occurring in localised areas.

 


Title: Figure 24: Environmental Considerations - Description: Figure 24: Environmental Considerations 


Figure 24: Environmental Considerations

 

 


 


In 2004 the Harbour Trust commissioned HLA Envirosciences to conduct the following soil assessments to address information deficiencies identified by the auditor:

 

§  Supplementary soil assessment of the plateau area, and

§  An asbestos in soils survey covering the island

 

The supplementary assessment of the plateau area was carried out so that remediation requirements could be defined, particularly with respect to PAHs and depth of contamination. This assessment confirmed that metals (mainly lead) and PAHs exceeded the relevant health-based criteria for the uses proposed for this part of Cockatoo Island, and therefore remediation would be required.

 

The asbestos in soils survey was carried out to map the distribution of asbestos based materials within surface soils, which had not been adequately addressed in previous assessments. Asbestos materials were observed and detected in various areas, mainly on the Northern Apron, Southern Apron and Plateau. All visible bonded asbestos fragments identified by this assessment were removed by hand in February 2005, although some individual fibres remained. Remaining asbestos fibres were not considered to present a significant risk to users of the site as long as the soils in these areas are stable and remain undisturbed. This has been achieved in the short term in the plateau area by laying down temporary clean surface cover in priority areas consisting of topsoil/ grass or gravel. Long-term requirements will need to be considered in the remediation of each area.

 

Results from assessments showed that soils in all areas of Cockatoo Island contained contamination exceeding one or more of the health-based criteria applicable for the land uses being considered by the Harbour Trust, and therefore remediation would be required.

Stormwater and Sewerage System

During Dockyard operations, contaminated wastes were either disposed of or washed into the stormwater and sewerage systems. These systems were in poor condition, with sludge and grit remaining in pits, lines and tanks. Assessment of wastes in these systems showed elevated levels of heavy metals and PAHs, however other contaminants may also have been present. This represented a potential source of ground contamination, which could have become mobile under high flow conditions and migrated into the surrounding aquatic environment.

 

During Dockyard operations, stormwater either flowed directly to the harbour, or via the remaining system of pits and pipes. Some ponding and ground infiltration may still occur, particularly in areas where buildings have been demolished and ground slabs remain. The island’s sewerage system, which is no longer in use, was comprised of:

 

§  Sewerage treatment plant (Building 56), located on the western side of the island adjacent to the Power House and Pumping Station;

§  A sewerage transfer station (Building 149); and

§  At least 9 septic tanks located around the site.

 

The Harbour Trust initially installed a small temporary sewage treatment plant to meet the needs of visitors and the workforce engaged for rehabilitation of the island, however as use of the Island increased, this facility was replaced by a macerator, that treats effluents prior to connection with the Sydney Water system near Elkington Park, Balmain.


 

Title: Photograph of cranes on Southerland Dock - Description: Photograph of cranes on Southerland Dock (c2000s) 

 



Surface and Groundwater

A number of surface water and groundwater investigations were undertaken on Cockatoo Island in the 1990s. In 2001, the Harbour Trust also carried out a program of water quality monitoring in harbour waters surrounding the island (PPK, 2001), which found:

 

§  Dissolved copper, zinc, mercury and organotin compounds are considered to be the main contaminants of concern in groundwater, as they have been recorded as elevated with respect to the Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Water Quality, 2000 (ANZECC). Groundwater quality has been noted to vary significantly within fill material over short distances;

§  Surface water investigations carried out in 2001 identified that copper, zinc and tributyltin were the main contaminants of concern for surface waters surrounding the site. However, only zinc may be having a marginal impact on harbour water quality as copper and tributyltin were not elevated with respect to background water quality, and;

§  Hydrocarbons, including volatile chlorinated compounds have been identified in groundwater (and soils) in the region of the former pipe laundry.

 

In 2004, the Harbour Trust commissioned the following studies, based on the auditor’s recommendations:

 

§  Soil vapour and groundwater assessment in the Pipe Laundry area; and

§  Ground and surface water monitoring program.

 

The Pipe Laundry assessment was carried out to determine the current extent of hydrocarbon contamination in the area. While hydrocarbon contamination had been identified in groundwater and soil vapour in this area in the past, this assessment identified that this was now not the case, and that concentrations appear to have naturally attenuated. Importantly, hydrocarbon was also not found in groundwater down gradient of the Pipe Laundry area.

 

December 2004 results of the ground and surface water monitoring program confirmed the previous results, with the following exceptions:

 

§  Cadmium was recorded in ground water exceeding the relevant trigger level in the northern part of the site;

§  Elevated concentrations of organotin compounds exceeding the relevant trigger levels were detected in all eight surface water locations around the site; and

§  No heavy metals, PCBs or free cyanide concentrations were detected in any surface water samples.

 

As these waters are not currently utilised for drinking or recreation, there is limited opportunity for exposure to this contamination. However, there is potential for impact on the local harbour environment, particularly as background levels within the harbour decrease due to the removal of other sources of this contamination in the harbour. The Harbour Trust will continue ground and surface water monitoring, as remediation and management of the island progresses.

 

Near Shore Sediments

Previous assessment has shown that sub-surface sediments surrounding Cockatoo island and in the Sutherland and Fitzroy docks are contaminated with respect to the ‘Interim’ Sediment Quality Guidelines from ANZECC (2000), which the NSW Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) has endorsed. The principal contaminants exceeding these guidelines are copper, lead, mercury, zinc and tributyltin.

 

In 1998, CIRC carried out a review of sediment quality data immediately surrounding the island, as well as in the surrounding region of the harbour. The CIRC concluded that while elevated concentrations of contaminants were present both within the island’s boundary and nearby, contaminants in sediments remote from the island were also at elevated concentrations, and that any further investigations would need to consider the sediment data in the context of the surrounding environment.

 

Potential human health risks from sediment contamination may arise from the consumption of fish, or by direct contact during swimming or wading. However, CIRC (1998) considered that this risk was low, based on available fish tissue analytical data and the low potential for contact with sediments. CIRC (1998) did not recommend any specific remediation or management requirements for the sediments. This was largely due to the absence of a regulatory framework at that time.

 

In 2003, the Site Auditor also reviewed the sediment data around Cockatoo Island, and considered that:

 

§  There was an adequate level of chemical information for most contaminants of concern in sediments, both surrounding the island and in the docks, with the exception of Tributyltin;

§  This information indicated that concentrations of copper, lead, mercury, zinc and tributyltin in sediments within the docks and around the island exceeded the relevant criteria from ANZECC (2000) and background concentrations;

§  Available information indicated that sediment contamination is also present in large areas of the waterways surrounding the island, and;

§  It was not yet possible to assess the risks to human health and the environment from contaminated sediments around Cockatoo Island, and that further action would be required before an appropriate management and or remediation strategy could be defined.

 

The auditor recommended that additional information be gathered to assess the bioavailability of contaminated sediments in accordance with ANZECC 2000. The Harbour Trust’s response to these recommendations, as well as an interim sediment management strategy is discussed in the Outcomes section of this plan.

 

Hazardous Materials

As a result of historical uses of the site, residual hazardous materials associated with buildings and structures may have presented potential health hazards for future use of the site, and may be a source of soil and surface contamination in all areas. Hazardous materials included asbestos and asbestos containing materials, Synthetic Mineral Fibre (SMF), deteriorating lead paint systems, poly-chlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and dusts and sediments on building surfaces containing lead and other inorganic and organic contaminants. However, in recent years, Cockatoo Island has undergone an extensive program of removal of hazardous materials.

 

In October 1998, Woodward-Clyde and CMPS&F undertook an environmental characterisation study of Cockatoo Island for the Department of Defence. As part of this study, a hazardous materials survey of materials associated with buildings, structures and machinery was conducted. The Harbour Trust also conducted further detailed surveys of buildings in order to prepare hazardous materials abatement plans and registers for implementation prior to building refurbishment, demolition or lease. At the commencement of the Harbour Trust’s occupation of Cockatoo Island:

 

§  Small amounts of friable asbestos materials remained on the site. These included asbestos insulation on small furnaces, boilers and pipes, asbestos seals and gaskets, asbestos cored fire doors and globe supports. Most of these materials have now been removed. The majority of the remaining asbestos materials were in the form of asbestos cement products, such as corrugated asbestos cement (AC), and flat AC sheet walls and ceilings. Other minor materials included asbestos backing boards and arc shields in electrical cabinets and AC fragments in some locations. Materials were found to be in generally good to fair condition, and did not provide an unacceptable immediate health risk while they were undisturbed.

§  SMF existed in several buildings in the form of roof insulation batts and insulation around hot water pipes. These materials were generally in good condition, and did not pose a health risk while they were undisturbed.

§  More than 50% of the sample capacitors associated with light fittings contained elevated levels of PCBs, which required management as Scheduled PCB wastes. Any electrical transformers that remained on the island may also have contained PCB contaminated oil.

§  Paint samples collected from building surfaces showed generally all paint systems on the island may be considered to have contained lead, ranging up to 26% w/w, plus other heavy metals. The majority of the lead-based paint systems identified showed signs of deterioration and in many areas, paint systems were blistering and peeling. During any refurbishment of buildings, paint debris should be handled and disposed of according to applicable standards and guidelines. Demolition of buildings does not require removal of paints from surfaces.

§  Samples collected from the interior of buildings reported elevated lead concentrations, which may be attributable to deteriorating paint surfaces. Dust samples collected from the Powerhouse contained elevated concentrations of mercury, which was likely to be due to past spillages. Accessible dusts are to be removed from within the buildings to be retained prior to permitting public access.

§  Other miscellaneous hazardous materials include small volume chemicals, oily and aqueous liquid wastes in tanks and pits, electrical wastes (batteries, transformers and switch boards), metal swarf and general rubbish.

 

It is the Harbour Trust’s policy to undertake hazardous materials survey, removal and abatement programs prior to building refurbishment or demolition. As discussed later in this Plan, this has been completed for many of the buildings across Cockatoo Island. Any remaining hazardous materials in these areas, such as AC sheeting in good condition, will be managed in accordance with hazardous materials register and management plan prepared for the site.

 

Remediation & Decontamination Works Undertaken to Date

Most of the machinery, equipment and waste, and many of the buildings, associated with the Cockatoo Island Dockyard operation were removed following the 1992 decommissioning of the island – see Appendix 1. However some significant machinery remains. Most significant of these are the 38 cranes (11 external) from various periods of the island’s development.

 

In 1999/2000 Thiess Environmental Services carried out the following works for the Department of Defence, under the direction of the CIRC:

 

§  Decontamination of Building 117 in ground pit associated with the electroplating facility;

§  Demolition of Buildings 89, 117, 121 and the Camber Wharf muster station;

§  Removal and disposal of eight known underground storage tanks;

§  Demolition of Wharf crane C301;

§  Demolition and removal of the Old Plate Wharf, Cruiser Wharf, Destroyer Wharf, Ruby Wharf and steps and the Camber Wharf. Timber from this activity was piled in the Turbine Hall (Building 150); and

§  Sea wall reconstruction in selected areas.

 

Concrete material stockpiles on the northern apron were recycled from clean building demolition materials generated during this period.

 

Between 2002 and 2008, the Harbour Trust carried out rehabilitation of the Eastern Apron and entry plaza areas, Plateau, Northern Apron and Southern Apron. This work involved:

 

§  Gross decontamination of buildings;

§  Survey, removal or abatement of hazardous materials to allow for building conservation and repairs;

§  Removal and disposal of visible asbestos fragments and other gross wastes across all surfaces;

  • Management of excavated clean and contaminated materials;
  • Installation of new concrete and bitumen hardstand in localised areas;
  • Placement of clean separation layers over modified unsealed areas. This has generally comprised of a geofabric marker under clean crushed concrete, topsoil and turf;

§  Recycling and removal of wastes from around the island; and

§  Decommissioning/reinstatement of the stormwater/sewer network, and service trenching/laying out of new services.

 

It is the Harbour Trust’s policy to undertake hazardous materials surveys, removal and abatement programs prior to building refurbishment or demolition. Since 2005, above ground and subsurface hazardous materials and contamination has been progressively removed from Cockatoo Island, or contained in situ, using a risk-based approach.

 

In 2012, the Harbour Trust engaged Hibbs and Associates Pty Ltd to prepare a Hazardous Material Survey and Scheme of Management for Cockatoo Island, such as AC sheeting in good condition. The report made recommendations and risk assessment for the management of any remaining hazardous materials located within buildings and structures on Cockatoo Island. The findings of this assessment have informed in the Harbour Trust’s Hazardous Materials Register for Cockatoo Island, which is regularly updated.

 

Remediation of Cockatoo Island has continued, with the vast majority of hazardous or potentially hazardous materials from buildings and cranes now safely isolated, treated or removed from the site.

 

Compliance with the Building Code of Australia

Many aspects of the buildings on Cockatoo Island have a range of features that do not comply with the current Building Code of Australia (BCA). Principal among these are stairs, handrails and balustrades but there are also issues of access and mobility for people with disabilities. The existing buildings and structures on the site are being gradually upgraded or refurbished, to enable occupation.

 

BCA assessments have been undertaken to facilitate public access for events such as the Cockatoo Island Festival, Biennale and Outpost street art festival. The purpose of each assessments is to:

 

  • Identify potential risks for example workplace health and public safety, structural, fire;
  • Assess the relevant buildings in relation to the Building Code of Australia;
  • Ensure that any recommendations do not compromise the heritage and aesthetic values of the island; and
  • Minimise the need for the removal or adaptation of the existing fabric.

 

Identification of more specific building compliance issues are carried out once individual building uses have been determined. The heritage values of the site will need to be recognised throughout the assessment process and will be an important consideration in the development of appropriate solutions.

 

Repairs to Buildings and Structures

The buildings on the island had been disused since 1992 and there had been no repairs or maintenance carried out until the Harbour Trust began undertaking repair and stabilisation works in 2001. Work undertaken by the Harbour Trust includes:

 

§  Repairs to the Parramatta and Camber Wharves to allow safe ferry and access for people with a disability;

§  Renovation to the Administration building (Building 30) to accommodate an educational facility and office space;

§  Provision of toilets and essential services;

§  General building repairs including painting, decontamination, waterproofing and roof repairs;

§  Repairs to houses and apartments to facilitate their use for short term and permanent accommodation;

§  Re-pointing of the chimney of the Power House including replacement of over 3000 bricks and refurbishment of the original lightning conductors;

§  Remediation of the Northern Apron including construction of a campground with accompanying public amenities; and

§  Grounds maintenance and garden restoration.

 

Notwithstanding this there is still a considerable amount of basic repair and maintenance necessary. The current condition of the wharves, sea-walls and related structures is similar to the condition of the buildings on the island. The majority have been disused since 1992, with little or no maintenance being carried out until the Harbour Trust began undertaking repair and stabilisation works in 2001.

 

Condition of Services

In 2002, the Harbour Trust commissioned PPK Consulting to undertake a detailed survey in order to establish the extent and condition of site services. The study examinedelectricity, telephone, water, fire, sewerage and stormwater services and made a number of recommendations to rationalise and upgrade the services. The study concluded that most of the services required significant repair and upgrading. As a result, the Harbour Trust is progressively upgrading building and site services to improve facilities for Island workers and visitors.

 

Stormwater

Stormwater from Cockatoo Island discharged directly into the harbour and floor drainage from many of the buildings historically drained into the stormwater system. Originally, surface run-off from other potentially contaminated areas also entered the stormwater system.

 

 


Title: Photograph of water tower - Description: Photograph of water tower in Ship Design Precinct (c2000s)

The Harbour Trust has been progressively sealing off, and/or cleaning existing drains, pits and pipes of contaminated sediments to prevent discharge into the harbour. Where future activities such as boat building would produce industrial wastewater, the surface water will need to be separated from other areas using bunds, and run-off from these areas will need to be treated separately in order to comply with NSW environmental requirements.

 

Sewerage

Since the Dockyard ceased operations in 1992, the island's self-contained sewerage system has been unused. Initially, the Harbour Trust installed a temporary sewage treatment plant, however, this has been replaced by a macerator that treats effluents prior to connection with the Sydney Water system near Elkington Park, Balmain

 

Water Supply and Fire Services

Cockatoo Island is connected to the mains pressure supply direct from the mainland. This service was renewed in 2015, with a HDPE pipe connecting to the Sydney Water pumping station at Elkington Park, Balmain. On-Island pipes will be progressively upgraded or replaced. In 2010, eight rainwater harvesting systems were installed across Cockatoo Island. Rainwater and stormwater is collected from roofs and hard stand, and reticulated for use in toilets and urinals. This saves in excess of 2 million litres of potable water each year.

 

Original fire services infrastructure is being progressively upgraded through the provision of sprinklers, fire detection systems and portable suppression equipment such as blankets and hose reels. Buildings with permanent tenants, or those which are regularly used for events have been upgraded as a priority. The Harbour Trust is investigating installation of a wireless fire detection system that would achieve more efficient and effective protection of assets.

 

Mechanical, Power and Telecommunications Services

There is no significant operational mechanical services infrastructure remaining on the island from the Dockyard period, such as ventilation, hoisting equipment or the like.

 

At the time of the island’s closure, internal and external lighting was generally inoperable except for some general area lighting and the lighting of the island’s perimeter. However, the electricity system has recently been reinstated with the installation of a new AC power ring main.

 

In 2010, the Harbour Trust received funding from the Federal Government for the installation of a 65 kW grid-connected photovoltaic arrays on the roof of the Industrial Precinct. The array comprises 216 SCHOTT Solar 300 watt Double Glass modules and six SMA SMC10000TL inverters. Taking into consideration the existing skylights of the building, the array encompasses over 680 square metres. The array generates more energy than required to supply the Island, with excess returned to the grid.

 

The telecommunications system to the island formerly comprised only 200 copper lines, but this was recently improved through the installation of fibre optic cabling (144 pairs) from Balmain.

 

In 2011, a mobile telecommunications base station (containing technical equipment for the Telstra, Optus and Vodafone networks) was installed at the base of the water tower on the Plateau. This equipment improves services for users of mobile telephones on Cockatoo Island and nearby mainland suburbs.

 

The provision of new services and distribution will be tailored to future requirements.

 

Transport Management

In 2003 the Harbour Trust commissioned Kellogg Brown and Root Pty Ltd to prepare a Transport Management Plan (TMP) for Cockatoo Island. The aim of the TMP is to manage the demand for travel to and from Cockatoo Island through the:

 

  • Identification of optimum land bases for the transfer of goods and people to the Island;
  • Identification of required Island-based transport/transfer facilities; and
  • Recommendation of a package of transport and land use management measures, designed to manage water access effectively and minimise the impacts of land bases for their surrounding areas.

 

Suitable Land Bases

The report identifies a number of potential land bases suitable for transfer of goods and services to the island during the island’s construction and operation periods. See Figure 25 - Land Bases. It identifies bases for everyday use and bases that would only be used occasionally. The everyday land bases were selected on the basis that they could include Roll-On/Roll-Off ramp facilities, secure storage, including refrigerated storage, vehicle turning space and a limited amount of parking space. The occasional use sites have been selected primarily for their close proximity to Cockatoo Island and either have a currently available ramp or easy future access.

 

The barge ramp at the Woolwich Horse Paddock is the main access point for the transportation of goods and services to Cockatoo Island, due to its proximity to the Island, and being under the Harbour Trust’s control. This is closely controlled to minimise any impacts on Woolwich residents’ amenity, and the operation of the Hunters Hill Sailing Club. These controls include limiting the days and hours of access, and implementing a booking system for barge access to avoid vehicles queuing. Further, the Harbour Trust liaises closely with Hunters Hill Council to effectively manage use of the barge ramp.

 

Although the Harbour Trust site at Woolwich is the main access point to Cockatoo Island, other land bases may be considered as alternative options, particularly for large events or civil construction projects.

 

Passengers

The report recommends that visitor access to the island could be by either passenger ferry or private boat.

 

In 2007, regular passenger services to Cockatoo Island were integrated into the Sydney Ferries (now Harbour City Ferries) network. Two passenger routes service Cockatoo Island:

 

  • Circular Quay-Parramatta (via Darling Harbour) (route F3); and
  • Circular Quay-Cockatoo Island (via Balmain East, Birchgrove, Greenwich Point and Woolwich) (route F3).

 

These services have been gradually improved over the intervening years, with the result that the Island is now well-connected, with frequent services in both directions, from early in the morning to late in the day, 7 days a week. During events, additional ferries supplement the regular service to provide adequate capacity.

 

Public ferry wharves at which services collect passengers travelling to and from Cockatoo Island are shown in Figure 25.

 


Title: Figure 25: Land Bases and Passenger Transport Routes - Description: Figure 25: Land Bases and Passenger Transport Routes for Cockatoo Island 

 

 


Figure 25: Land Bases and Passenger Transport Routes

Updated drawing

 


On-Island Facilities

The report recommends that for operational purposes the island provide two passenger wharves and two Roll on/Roll off ramps for receiving goods and visitors. The report identifies infrastructure suitable for upgrade or redevelopment to provide access to Cockatoo Island for freight and passengers. These are:

 

Roll-On/Roll-Off Ramp:

  • Adjacent to former Fitzroy Wharf (Southern Apron); and
  • No. 2 Slipway (Northern Apron).

 

Passenger Ferries

  • Parramatta Wharf (Eastern Apron); and
  • Camber Wharf (Southern Apron).

 

The report also suggests that the Sutherland Wharf is suitable for craning materials on and off the island from barges or ferries.

 

The Parramatta Wharf is used for the regular ferry service, and the Camber Wharf has been used as an “overflow” access point during events, or for charter ferries.

 

Some recommendations of this report have been incorporated into the Outcomes section of this report.

 

Noise Impact Assessment

In August 2004 the Harbour Trust commissioned Dick Benbow & Associates Pty Ltd to undertake a Noise Impact Assessment of Cockatoo Island. As part of this study a detailed noise survey was conducted across the residential areas surrounding the Island. Reasonable noise limits were established to protect the acoustic amenity of these areas. These limits set the noise design objectives that activities on Cockatoo Island would need to be able to satisfy. The ability of potential activities to meet the objectives was then assessed through extensive noise modeling.

 

The modeling found that there would be numerous activities that can readily satisfy the noise design objectives for day and evening time periods. The southern apron will be able to be used for small maritime industrial activities and the existing workshop buildings will provide sufficient noise reduction. Minor activities in external areas along the southern apron will also readily satisfy daytime noise design objectives. Larger scale maritime activities will require a specific noise management plan to be developed with a set of guideline noise limits for major noise generating equipment to be provided.

 

Large scale events that involve amplified music will also need specific guidelines on the level of noise that can be generated for daytime, evening and night time. The use of PA systems for events will also be critical to noise management.

 

The study also identified a number of other uses such as restaurants and cafes, hotels and conference facilities, and film and TV studios that could be accommodated on the island without having adverse noise impacts.

 

 


 

Title: Drawing of Cockatoo Island from Balmain - Description: Drawing of Cockatoo Island from Balmain with Dawn Fraser Pool in foreground (artist: Nick Hollo)

Title: Cover page - Chapter 7 - Description: Cover page - Chapter 7 - Heritage Values - Management Plan Cockatoo Island. Photograph of Building (Military Guardhouse, c1842), Cockatoo Island. 


 8 HERITAGE VALUES

INSERT FULL PAGE PHOTO


 


7.      Heritage Values

 

Cockatoo Island’s Character

Three major factors combine to create the cultural landscape of Cockatoo Island. First, the island is the largest of the islands in Sydney Harbour, and its location in a broad reach of the Parramatta River, with the smaller Snapper and Spectacle Islands nearby, has considerable aesthetic appeal. Secondly, the island has been home to convict, penal and institutional activity and much fabric survives as evidence of this fact. Finally, Cockatoo Island was for many years home to one of Australia’s major shipbuilding, repair and engineering facilities.

 

The island’s function has been highly varied, ranging from incarceration, heavy shipbuilding and engineering; to small boat construction and design, fine joinery and cabinet making. This diversity of activity is reflected both in the buildings - their materials, scale and pattern of windows - as well as the spaces created between them and their articulation by industrial infrastructure such as rails, slipways, docks, wharves and cranes. It is a place of cuttings: the hillsides cut to form cliffs and the spoil used to form broad aprons, two docks nose to nose, rail tracks, tunnels, slipways and the grain silos cut by hand into the top of the sandstone plateau.

 

The island’s evolution has been accretive as it has been modified and adapted as required - to fulfil a particularly large contract, or to accommodate changes in ship size and building technology. An important character of the island derives from this reworking of existing buildings and facilities.

 

The island was ‘off-limits’ as a gaol and as a naval dockyard, contributing to its sense of mystique. It was also a place of innovation and learning through apprenticeship training.

 

It is the relationship between the island’s physical form and setting, and the layered built form surviving from the various human endeavours that have taken place there - that combine to create today’s landscape and to give us the following key values:

§  The quality of isolation inherent in the island. This was one of the main reasons for its selection as a convict prison and one appreciated by today’s visitors;

§  The layering of uses and history;

§  The hard-edged industrial character;

§  The bleakness of the stone convict compound and associated buildings;

§  The values and examples of innovation and ‘making do’ evident in many of the dockyard buildings; and

§  The tradition of adaptation associated with the dockyard.

 

The following statements of significance have been taken from the Conservation Management Plans prepared for the island by Godden Mackay Logan (Dockyard CMP) and the Government Architect’s Office (Convict Buildings and Remains CMP).

 

Summary Statement of Significance, Convict Buildings and Remains CMP

The following summary statement of significance is taken from Government Architects Office, Conservation Management Plan, 2009. It should be noted that this CMP was finalised prior to the Australian Convict Sites serial property of 11 sites being inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and other properties within the serial listing also have significant heritage values:

 

Cockatoo Island is the only surviving Imperial convict public works establishment that retains most of the major buildings and works from its early construction campaigns. In combination, the physical and documentary record provides a rare opportunity to understand the system of life and work in a place of secondary convict incarceration. It appears to be the only place in the convict system that was established specifically for the purpose of hard labour. It was also unusual in its establishment close to a major centre of population.

 

The use of the Island for the construction and repair of maritime vessels has remained an important aspect of its use throughout its history. Substantial evidence of this use during the convict period exists in Fitzroy Dock and the associated workshop buildings. Fitzroy Dock was the first dry dock planned in Australia, constructed using advanced engineering technology and techniques. The development of the dock reflects rapidly changing applications of steam technology to shipping and ship repair and the rapid spread of information, ideas and technology among the network of professional engineers throughout the British Colonies.

 

Other buildings on the site, particularly the mid nineteenth century Steam Workshop complex and Biloela House, exhibit high quality stone construction, detailing and features.

 

Cockatoo Island has a range of archaeological resources, including rare evidence that has the potential to yield information not available from other sources, about life and work within a place of secondary punishment. They represent elements of the system of life and work on the Island not represented in extant buildings and ruins. The archaeological resources of Cockatoo Island therefore have the potential to substantially contribute to understanding of this period of Australia’s history. They also have the potential to provide a tangible experience for visitors to the Island and a direct link to the people who lived there. Later evidence relating to institutional use of the Island for the care and reform of children, contributes to the ongoing story of Cockatoo Island as a place of work and incarceration.

 

The development and history of Cockatoo Island is intrinsically linked to several Governors of NSW, and noted engineers and military figures, including Governors Gipps and FitzRoy, Major George Barney of the Royal Engineers, Gother Kerr Mann, and Sir William Denison.

 

The Island was closely associated with the Nautical Training Ships Sobraon and Vernon and is likely to contain the only surviving physical evidence of this highly successful scheme. Its use for a girls’ industrial school and reformatory also reflects a lack of adequate financial support for purpose built accommodation for juvenile care for girls in the later nineteenth century. These later uses contribute to the significance of the place but are not in themselves of outstanding heritage significance, particularly as physical remains from this period are minimal.

 

Cockatoo Island, by virtue of its location, manipulated landform, collection of buildings, works and potential archaeological resources from a significant period of Australia’s history is a cultural landscape of State and National Significance. Because of its early use as an imperial convict public works establishment, its ongoing use for construction and repair and the extensive evidence of these important uses that remains on the island, Cockatoo Island has outstanding heritage value to the nation.
Title: Photograph of Convict Precinct  - Description: Photograph of Convict Precinct (c2000s)

Summary Statement of Significance, Cockatoo Island Dockyard CMP

Cockatoo Island’s previous dockyard, industrial, maritime and Defence uses, and the surviving physical evidence of those previous uses, are of Commonwealth and National cultural heritage value and significance. 

 

The Island retains an outstanding and unique, geographically and functionally related ensemble of elements. Its layout, buildings, landscape elements, works, machinery and archaeological resources together reflect, illustrate and embody its former use and premier strategic role in Australia’s maritime, industrial and Defence history. It demonstrates the changes to maritime and heavy industrial processes and activities in Australia from the mid-nineteenth century. All elements contribute to the heritage value of Cockatoo Island as a whole and have heritage value and significance in their own right. 

 

Cockatoo Island’s current layout and street pattern, the two sandstone docks in their dramatic, created escarpment setting, reclaimed waterside ‘working platforms’, and the form and previous function of most of its buildings and landscapes, in particular, are testimony to the physical dominance and influence of the long period of dockyard industrial, maritime and Defence uses.  This physical dominance is the surviving result of the long term national, international and State and Federal Government investment in, and understanding of, the economic and strategic importance of Cockatoo Island’s dockyard, industrial, maritime and Defence uses for Australia.

 

Parallel with, and related to, its premier position in Australia’s dockyard, industrial, maritime and Defence history, Cockatoo Island operated as an engineering enterprise which developed and implemented standards of excellence which set best practice benchmarks throughout the country. It was Australia’s largest post-World War I Commonwealth employer, and the complexity of its union and guild membership, and the history of its demarcation and industrial disputes, catalysed the Federal Government to establish the first Federal wage and conditions award in Australia and apply it to the Island. The Federal award established to consolidate and organise Cockatoo Island was the model for many subsequent Federal awards which have operated alongside various state award systems in Australia until very recently.

 

Cockatoo Island’s dockyard, industrial, maritime and Defence use history reflects in one place, and through its retained form and fabric, the Federalisation of previous state activities and enterprises, an occurrence that was experienced throughout Australia after Federation.

 

Once state land and the location of mixed state/private activities, its strategic location, established uses, valuable improvements and skilled labour force were resumed by the Commonwealth for national purposes under emergency provisions in a time of national need.The Commonwealth retained its ownership of those enterprises following the First World War and, by that retention, ensured it had the primary and central determining role in large engineering and maritime industries in Australia throughout the twentieth century. Retaining that primacy was an essential part of ensuring Australia’s defence needs were properly met according to Commonwealth, not state or private, priorities. This priority status became critical during the Pacific War effort from 1942, when Cockatoo Island was used to repair and re-fit various ships and vessels for the RAN, Royal Navy and the US and was, at different times, the location for the construction of HMAS Sydney and HMAS Melbourne.

 

Cockatoo Island’s dockyard, industrial, maritime and Defence uses were developed for the nation and in the national interest and were of vital importance to Australia for over 100 years. The surviving elements of those uses on the Island today, in particular the docks, remnant equipment, warehouse and industrial buildings and a range of cranes, wharves, slipways and jetties which illustrate the materials, construction techniques and technical skills employed in the construction of shipbuilding and dockyard facilities, remain important to Australia as an integral and irreplaceable part of its national cultural heritage.

 

World Heritage Listing

Cockatoo Island is one of eleven sites, described as the “Australian Convict Sites” that were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List on 31 July 2010. In this serial listing, the island is referred to as the ‘Cockatoo Island Convict site’.

 

The other sites are:

 

§  Old Government House and Domain (Parramatta),

§  Hyde Park Barracks (Sydney)

§  Cockatoo Island Convict Site (Sydney)

§  Old Great North Road (Wiseman’s Ferry)

§  Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (Norfolk Island)

§  Port Arthur Historic Site (Port Arthur)

§  Cascades Female Factory (Hobart)

§  Darlington Probation Station (Maria Island)

§  Coal Mines Historic Site (Norfolk Bay)

 

§  Brickendon-Woolmers Estates (near Longford)

§  Fremantle Prison (Western Australia)

 

Collectively, the Australian Convict Sites demonstrate the range of convicts’ experiences under various systems of control, punishment and reform.

 

Cockatoo Island Convict Site was included in the serial listing as an outstanding cultural landscape that depicts the pattern, management and lives of convict secondary offenders sentenced to hard labour on public works. The harshness of the punishment on the island was an important deterrent to criminals in Britain and the new colonies. The site was of particular strategic naval significance for Britain, for the new colony and for the development of the nation.

 

Australian Convict Sites Management Framework

The Australian Government has an international obligation to protect, conserve, present and transmit to future generations the World Heritage values of the Australian Convict Sites. Legislation and associated planning and protection instruments, such as the Australian Convict Sites Strategic Management Framework (2008) endorsed by the Australian government and the NSW, Tasmania, WA and Norfolk Island governments, recognises and complements the tiered statutory planning and management context that applies to the 11 places that comprise the Australian Convict Sites serial listing.

 

Implementation of the Framework is overseen by the Australian Convict Sites Steering Committee (ACSSC), which was established in 2010. The Harbour Trust is a member of the Steering Committee and supports its role in the sharing of expertise and resources for conservation to benefit the management, conservation and presentation of each of the 11 convict places.

 

The Framework provides a model for the cooperative management, conservation, interpretation and presentation of the 11 convict places. The Framework’s objectives are consistent with and complement the World Heritage values in the EPBC Regulation, and are derived from the World Heritage Convention and its Operational Guidelines. They include:

 

§  managing the sites in a way that supports, sustains and transmits their identity as a serial listing where each of the parts contributes to the whole;

§  identifying, protecting, conserving, presenting, transmitting the World Heritage values of the sites;

§  integrating the protection and management of the sites into a comprehensive planning program;

§  giving the sites a function in the life of the local Australian and global communities;

§  strengthening appreciation and respect for World Heritage values;

§  taking the appropriate scientific, technical, legal, administrative and financial measures necessary for implementing these objectives;

§  providing for continuing community and technical input in managing the sites; and

§  managing the broad range of heritage values, both World Heritage and non-World Heritage, ensuring that achieving the long-term conservation of the property’s World Heritage values is the overriding principle.

 

 


 

 


World Heritage Values

The Australian Convict Sites are recognised under World Heritage criteria (iv) and (vi) under the UNESCO Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention for its Outstanding Universal Value.

 


World Heritage Values

Criterion iv: An outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrate a significant stage/s in human history.

 

The Australian convict sites constitute an outstanding example of the way in which conventional forced labour and national prison systems were transformed, in major European nations in the 18th and 19th centuries, into a system of deportation and forced labour forming part of the British Empire’s vast colonial project. They illustrate the variety of the creation of penal colonies to serve the many material needs created by the development of a new territory. They bear witness to a penitentiary system which had many objectives, ranging from severe punishment used as a deterrent to forced labour for men, women and children, and the rehabilitation of the convicts through labour and discipline

Criterion vi: Be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance.

 

The transportation of criminals, delinquents, and political prisoners to colonial lands by the great nation states between the 18th and 20th centuries is an important aspect of human history, especially with regard to its penal, political and colonial dimensions. The Australian convict settlements provide a particularly complete example of this history and the associated symbolic values derived from discussions in modern and contemporary European society. They illustrate an active phase in the occupation of colonial lands to the detriment of the Aboriginal peoples, and the process of creating a colonial population of European origin through the dialectic of punishment and transportation followed by forced labour and social rehabilitation to the eventual social integration of convicts as settlers.

 


The table below presents a summary of the two World Heritage criteria; (iv) the key elements of the forced migration of convicts and (vi) the key elements of penology developments in the modern era, as identified across the Australian Convict Sites.

 

Cockatoo Island Convict Site contributes to the Convict Sites World Heritage Property through its capacity to meet criterion (iv) by demonstrating in its fabric and setting the geo-political spheres of influence of the British Empire, in addition to its contribution emergence of a national penitentiary system as recognised under criterion (vi).



 

 

 

THEMATIC

ELEMENT

CRITERION IV

CRITERION VI

 

 

EXPANDING

GEO POLITICAL SPHERES OF INFLUENCE

 

PUNISHMENT AND DETERRENCE

 

REFORMATION

 

TRANSPORTATION AS DOMINANT MODEL OF PUNISHMENT

 

INFLUENCE OF ENLIGHTENMENT: SHIFT FROM PUNISHMENT OF BODY TO MIND

 

INFLUENCE ON EMERGENCE OF NATIONAL PENITENTIARIES

SITE

 

Kingston & Arthur’s Vale

ü

ü

ü

 

ü

 

 

Old Government House & Domain

 

 

ü

ü

 

 

 

Hyde Park Barracks

 

 

ü

ü

 

 

 

Brickendon-Woolmers

ü

 

ü

 

ü

 

 

Darlington Probation Station

 

 

ü

 

ü

 

 

Old Great North Road

 

ü

 

ü

 

 

 

Cascades Female Factory

ü

ü

 

 

ü

 

 

Cockatoo Island

ü

 

 

 

 

ü

 

Port Arthur

ü

ü

ü

 

ü

 

 

Coal Mines

 

ü

 

 

 

ü

 

Fremantle Prison

ü

 

 

 

ü

ü

 

 


Statement of Outstanding Universal Values for the serial World Heritage Property

 

The statement below was adopted by the World Heritage Committee in respect of the Australian Convict Sites inclusion in the World Heritage List in 2010:

 

World Heritage Listing - Summary Statement of Significance

The Australian Convict Sites are of outstanding universal significance as the prime example of the forced migration of convicts and for their association with ideas and beliefs about the punishment of crime during the modern era. The series of sites are the only surviving examples in the world today that reflect these outstanding universal values and are fully protected under a comprehensive management system.

 

A number of sites represent the first of their kind, or one of the first, in the world. The 11 sites comprise a diverse array of architectural ensembles with more than 200 convict structures, ruins and archaeological remains. There are structures for housing, confining and managing convicts (penal stations, female factories, a juvenile prison, underground and solitary cells, barracks, stockades, hospitals and churches), convict-built infrastructure (roads, dockyards, a colliery, crank mills, kilns and brickworks), agricultural properties, government houses and penal administrative buildings.

 

The Australian Convict Sites are of outstanding universal value as a broad representation of the transportation of convicts to penal colonies around the globe. Convictism is one of the main forms of forced migration, along with slavery and indentured labour. The forced migration of convicts bears important similarities to and differences from these other forms. Penal transportation is an important stage of human history that ushered in a new era in the punishment of crime in the world from the early modern to modern period. From the 17th through to the 20th centuries, the forced migration of convicts affected the development of many nations and the lives of several million convicts and their descendants. The nominated sites are a manifestation of individual suffering and subjugation of one part of humanity by another. They also evoke the universal impulse of nation states and penal reformers following the Age of Enlightenment to bring about the transformation of the criminal elements of society.

 

The Australian Convict Sites are a compelling expression of these outstanding universal values. The world’s major European powers transformed the criminals of their societies into instruments of colonisation and empire building. Convictism was an important global development that contributed to the rise and consolidation of the world economy and spread of multi-ethnic societies during the modern era. The flow of people and labour played a significant part in the world economy particularly during the 19th century. This movement of peoples contributed significantly to the growth and decline of world powers, particularly the British Empire. These developments are fully represented by the nominated sites. The Australian Convict Sites are unparalleled as the best surviving examples of the forced migration of convicts. They reflect the common elements of convictism during the modern era as well as a number of features that are unique in the world. Typically, convictism involved: the use of convicts to extend the geo-political influence of the home state; the transportation of prisoners to penal colonies to deter crime in the home state; and the reformation of convicts. Each site represents one or more elements of Australia’s integrated and diverse convict system which included assignment, gangs, probation, female factories, surveillance regimes, entitlement and reward schemes and penal stations. The series of sites illustrates the typical cycle of convicts in the colonies who experienced many of these systems from the time of their arrival until their emancipation or death.

 

The scale of transportation to Australia was far greater than any other penal colony in the world in terms of numbers sent, duration of the journey and area settled. The transportation of over one million prisoners and destitute Russians to Siberia during the 18th and 19th centuries is an outstanding example of forced migration. However, it is not representative of the key elements of the forced migration of convicts. The 80 year duration of transportation to Australia was the longest in the history of convictism. Australia is the only example of convicts making a major contribution to European settlement and development of a continent that later became a nation. Convicts and ex-convicts were the primary instrument of colonisation across Australia unlike many other penal colonies where convicts complemented free workers, indentured labourers or slaves. Australia’s convicts populated the colonies, shaped the social fabric and developed the first buildings, churches, roads, bridges, farms and industrial works across vast spaces. Convicts comprised the vast majority of the first European settlers and the colonies remained dependent on convict and ex-convict labour for more than a generation after the end of transportation. The nominated sites demonstrate exceptional regimes to rehabilitate convicts which were a central element of Australia’s convict system. Australia’s innovative systems were amongst the first of their kind for managing and rehabilitating female, male and juvenile convicts.

 

Many of the nominated sites illustrate unique systems to discipline and reform juvenile convicts and female convicts, as well as the reformatory achievements under Governor Macquarie, Lieutenant-Governor Arthur and Commandant Maconochie.

 

The Australian Convict Sites are of outstanding universal significance for their association with ideas and beliefs about the punishment and reform of criminals in the modern era. The system of penal transportation intersected with philosophical ideas and other global developments in the punishment of crime following the Age of Enlightenment. The drive to establish national penitentiary systems was a major force. The transportation system and these broader penology developments influenced one another and affected the course of the punishment of crime during the 18th and 19th centuries. The nominated sites provide extensive physical evidence of these pioneering ideas and developments. The sites are representative of the spread of penal transportation around the globe.

 

Australia’s penal colonies had an important impact on France and Russia. Both nations sought to replicate Australia’s success when deciding to establish their first penal colonies in New Caledonia, French Guiana and Sakhalin Island. The Australian Convict Sites are a symbolic representation of this influence. The spread of transportation had an important influence on the decline of execution as the dominant form of punishment of ‘serious crimes’ in the modern era. Penal transportation subsequently became one of the dominant models of punishment in Europe from the late 18th to mid 19th century.

 

The nominated sites are a compelling expression of the dominant use of the transportation system to punish and reform criminals during the 19th century. Spanning nearly 100 years, the sites reflect the shift from corporal punishment to the psychological manipulation of the mind. The nominated sites illustrate French philosopher Michel Foucault’s notion of disciplinary punishment. Several sites provide important evidence of the classification of prisoners, the ‘separate system’, the ticket-of-leave system and the indeterminate sentence system.

 

The Australian Convict Sites provide physical evidence of significant new ideas and penal practices including segregated prisons for female prisoners and juvenile prisoners and the ‘separate system’.

 

The Australian Convict Sites are closely associated with the decline of the transportation system and rise of national penitentiaries. This was a significant development in the punishment of criminals in the modern era. The nominated sites typify the demise of penal transportation as a major tool of criminal justice. Australia was strongly associated with the decline of the transportation system, as Britain was plagued by ongoing allegations of slavery-like practices and moral contagion in her colonies. The theory and practice of the system began to crumble as penal reformers exerted pressure on the British government for supporting a system akin to slavery at the very time that slavery was being abolished across the world. The abolition of transportation to the Australian colonies was an important contributory factor leading to the emergence of a national penitentiary system across Britain. Britain, the largest global power in the world at the time, introduced a national penitentiary system modelled on the new penitentiaries in America.

 

The demise of transportation across the British empire had a significant impact on the geo-political makeup of the globe. The large-scale movement of British criminals to new and existing penal colonies ceased by the late 19th century (with some minor exceptions). European powers no longer had a readymade convict force to fulfil their empire building ambitions, and penal colonies evolved into places of free settlement. The Australian Convict Sites demonstrate the outstanding universal values outlined under criteria (iv) and (vi) and are protected to a high level under a comprehensive management system. They are the pre-eminent convict sites among the more than 3,000 convict sites around Australia. The nominated sites are unique in the world as a representation of convictism and for their association with penal developments in the modern era. No other comparable series of sites survives in the world today that typifies these outstanding universal values and is protected for future generations with comprehensive management systems.

Title: Photograph of Industrial Precinct - Description: Photograph of historical machinery in Industrial Precinct (c2000s) 


National and Commonwealth Heritage Values

When listing a place on the Commonwealth and National Heritage List, the Australian Heritage Council makes an assessment of the place and advises of the values that the place holds. Places on the National list have demonstrated outstanding heritage values against one or more of the criteria; places on the Commonwealth Heritage List are places managed by the Commonwealth and been found to have significant heritage values against one or more criteria.

 

The following table shows how the attributes of the place – either tangibly in the physical fabric or intangibly in the associations and uses – make up the National and Commonwealth Heritage listed values of Cockatoo Island. The text is taken from the citations published by the Department of the Environment and Energy at the time of listings.


National Heritage Listed Values

Commonwealth Heritage Listed Values

 

Criterion a: Events, Processes

Cockatoo Island is a convict industrial settlement and pre and post Federation shipbuilding complex. It is important in the course of Australia’s cultural history for its use as a place of hard labour, secondary punishment, and for public works, namely its history and contributions to the nation as a dockyard.

 

Fitzroy Dock is outstanding as the only remaining dry dock built using convict and prisoner labour and it is one of the largest convict-era public works surviving in Sydney. The dock was the earliest graving dock commenced in Australia and was one of the largest engineering projects competed in Australia at that time. Convicts excavated 580,000 cubic feet of rock creating 45 foot (15m) sandstone cliffs that extended around the site just to prepare the area for the dock, a huge technical achievement in itself.

 

The dockyard’s lengthy 134 years of operation and its significance during both world wars, and in Australia’s naval development and service as the Commonwealth dockyard, all contribute to its outstanding value to the nation. It is the only surviving example of a 19th century dockyard in Australia to retain some of the original service buildings including the pump house and machine shop. The powerhouse, constructed in 1918, contains the most extensive collection of early Australian electrical, hydraulic power and pumping equipment in Australia.

 

The surviving fabric relating to convict administration which includes; the prisoners’ barracks, hospital, mess hall, military guard and officers’ room, free overseers’ quarters and the superintendent’s cottage. Evidence of convict hard labour includes the sandstone buildings, quarried cliffs, the underground silos and the Fitzroy Dock.

 

Cockatoo Island’s dockyard, through its contribution to Australia’s naval and maritime history, demonstrates outstanding significance to the nation. Fitzroy Dock is the oldest surviving dry dock in Australia operating continuously for over 134 years (1857-1991). The dockyard has direct associations with the convict era, Australia’s naval relationship with its allies (particularly Britain during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries) and Australia’s naval development, especially during the First and Second World Wars. Cockatoo Island’s development into Australia’s primary shipbuilding facility and Australia’s first Naval Dockyard for the RAN (1913-1921) further demonstrates its outstanding importance in the course of Australia’s history.

 

Criterion a: Events, Processes

Cockatoo Island is important for its association with the administration of Governor Gipps who was responsible for the establishment on the Island of an Imperially funded prison for convicts withdrawn from Norfolk Island in the 1840s.

 

The establishment of maritime activities during the 1840s culminating in the construction of Fitzroy Dock 1851-57 under Gother Kerr Mann, one of Australia's foremost nineteenth century engineers; and the construction of twelve in-ground grain silos following a government order that provision would be made to store 10,000 bushels of grain on the island.

 

The subsequent development of shipbuilding and dockyard facilities has clearly been in response to Federation in 1901, when the New South Wales government took over management of the island; the formation of the Royal Australian Navy in 1911; and the Commonwealth Government's purchase of the island in 1913. The first steel warship built in Australia, HMAS Heron, was completed on the island in 1916.

 

During World War Two, Cockatoo Island became the primary shipbuilding and dockyard facility in the Pacific following the fall of Singapore. Post war development of the facility reflects the importance of the island facility to the Commonwealth Government.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Criterion b: Rarity

N/A

Criterion b: Rarity

Cockatoo Island is the only surviving Imperial convict public works establishment in New South Wales. Individual elements of the convict Public Works Department period include the rock cut grain silos, the Prisoners Barracks and Mess Hall 1839-42, the Military Guard House, the Military Officers Quarters and Biloela House c1841.

 

The range of elements associated with the shipbuilding and dockyard facility date from the 1850s and include items of remnant equipment, warehouse and industrial buildings and a range of cranes, wharves, slipways and jetties which illustrate the materials, construction techniques and technical skills employed in the construction of shipbuilding and dockyard facilities over 140 years.

 

Individual elements within the dockyard facility include Fitzroy Dock and Caisson 1851-57, Sutherland Dock 1882-90 the Powerhouse 1918, the Engineer's and Blacksmith's Shop c1853 and the former pump building for Fitzroy Dock.

 

 

Criterion c: Research

There has been considerable archaeological investigation on Cockatoo Island by the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust. This has indicated that it has significant research potential in terms of enhancing the knowledge of the operation of a convict industrial site and a long running dockyard.

 

The surviving archaeological elements of now demolished or obscured structures and functions of the dockyard, in particular the remains of the docks, equipment, warehouse and industrial buildings and a range of cranes, wharves, slipways and jetties, have potential to illustrate and reveal the materials, construction techniques and technical skills employed in the construction of shipbuilding and dockyard facilities that are no longer available through other sources in Australia. The archaeological resources also have importance in demonstrating changes to maritime and heavy industrial processes and activities in Australia from the mid- nineteenth century.

 

The dockyard contains the earliest, most extensive and most varied record of shipbuilding, both commercial and naval, in Australia. This is supported by extensive documentary evidence in the National Archives.

 

Criterion c: Research

N/A

Criterion d: principal characteristics of class of places

Cockatoo Island represents some of the principal characteristics of Australian convict sites including: hard labour as a means of punishment and deterrence to the British ‘criminal class’; use of convict labour for the establishment of the colony through public works; and secondary punishment for re-offending convicts.

 

Cockatoo Island is of outstanding importance to the nation as a site of severe punishment. The level of severity if expressed through the policy to extend convicts with ‘no indulgence beyond the strict Government ration’. The fundamental purpose of Cockatoo Island was to be the worst possible place imaginable and the ultimate deterrent and it is a fine example as a symbol of the harsh treatment used to deter the ‘criminal class’ in Britain.

 

Fitzroy Dock and its associated excavation and buildings are outstanding examples of the use of convict and prisoner labour for public works. The underground silos, remaining evidence from quarrying and the group of convict built structures on the island are also testament to public works undertaken by the convicts. Although convicts under various sentences ended up at Cockatoo Island, it was established specifically as, and primarily was a place of secondary punishment for re-offending convicts.

 

Cockatoo Island critically represents the principal characteristics of a dual use convict site, one that both incarcerates convicts and provides them with hard labour.

 

The values expressed at Cockatoo Island are important for their ability to demonstrate the function, planning layout and architectural idiom and principal characteristics of an imperial convict public works establishment of the 1840s; and the functions, planning layout and architectural idiom and principal characteristics of a range of structures and facilities associated with the development and process of the dockyard and shipbuilding industry over a period of 134 years.

Criterion d: principal characteristics of class of places

The industrial character of the cultural landscape of the Island has developed from the interaction of maritime and prison activity and retains clear evidence of both in a number of precincts. The cultural landscape is articulated by man made cliffs, stone walls and steps, docks, cranes, slipways and built forms.

 

Extant structures within the precincts are important for their ability to demonstrate: the functions and architectural idiom and principal characteristics of an imperial convict public works establishment of the 1840s; and the functions and architectural idiom and principal characteristics of the range of structures and facilities associated with the development and processes of the dockyard and shipbuilding industry over a period of 140 years.

 

The range of elements associated with the shipbuilding and dockyard facility date from the 1850s and include items of remnant equipment, warehouse and industrial buildings and a range of cranes, wharves, slipways and jetties which illustrate the materials, construction techniques and technical skills employed in the construction of shipbuilding and dockyard facilities over 140 years. Individual elements within the dockyard facility include Fitzroy Dock and Caisson, Sutherland Dock, the Powerhouse, the Engineer's and Blacksmith's Shop and the former pump building for Fitzroy Dock.

 

 

 

 

Individual elements of the convict Public Works Department period including the rock cut grain silos, the Prisoners Barracks and Mess Hall, the Military Guard House, the Military Officers Quarters and Biloela House.

Criterion h: Significant people

N/A

Criterion h: Significant people

Cockatoo Island is important for its association with the administration of Governor Gipps in the 1840s, the construction of Fitzroy Dock from 1851-57 under Gother Kerr Mann, Federation in 1901, the formation of the Royal Australian Navy in 1911 and the construction of the first steel warship built in Australia, HMAS Heron.

 


 


Management of External Impacts on Cockatoo Island Convict Site

Potential impacts from development in NSW on the Cockatoo Island Convict Site would be assessed under relevant planning instruments such as Local Environmental Plans, State Environmental Planning Policies and the Sydney Regional Environmental Plan (Sydney Harbour Catchment) 2005. In addition, development that may have a significant impact on the heritage values or environment of Cockatoo Island, could also trigger the requirement for approval under the EPBC Act.

 

Condition of Values

 

The cultural significance and statutory heritage values of Cockatoo Island are embodied in the fabric of the place, its setting, records, related places, objects and moveable heritage. Intangible aspects of the island’s heritage - previous uses, associations and meanings also find expression in the site’s physical attributes. For example, the sandstone in the convict-built buildings help to tell the story of forced convict labour on the island. The discussion of the condition of the values therefore focuses on the physical attributes to which the values are inextricably linked.

 

The various uses of the island since the convict era have resulted in the layering of fabric and some destruction and adaptation of original fabric. As the whole island was deserted from early 1992 to 2001, there was considerable deterioration of the remaining building stock, machinery and cranes during that period. Since 2001 the Harbour Trust has carried out remediation and repairs to some infrastructure and services and some conservation works to make the Island accessible to the public.

 

Despite the demolition of buildings and removal of machinery, cranes and other equipment by Defence prior to the transfer of the site to the Harbour Trust, the Island remains predominantly industrial in character. This value is reinforced through the retention and interpretation of physical evidence, such as rails, slipways, cranes and building footprints.

 

The Plateau

The most significant physical fabric on the island is the remaining convict origin sandstone elements, the legacy of the administration of Governor Gipps who was responsible for the establishment of the Island as a prison. Most of the sandstone buildings, quarried cliffs, underground silos and the Fitzroy Dock represent evidence of convict hard labour.

 

The majority of the convict-built structures are located within the Plateau precinct and in the Workshop complex within the Eastern Apron. These have been surveyed in detail for a stonework conservation program. Despite being exposed to the marine environment, the stonework is in relatively good condition. Human intervention has had a much greater impact on the intactness of the remaining fabric with removal of stone, replacement of roofs, and installation of services. Varying degrees of intervention has resulted in changes to the external appearance and internal configuration of buildings. As a result, many of the convict buildings or their original uses are not easily identifiable as being from that period.

 

The Residential precinct on the Plateau has functioned as the main domestic residential area of the island since it was first permanently occupied. Consequently, the general layout and appearance has remained largely intact and identifiable as residential, with the older building subject to numerous additions to accommodate changes in domestic life. These buildings have housed important figures in the Island’s history, including Gother Kerr Mann who was responsible for the construction of the Fitzroy Dock. This precinct also contains the remaining underground convict built wheat silos and the main area of trees and garden plantings on the Island.

 

The domestic landscape had deteriorated since the island was vacated in 1992. The gardens had become overgrown and tree roots were beginning to undermine building foundations, underground services and stone walls which previously delineated the residential subdivision pattern of the precinct. Modest landscaping works since then have restored the grounds.

 

Historical research has identified the pattern of development of the Plateau from the convict period through to the final phases of the maritime industrial use. This has guided archaeological investigations now and will continue to do so into the future. They have already uncovered valuable information about convict remains including the unearthing of the solitary cells and storage areas under the Cookhouse, and have the potential to uncover yet more exceptionally significant convict remains.

 

The central industrial workshop buildings on the Plateau provide rare surviving evidence of industrial processes, including the changing technology of shipbuilding and repair. The main issue with these buildings have been the deterioration of fabric; roofs, gutters, joinery and wall cladding, and associated water damage. Major repairs and restoration works have been undertaken to the convict guardhouse, mess hall, courtyard and barracks in the Convict Precinct.

 

Extensive conservation and repair works to the former Convict Superintendent’s House (Biloela House) were completed in 2013. Works involved the removal of unsympathetic alterations and additions, and the repair of original fabric rather than replacement. Minimal alterations improved the accessibility of the building.

 

Following initial archaeological investigations of the convict precinct in mid 2009, the Harbour Trust uncovered previously hidden underground solitary confinement cells beneath the floors of the original convict cookhouse. Originally built in 1841, the cells were used for solitary confinement until 1869, when the Cockatoo Island prison closed. Conservation, restoration and interpretation works to the cells were completed in mid 2014. These cells are a rare surviving example of convict solitary confinement architecture. Their discovery and reconstruction provides a compelling revelation of the harshness of the convict system on Cockatoo Island.

 

The Dockyard Precincts

The dockyard contains the earliest, most extensive and most varied record of shipbuilding, both commercial and naval in Australia. This is supported by comprehensive evidence contained in the National Archives.

 

The majority of original dockyard buildings remain on the Southern Apron creating an important complex of robust buildings representing most phases of the Islands European occupation. This group of buildings are the most intact of the maritime aprons with most of them having been retained by Defence.

 

The Powerhouse (Building 58) brickwork is mostly in good condition along with the recently repaired windows and roofs. Much of its equipment remains in situ, and provides the most extensive collection of early electrical, hydraulic, power and pumping equipment in Australia. The basement area has been pumped dry. Extensive structural remediation of the chimney occurred in 2015.

 

The Fitzroy Dock is currently filled with water and the stonework has been subject to extensive weathering and wear. The caisson of the Fitzroy Dock has been stabilised through minor repairs and remains in the Dock. The Camber Wharf and pontoon has been rebuilt and reinstated, now providing a secondary entry / exit point for workers and visitors to the island.

 

The machinery and the cranes, particularly the external ones, many of which are located on the Southern Apron, present a major conservation challenge. A survey of all cranes, and an inventory of machinery and tools have been carried out and all have been found to be generally structurally stable, however many are missing components and lack of maintenance has resulted in fabric deterioration. Repairs to the cranes are underway, enabling some to be certified for regular use on Cockatoo Island.

 

The Eastern and Northern Aprons were subject to major building removal by Defence prior to the transfer of the site to the Harbour Trust. Decontamination of the ground has been completed and landscaping undertaken in the majority of these spaces. Former building footprints have been used and interpreted in the landscape design and through the location of new buildings. The layouts of buildings on the island are a physical manifestation of the ship building process.

 

The Northern Apron was cleared of most of its metal trades and fabrication shops in 1978, with the remaining buildings being demolished before 1992. The slipways on the western end of the apron and building footprints of previous structures serve as a reminder of the previous use of this part of the island. The Apron has been landscaped to create a campground, including amenities block and outdoor kitchen.

 

To the south of the Parramatta Wharf, across the cleared Eastern Apron, a complex of workshop buildings remain relatively intact. These buildings are representative of all of the phases of the Islands European occupation and include the Engineering workshop buildings and the water front buildings along the Bolt Shop Wharf (W3). The original convict built workshops have undergone many alterations and additions and as a result have lost some of their original integrity. Some stone conservation works have been carried out to these buildings. Buildings 123 and 124 have been upgraded to enable their regular use for public and private functions.

 

Buildings 101, 102 and 103, a group of administration buildings representative of the Commonwealth Dockyard phase of the islands history, have undergone conservation works both internally and externally. A workshop has been established in Building 145 to facilitate the restoration of the Island’s machinery and cranes. Volunteers, many of whom have previously worked on the Island, are based in this workshop, undertake significant conservation work.

 

Buildings have been upgraded to facilitate regular public use of Cockatoo Island including Building 135 as a café, a visitor information centre in Building 24, and public toilets in Buildings 34, 83, 119 and 150.

 

The Harbour Trust’s Heritage Registry will provide a description of the physical condition of the site, including all buildings and items. The detailed inventory sheets for each building, the association and uses, are incorporated in the CMPs.

 

Management Requirements and Goals

The Harbour Trust’s goal is to achieve the aims of this plan, working within the current planning framework and without diluting the essential elements that make the island different and appealing. This will require ensuring the objects of the Harbour Trust Act and Harbour Trust’s operational needs are met whilst balancing competing interests on the Island and the requirements of the EPBC Act.

 

Risks to achieving the Harbour Trust’s goals could come from a range of potential actions. For example:

 

  • The need for further remediation the island may compromise material of archaeological significance and require the removal of fabric which contributes to the interesting industrial patina.
  • Providing public access to the continued re-occupation of the island will require upgrading of the buildings and infrastructure, roads and pathways to meet current operational standards. These works may affect the existing layered and ‘make do’ character of the island.
  • Works to upgrade buildings for leasing in accordance with building, health and safety requirements could result in the creation of a collection of shiny ‘new’ buildings that would be out of character with their surrounds.

 

The inherent risk in achieving these varied aims is that the heritage values of the island may be diminished. The cycle of re-use and redevelopment means that these pressures to the heritage values will be an ongoing management concern. Consideration has been given to these risks when developing the conservation policies for the island.

 

However, the heritage aspects of the Island and its buildings, structures and objects are recognised as its prime attributes and will be treated with utmost respect as required by the Burra Charter.

 


 

Conservation Policies

The following policies have been prepared as required by EPBC Amendment Regulations 2003, 10.01, 10.01C, Schedule 5, 5A (h)
(i-xii) and 10.03B and Schedule 7A (h) (i-xii).

 

The policies seek to protect and conserve the statutory World, National and Commonwealth heritage values of the island, as identified in the previous sections of this plan. The policies also aim to provide management guidance and these are reflected in the proposed Outcomes in this plan. The policies have been primarily derived from the Convict and Dockyard Conservation Management Plans. The table presents policies applicable to the entire island and more specific policies to protect the values of Cockatoo’s convict, institutional and dockyard history. Excerpts from the World, National and Commonwealth values have been included throughout the table to emphasise the link between the values and the policies.

 

 

 


 

 

Title: Photograph of Building 2 - Description: Photograph of Building 22 (Biloela House), Cockatoo Island (c2000s)
 

 

 

 



General Policies                                                                                                                                                                              

 

Policies

Supporting Policies

Policy 1

 

The World, National and Commonwealth Heritage values of Cockatoo Island and its elements are the basis for conserving and managing the fabric of the place.

 

a.        Consider the impact of any action on the World, National and Commonwealth Heritage values of the place;

b.       Use the Significant Impact Guidelines 1.1 and 1.2, Department of Environment and Heritage, May 2006 to assist in reaching a decision about the level of impact;

c.        Take into account relevant sections of the Australian Convict Sites Strategic Management Framework (2008); and

d.       Consult the Department for informal advice before deciding whether to make a formal referral in accordance with the EPBC Act.

Policy 2

Carry out the future conservation and adaptation of the fabric of the place in accordance with the principles of the Australia ICOMOS Charter for Places of Cultural Significance (the Burra Charter), and any revisions of the Charter that might occur in the future.

a.        Ensure the Burra Charter is observed in all future works carried out on the island.

Policy 3

Ensure an integrated approach, and an ongoing commitment to long term conservation of the island.

a.        Harbour Trust works, leasing, events and communications to ensure that Heritage values are protected and conserved.

Works to buildings and selection of uses

Policy 4

Use current and future Conservation Management Plans to provide detailed explanation and specific conservation policies on buildings or specific elements of Cockatoo Island. These CMPs are listed at Related Studies section of the Plan together with details of where to access to CMPs.

 

a.        Current are listed in the Related Studies section of the Plan. These documents can be accessed at the Harbour Trust Resource Centre. Extracts are also available online at www.harbourtrust.gov.au and www.cockatooisland.gov.au. Future CMPs will also be made accessible in this way.

b.       As it is not possible to anticipate all possible actions or their impacts, the Conservation Management Plans will not always provide sufficient guidance, certainty or the confidence needed to implement an action. In these cases and where the CMPs recommend it, further professional heritage advice is to be obtained.

Policy 5

When considering proposals for change analyse potential impacts on the tangible, intangible and moveable heritage values of the island. Wherever proposals are likely to impact on heritage values, a Heritage Impact Statement will be prepared, and where required referred under EPBC Act.

 

 

a.        If proposals are found to have impacts on heritage values consider alternative options or modify the proposal with ameliorative measures.

b.       Obtain relevant specialist advice when considering proposals for changes to or work on significant elements and fabric.

c.        Any works to significant fabric require the preparation of a Heritage Impact Statement.

d.       Heritage Impact Statements will be prepared by a relevant heritage professional.

e.       Ensure that conservation works are documented and supervised by relevant heritage professionals;

f.         Use consultants and trades people with the appropriate experience and training in their fields and with knowledge of good conservation practice when specifying and or carrying out maintenance and repair work.

g.        Introduce new fabric only in circumstances where the existing fabric or structure has reached a stage of deterioration, instability, or hazardous nature to the extent that replacement is absolutely necessary.

h.       Establish a conservation workshop / conservation program on the Island involving specialists and skilled volunteers.

Policy 6

Remove works that are intrusive or adversely impact on significant areas, elements and fabric.

 

 

a.        Ensure that removal:

  • aids in the interpretation and visibility of significant fabric;
  • ensures the security or viability of the place;
  • follows adequate recording and interpretation; and
  • Follows a full assessment of alternative options which have determined that it is the most prudent alternative.

Policy 7

Measures to upgrade buildings and structures to achieve BCA compliance and meet WHS standards are to minimise the removal or adaptation of the existing significant fabric.

 

a.        All capital works and adaptive re-use proposals will be guided by the heritage significance and sensitivities associated with each building.

b.       Identify all potential risks for workplace health and safety, structural and fire safety and assess the relevant buildings in relation to the Building Code of Australia; and

c.        Ensure that any recommendations to upgrade buildings do not compromise the heritage and aesthetic values of the island. New additions are not to be intrusive and materials are to be sympathetic to original built fabric.

Policy 8

Ensure that any new buildings, structures, facilities or change are sympathetic to or enhance the heritage values of the place.

 

 

a.        Where new buildings, structures and facilities are appropriate their design must:

  • be sympathetic to the heritage values of the island, the character of the particular precinct and existing buildings and fixtures in the vicinity and their setting;
  • assist with the interpretation of heritage buildings or fixtures that have previously been removed;
  • retain the industrial scale and form of existing buildings in the maritime precinct,
  • have a robust character and patina in keeping with the former industrial setting in which they are located.

Policy 9

Uses of buildings or groupings of buildings are to provide a mutually supportive mix of activities that contribute to interpreting the site and its history and heritage values.

 

a.        The general principles that underlie the selection of uses on the island are:

·         uses that contribute to, or are complementary to, the maritime industrial heritage of the island;

·         the need for maritime and non-maritime uses to provide diversity and to broaden the site’s attractions for the public, such as creating a venue for cultural uses, studios, offices, workshops, training facilities, tourism, leisure and short-stay accommodation;

·         uses that best respond to the place and provide a positive contribution to the enjoyment and understanding of the place and its heritage;

·         uses that are compatible with the ESD policies of the Harbour Trust;

·         uses that are compatible with the heritage/environmental/public access and amenity requirements such as noise and light spillage; and

·         measures necessary to meet service infrastructure and Building Code of Australia requirements can be readily implemented in a cost effective manner befitting the heritage values of the building(s). Relevant environmental standards and requirements for industrial and commercial operations will need to be addressed as part of any lease arrangements.

Policy 10

Inform prospective lessees about the island’s heritage significance and of heritage sensitivities associated with buildings for lease.

a.        Where applicable, include conditions in leases to ensure:

·         works required by tenants should be fully reversible;

·         the protection of significant buildings and fabric;

·         occasional public access; and

·         that tenant fit-out facilitates interpretation.

Policy 11

Give special conservation attention to buildings, elements and items of exceptional significance to ensure appropriate uses are found, that public access is provided and suitable interpretation measures are introduced. This applies in particular to those elements of the Cockatoo Island Convict Site.

 

 

a.        Buildings of exceptional significance are to be reserved for uses in which the interpretation of the heritage values and the building and its context takes primacy and its public exposure is maximised.

b.       Buildings, elements and items of exceptional significance include:

·         The Military Guard House ruins and prison buildings (Buildings 1, 3, 4 and 5)

·         The Engineer and Blacksmith’s shop (Building 138)

·         The Powerhouse and Rectifier Room (Buildings 58 and 57)

·         Fitzroy Dock

·         Biloela House (Building 22)

·         Free Overseer’s Quarters (Buildings 9 and 11)

Policy 12

Where there is conflict or uncertainty as to the appropriateness of particular actions for specific buildings or areas, conduct further detailed heritage investigation and produce a detailed Heritage Impact Statement.

 

a.        Follow the process set out in the Harbour Trust’s Heritage Strategy for the resolution of conflict arising from the assessment and management of heritage values.

b.       Where conflicts arise between the retention and conservation of differing fabric layers and archaeological resources and operational or other statutory imperatives, they will be assessed on a case by case basis and steps taken to minimise damage to later relics and built heritage. The decision will require the balancing of the loss, in heritage terms, occasioned by the disturbance or destruction of later relics/buildings against the gains that retention of the earlier relics will achieve. This is to be carried out as part of a transparent and inclusive process.

c.        Record any decision reached following the conclusion of the conflict resolution process.

d.       Refer to Department of the Environment and Energy for advice. Where actions will have a significant impact on heritage values they will be referred.

 

Cultural Landscape Policies

Cockatoo has been home to a diversity of uses; from the establishment of the convict gaol and institutional training, to the industrial dockyard and large shipbuilding activities. The cumulative layers of fabric left behind by the interaction of these uses retain evidence of them all.

 

The cultural landscape of the Island has developed from the interaction of prison and maritime activity and retains clear evidence of both in a number of precincts. The cultural landscape is articulated by man-made cliffs, stone walls and steps and built forms (NHL & CHL Criterion d).

 

 

Policies

Supporting Policies

Policy 13

Recognise the significance of the complex layering of archaeology, fabric, uses and associations of Cockatoo Island in a manner that conserves, enhances and interprets the heritage values of the place and its fabric.

a.        Recognise that the layers are important- but not always equally important.

b.       Generally convict era archaeological remains will take precedence over later remains (see Cockatoo Island Archaeological Management Principles).

c.        Where appropriate, retain evidence of the continuous use of buildings on Cockatoo Island by protecting and conserving significant fabric from all periods.

d.       Carry out an assessment of the potential impacts of all new structures on the cultural landscape of the place.

Policy 14

Preserve, maintain and interpret the character of the cultural landscape, including the cultural plantings, heritage structures, and their settings.

 

a.        Re-instate and interpret former garden spaces, fences, walls and planting to the houses on the plateau.

b.       Protect, conserve and maintain the industrial character of the waterfront and working precincts of the island.

c.        Protect conserve and maintain the character of the convict compound on the plateau.

Policy 15

Recognise and retain significant views to, from and within the island in its harbour setting; permitting easy recognition and interpretation of buildings, landscape features, and cranes.

 

 

a.        Investigate opportunities for improving sightlines within the island.

b.       Interpret important views and viewpoints both on the island and from the mainland.

c.        Consider the potential impact of works on:

  • Access to significant vantage points on the island; and
  • Views of the island from the water and surrounding shorelines.

 

 

Archaeological Policies

Cockatoo Island has significant archaeological research potential due to the intensity of its occupation throughout most of the period of European colonisation of Australia. Archaeological material can be found in the fabric, fittings, and artefacts used as fill on the land or harbour floor surrounding the island. All relics are protected by Commonwealth legislation and the intentional uncovering of relics, without permission is forbidden.

 

Cockatoo Island’s exceptional convict archaeological remains are outstanding examples of the use of convict and prisoner labour for public works and a major reason for Cockatoo Island’s inclusion in the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Listing (criterion (iv)).

 

The surviving archaeological elements of now demolished or obscured structures and functions of the dockyard, in particular the remains of the docks, equipment, warehouse and industrial buildings and a range of cranes, wharves, slipways and jetties, have potential to illustrate and reveal the materials, construction techniques and technical skills employed in the construction of shipbuilding and dockyard facilities that are no longer available through other sources in Australia. The archaeological resources also have importance in demonstrating changes to maritime and heavy industrial processes and activities in Australia from the mid- nineteenth century.

 

The dockyard contains the earliest, most extensive and most varied record of shipbuilding, both commercial and naval, in Australia. This is supported by extensive documentary evidence in the National Archives (NHL Criterion c).

 

 

Policies

Supporting Policies

Policy 16

Protect and conserve all archaeological remains on Cockatoo Island.

 

a.        Use the Cockatoo Island Archaeological Management Principles to guide all archaeological work on the Island.

b.       Use archaeological sensitivity maps from the Conservation Management Plans as a guide when planning works on the island;

c.        Undertake archaeological/ fabric investigation prior to documentation of future works on significant buildings;

d.       Use existing service routes where possible to minimise intervention or disturbance of archaeological remains;

e.       Upgrade infrastructure in consultation with archaeologist;

f.         Brief all contractors working in archaeological sensitive areas on the Harbour Trust’s adopted procedures; and

g.        Ensure that all contractors and lessees are instructed to cease work if any archaeological remains are encountered and seek professional archaeological advice before proceeding.

Policy 17

Establish a system for recording, collecting and curating archaeological remains.

a.        Establish an archaeological artefact database;

b.       Establish an archaeological research program;

c.        Establish an archaeological record plan; and

d.       Provide storage and display facilities on the island to house collections resulting from archaeological investigations.

Natural Environment

Policy 18

Investigate ways of managing the natural environment to avoid adverse impacts on the heritage values of the island.

 

a.        Where building fabric is under threat consider strategies to manage populations of native fauna.

b.       Remove trees with large roots which are threatening significant fabric.

c.        Maintain the cultural landscape of the gardens by ensuring that weeds and exotic species are not allowed to invade the regenerated areas.

d.       Identify significant native fern allies with interpretive signage.

Remediation

Policy 19

Remediation works are to utilise techniques and approaches that minimise impacts on significant fabric.

 

a.        Obtain specialist heritage advice to identify suitable measures to minimise heritage impacts, record works carried out and/or provide advice on repair/reinstatement works on completion;

b.       Retain, conserve, stabilise and contain contaminant materials such as original significant asbestos where they do not pose an environmental hazard; and

c.        Replace frayed, damaged and deteriorating asbestos based roof material and fabric with sympathetic materials.

Access and Security

Policy 20

Encourage public access to the island.

 

a.        Encourage and improve ferry services to the island;

b.       Recognise the island’s relationship to other islands and sites around the harbour;

c.        Use the control of access to and through the site (eg retaining Parramatta Wharf as the main point of entry) to help interpret the heritage values of the place;

d.       Conserve and interpret existing circulation patterns; roads, paths, tunnels and stairs;

e.       Investigate the creation of additional connections on the island between the plateau and the apron areas; and

f.         Encourage the active use of the perimeter of the island and the interface of land and water.

Policy 21

Access to the island is to be primarily by ferry/charter vessel and transport within Cockatoo Island is to be primarily pedestrian.

 

a.        Provide a regular ferry service to the island, using a combination of public and private services. Continue to negotiate with Transport for NSW to improve the current ferry service;

b.       Limit berthing for private vessels to maximise turnover and minimise the visual impacts of a marina on the island;

c.        Provide vehicular access to most areas of the island for servicing purposes; and

d.       Provide a limited number of smaller vehicles (such as electric-powered buggies or mopeds) for the island’s occupants and visitors, and in particular to facilitate access for people with limited mobility.

Policy 22

Implement measures to help secure Cockatoo Island against theft, vandalism and other disturbances.

a.        Maintain existing 24 hour security presence on the island;

b.       Maintain patrols by Harbour Trust rangers during daylight hours; and

c.        Consider installation of closed circuit television to monitor significant buildings and thoroughfares on the island.

Consultation

Policy 23

Carry out ongoing community and stakeholder consultation.

 

a.        Consult in accordance with the Consultation and Communication Objectives and Policies set out in Part 3 of the Harbour Trust’s Comprehensive Plan.

b.       Consult with communities and interested stakeholders when considering amendments to Management Plans, the Harbour Trust’s Heritage Strategy and actions likely to have a significant impact on the heritage values of Cockatoo Island.

Indigenous values

Policy 24

Recognise that Indigenous people are the primary source of information on the values of their heritage, and that the active participation of Indigenous people in the identification, assessment and management is integral to the effective protection of Indigenous heritage values.

 

 

 

a.        Consult with Indigenous local communities when considering impacts on Indigenous places and in accordance with the Aboriginal Heritage Objectives and Policies set out in Part 3 of the Harbour Trust’s Comprehensive Plan;

b.       Due to alteration of the landscape there is unlikely to be extant physical evidence of pre-European Aboriginal use or occupation of the island. However further research for documentary evidence will be undertaken as well as a survey of the northern cliff face for any evidence of occupation;

c.        Pursue information relating to Aboriginal use of the Island (both pre and post contact) through liaison with representatives of the Land Councils, local community and former workers.

Interpretation

Cockatoo Island Convict Site is one of 11 historic sites that together form the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage property, listed in 2010. Convict labour was used to construct the Fitzroy Dock and Steam Workshop Building, a prime example of the expansion of British geo-political influence (World Heritage criterion (iv)). The harsh prison conditions for secondary offenders, overcrowding and inadequate infrastructure contributed to prison reform and the rise of national penitentiary systems (World Heritage criterion (vi)). These criteria need to be clearly interpreted.

 

Cockatoo Island is a convict industrial settlement and is important in the course of Australia’s cultural history for its use as a place of hard labour, secondary punishment and public works. Cockatoo Island is important for its association with the administration of Governor Gipps in the 1840s, and the construction of Fitzroy Dock under the engineer Gother Kerr Mann.

 

The dockyard has direct associations with the convict era, Australia’s naval relationship with its allies (particularly Britain during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries) and Australia’s naval development, especially during the First and Second World Wars. Cockatoo Island’s development into Australia’s primary shipbuilding facility and Australia’s first Naval Dockyard for the RAN (1913-1921) further demonstrates its outstanding importance in the course of Australia’s history.

 

During World War Two, Cockatoo Island became the primary shipbuilding and dockyard facility in the Pacific following the fall of Singapore. Post war development of the facility reflects the importance of the island facility to the Commonwealth Government (NHL & CHL criteria a & h).

 

Policy 25

Communicate the totality of the history and the natural, cultural, social and significant values of Cockatoo Island to the public through continued development and implementation of the Cockatoo Island Interpretation Strategy.

 

a.         Continue to develop and implement the Cockatoo Island Interpretation Strategy taking care to represent all layers of historic evidence in a sensitive, comprehensive but unobtrusive manner, using a full range of interpretation tools and measures;

b.       Use the Interpretation Strategy as an essential component in future decision making for site uses and development;

c.        Prepare a detailed design for public access and interpretation routes through and around Cockatoo Island ensuring that the significance of the place is readily able to be appreciated;

d.       Interpret the major aspects of significance of Cockatoo Island in all conservation, archaeological and development proposals for the site.

e.       Set up a repository for documentary and pictorial material.

f.         Utilise primary sources to present accurate and authentic information.

Research and Training

Policy 26

Key staff and other stakeholders with responsibilities are to have the appropriate knowledge and skills to manage the heritage values of the island.

a.        Develop training programs for staff and persons involved in undertaking works on Cockatoo Island, to make them familiar with the heritage values of the place.

 

Monitoring and Review

Policy 27

Continually monitor the Plan to assess its effectiveness in protecting and conserving the National and Commonwealth heritage values.

a.        Ensure the Harbour Trust’s Heritage Strategy is kept up to date in accordance with Section 341ZA of the EPBC Act.

b.       Ensure the Harbour Trust’s Heritage Register is kept up to date in accordance with Section 341ZB of the EPBC Act. This includes the monitoring of the condition of the heritage values through identification of any conservation works undertaken, repairs and maintenance, and any significant damage or threat to heritage values.

 

Policy 28

Undertake a full review of the Plan in accordance with Sections 319, 324W and 341X of the EPBC Act.

a.        Full review of the Plan at least every 5 years after the Plan is made.

b.       All subsidiary plans to be reviewed, as a minimum, on a five yearly basis.

 


 

Convict / Institutional era Policies

Cockatoo Island has been home to convict, penal and institutional activity and represents the principal characteristics of Australian convict sites including: hard labour as a means of punishment and deterrence to the British criminal class; use of convict labour for the establishment of the colony through public works; and secondary punishment for re-offending convicts. Cockatoo Island is important for its ability to demonstrate the function, planning layout and architectural idiom and principal characteristics of an imperial convict public works establishment of the 1840s. (NHL & CHL Criterion d)

 

Of particular significance are the individual elements of the convict period including the rock cut grain silos, the prisoners’ Barracks and Mess Hall, the Military Guard House, the Military Officers Quarters, the Free Overseers’ Quarters and Biloela House all located on the Plateau. On the lower aprons of the Island the Fitzroy Dock and Caisson (and former pump building) and the Engineers’ and Blacksmiths’ shop remain as evidence of convict labour, producing a major piece of government infrastructure (NHL & CHL Criterion a).

 

Cockatoo Island Convict Site contributes to the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property through its capacity to meet criterion (iv) has by demonstrating in its fabric and setting the geo-political spheres of influence of the British Empire, in addition to its contribution to the emergence of a national penitentiary systems as recognized under criterion (vi).

 

 

Policies

Supporting Policies

Policy 29

Protect, conserve, maintain and enhance the significant convict and institutional structures and their settings and fabric in-situ.

 

a.        Alterations to significant fabric must provide a positive benefit for the long term conservation or interpretation of the place. Preferably no further intervention to the significant fabric is to occur except where it facilitates its interpretation and public accessibility.

b.       Removal of intrusive fabric of low heritage significance may be considered if it aids in the interpretation and visibility of significant fabric.

c.        Any change or intervention in the significant fabric, other than is necessary to prevent the deterioration of the fabric, or the fabric surrounding it, should only be undertaken following a detailed assessment of impacts.

Policy 30

Carefully manage incremental change to ensure retention and maintenance of fabric in-situ.

 

a.        Avoid any further incremental change to the significant fabric of convict remains.

b.       Encourage the use of traditional materials and methods in conservation works.

c.        Remove trees with large roots threatening stone walls and other convict remains.

d.       Reinstate and / or interpret gardens and fences.

e.       Conserve all sandstone fabric associated with the convict era.

Policy 31

All new work to be reversible where possible.

 

a.        Do not fix to or core through penal phase building fabric.

b.       Use existing penetrations, fixing points, and conduits if necessary.

 

Policy 32

Ensure the adaptive re-use of existing Convict and institutional heritage respects the heritage significance and built fabric of the place.

a.        Buildings of exceptional significance are to be directly managed by the Harbour Trust to ensure appropriate uses are found and public access is provided.

b.       New uses are to allow for the interpretation of the original pattern of use.

c.        Ensure the adaptive re-use of buildings has regard for the relevant Conservation Management Plans.

d.       Remove intrusive elements and consider reinstatement of convict structures where there is sufficient evidence.

Evidence of convict hard labour includes the sandstone buildings, quarried cliffs, the rock cut grain silos and the Fitzroy Dock. Fitzroy Dock is outstanding as the only remaining dry dock built using convict and prisoner labour and it is one of the largest convict-era public works surviving in Sydney (NHL Criterion a).

 

Policy 33

Interpret convict structures and the range of buildings used by prisoners and activities carried out by prisoners through the development and implementation of the Cockatoo Island Interpretation Strategy.

a.        Interpret the range of building activities carried out by prisoners by hand.

b.       Retain and interpret existing ruins including gun loopholes and metal supports.

c.        Investigate the methods of interpretation of the Military Guard house, associated kitchen and isolation cell block.

d.       Interpret modifications to the natural landscape for gardens, grain storage, water collection and storage, and the quarry and lumber yard.

e.       Provide an interpretative display within the former Prisoners’ Barracks, Mess Hall, Mess Shed, Cook House and Workshop.

Policy 34

Protect, conserve and maintain the remaining penal colony houses, their original fabric and their garden settings in particular Biloela House (Building 22).

 

 

a.        Conserve original and significant fabric including window openings, doors, internal walls, ceilings and mouldings contributing to the significance of the five houses and adapt them for contemporary use.

b.       Where evidence exists, reconstruct and interpret individual gardens including the vegetable garden north of Building 24.

c.        Reinterpret the relationship of Building 9 and Building 11 and interpret the missing building between them.

Policy 35

Retain views to and from significant places on the Plateau

 

a.        Re-establish view from the Military Guard House into the Prisoners’ Compound.

b.       Re-instate extensive harbour views from verandahs of the residential quarters by re-opening verandas and pruning to re-establish views.

Plateau Precinct – Convict Gaol Policies

 

Policies

Supporting Policies

Policy 36

Protect, conserve, maintain and interpret all the fabric and elements associated with the Convict period of occupation on the plateau.

a.        Conserve the group of convict built sandstone buildings (buildings 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 11, 20, 22 and 22A).

b.       There are to be no new structures or fabric elements introduced in the convict gaol (excepting those introduced to restore previously removed original Convict period fabric).

c.        Interpretive devices must be carefully considered and located in a way that does not detract from the heritage significance of the place.

d.       Consider re-instating gardens and terraces where there is evidence to support such actions.

e.       Investigate former convict courtyard surface to inform re-surfacing of this area and provide proper drainage.

The Island has research potential in terms of enhancing the knowledge of the operation of a convict industrial site (NHL criterion c)

 

Policy 37

Protect and conserve any archaeological remains within the precinct.

a.        Carry out archaeological investigation to improve the understanding and interpretation of Convict heritage values.

b.       Ensure all work and any excavation is supervised by an archaeologist with expertise in Convict remains.

c.        Ensure archaeologists investigate all sensitive areas before works take place.

d.       Where any archaeological remains are encountered all work must cease until archaeological advice is obtained and approval is granted to proceed.

e.       Protect and interpret footings of the Lumber Yard Workshop Building, which have been revealed within Building 13.

 

Dockyard Policies

Cockatoo Island’s dockyard, through its contribution to Australia’s naval and maritime history, demonstrates outstanding significance to the nation. It operated for 134 years between 1857 and was Australia’s primary shipbuilding facility for much of this time. The dockyard contains the earliest, most extensive and most varied record of shipbuilding, both commercial and naval in Australia and has the potential to enhance our understanding of maritime and heavy industrial processes in Australia from the mid nineteenth century.

 

It is the only surviving example of a 19th century dockyard in Australia to retain some of the original service buildings. Of particular note are individual elements including the convict built Fitzroy Dock 1851-57 (and Building 143 the former Pumphouse), the Engineer’s and Blacksmith’s Shop c.1853 as well as the Sutherland Dock 1882-1890 and the Powerhouse 1918 (NHL criteria a & c).

 

 

 

Policies

Supporting Policies

Policy 38

New uses are to maintain the industrial character of the island with retention of significant values and attributes including the dockyard’s long history of additive and adaptive processes.

a.        Any proposals for new uses must be considered in the context of the potential impacts on the significance of the area or components, the sensitivity to change and the role within the dockyard as a whole.

b.       Uses that are compatible with the maritime industrial heritage of the island are to be encouraged as much as possible.

c.        Differing uses and activities may be co-located as this would reflect the previous multiple activities in the area.

d.       Retention and adaptation of existing structures is to be given priority wherever possible over new development.

e.       New structures, including buildings, may be constructed within certain areas of the Island provided they are sensitively located, sympathetic in form, scale and architectural character, removable and/or highly adaptable for a range of long term uses.

f.         New development is to relate sympathetically to and seek where appropriate to interpret the hard edged industrial character and patina of the dockyard areas and components.

Cockatoo Island is important for its ability to demonstrate the function, planning layout and architectural idiom and principal functions of a range of structures and facilities associated with the development and process of the dockyard and shipbuilding industry over a period of 134 years (NHL & CHL Criterion d).

 

The industrial character of the cultural landscape of the Island has developed from the interaction of maritime and prison activity and retains clear evidence of both in a number of precincts. The cultural landscape is articulated by man made cliffs, stone walls and steps, docks, cranes, slipways and built forms (CHL Criterion d).

 

The development of shipbuilding and dockyard facilities has responded to the requirements of different ownership or management systems, changing technologies, ship building techniques and particular contracts (CHL Criterion a).

 

Policy 39

The significance of the complex layering of fabric; uses and associations of the Dockyard is to be recognised, conserved and enhanced / interpreted wherever possible as part of the future management of the place.

a.        Conserve the legibility and centrality of the dockyard-related uses and associations.

b.       Recognise and retain wherever possible the ‘idiosyncrasies’ of the dockyard’s character relating to its physical fabric and relationships to the Island’s historic uses and associations.

 

The range of elements associated with the shipbuilding and dockyard facility date from the 1850s and include items of remnant equipment, warehouse and industrial buildings and a range of cranes, wharves, slipways and jetties which illustrate the materials, construction techniques and technical skills employed in the construction of shipbuilding and dockyard facilities over 140 years (CHL Criteria b & d).

 

 

Policy 40

Protect, conserve, maintain and retain all machinery and equipment in its historic location to assist its interpretation.

 

a.        When undertaking repair or maintenance, care is to be taken to ensure significant fabric and features are not damaged.

b.       Record machinery or equipment needing repair, removal, relocation or alteration for functional, safety or other purposes prior to taking any action.

c.        Return and reinstate machinery and equipment to its known original location when the opportunity arises.

d.       Prepare a long term maintenance program for the dockyard (including all site components) to assist ongoing care and management.

Policy 41

Existing wharfage is to be retained and reused wherever possible.

 

a.        Existing wharfage is to be retained and reused where practicable, given the physical requirements of the intended use.

b.       Existing wharves may be added to and extended and new wharves may be re-established where former wharves existed.

 

Dockyard Precincts – Southern Apron Policies

The buildings on the Southern Apron are the most intact of all the maritime aprons. Important individual elements within the dockyard facility include Fitzroy Dock and Caisson, Sutherland Dock (CHL Criterion b).

 

 

Policies

Supporting Policies

Policy 42

Protect and conserve the significant structures, elements and fabric of the southern apron dockyard precinct.

a.        Repair, maintain and reinstate existing fabric in the precinct. Any repair or maintenance of fabric, particularly where it is part of or connected to convict structures, requires sensitive attention.

b.       Wherever possible maintain all dockyard cranes, machinery and fittings in-situ.

c.        Use expert heritage advice and undertake heritage impact assessments when considering changes to the docks or associated structures and fabric.

 

Policy 43

Conservation and adaptive re-use of existing structures should occur before preparing proposals for redevelopment. Flexibility for adaptation and change is generally possible given the lower ‘sensitivity to change’ rankings of many structures, allowing them to be upgraded for current fit-out, technology and WH&S requirements.

 

 

a.        No works or actions are to be undertaken that would permanently compromise the ability of dry docks to be re-used as such.

b.       Retain as much original fabric as is possible after consideration of the suitability of proposed new uses.

c.        Replace failed fabric to the minimum extent necessary, and ensure it is recognisable as new fabric.

Policy 44

Maritime-related activities such as boat building / repair/ servicing and associated activities should be encouraged as much as possible in this precinct.

a.        Differing uses and activities (including maritime and non-maritime related) may be co-located in this area as this would reflect the multiple activities previously carried out in this area.

The Powerhouse, constructed in 1918, contains the most extensive collection of early Australian electrical, hydraulic power and pumping equipment in Australia (NHL Criterion a).

 

Policy 45

 

The machinery and equipment in the Powerhouse is to be retained in its current location and its significance interpreted.

a.        An appropriate physical and visual setting is to be maintained for the machinery and equipment in the Powerhouse.

b.       Conserve original fabric. Where fabric must be replaced for maintenance or refurbishment, original materials and their operational dimensions are to be reproduced as far as possible.

c.        Future uses for the Powerhouse are to allow for the restoration of the tiled flooring, polished brass railings and the cleanliness typical of electrical and machinery installations.

 

Fitzroy Dock is the oldest surviving dry dock in Australia and operated continuously for over 134 years (1857-1991). The dock and its associated excavation and buildings are outstanding examples of the use of convict and prisoner labour for public works and a major reason for Cockatoo Island’s inclusion in the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Listing (criterion (iv)).

 

The dock was the earliest graving dock commenced in Australia and was one of the largest engineering projects completed in Australia at that time under Gother Kerr Mann, one of Australia’s foremost nineteenth century engineers

(NHL & CHL Criteria a & d).

 

Policy 46

Retain the existing character and integrity of the Fitzroy and Sutherland Docks, their immediate setting and inter-relationships.

a.        The docks are not to be compromised by new structures unless these are required to accommodate uses essential for the viability of the precinct.

b.       Seek to conserve Fitzroy Dock as a dry dock, interpreting its construction and use and its relationship to the former Pumphouse.

c.        Recognise the importance of the dock cassions in interpreting the working of the docks and continue to support their conservation.

d.       The cliff setting to Sutherland Dock must be retained.

Dockyard Precincts – Eastern Apron Policies

 

 

Policies

Supporting Policies

Policy 47

Retain the Parramatta Wharf as the main public entry point.

a.        Protect and conserve the Parramatta Wharf and administration building as part of the main public entrance.

b.       Visitor reception and associated facilities are to be provided adjacent to the wharf.

c.        New wharf access may be provided along the eastern edge of the apron. The design of new maritime facilities is to be in keeping with the industrial character of the Island.

d.       Other controlled access may be considered such as the reinstatement of the Ruby Wharf and steps.

Policy 48

Protect and conserve the eastern cliff face and the open character of the eastern apron whilst facilitating the use of the area for activities such as passive recreation, cultural events and boat storage.

a.        Conserve and interpret the surviving evidence and features relating to previous structures in a manner that maintains and exploits the open underdeveloped nature of this site and allows for its use for large scale events.

b.       Reassessment of the plan may allow for future rebuilding of structures (see policy 52).

c.        Ensure that any new and temporary structures are of a scale appropriate to the character of the Eastern Apron area.

d.       Avoid obstructing views of, or diminishing the significance of the cliff face or footprints of former industrial buildings.

e.       Give consideration to the repair and improvement to the Bolt Wharf to berth large ferries for events.

Cockatoo Island is the only surviving example of a 19th century dockyard in Australia to retain some of the original service buildings including the Pumphouse and the Machine Shops (NHL Criterion a).

 

Policy 49

Protect, conserve and interpret the Turbine Shop and Heavy Machine shops (Buildings 139, 140, 141 and 150) including their cranes, equipment and heavy machinery and their historical associations.

 

a.        Ensure the layering of fabric, changes of use and the relationship to past historical events/associations remains evident in the Turbine Shop and Heavy Machine Shop.

b.       Any changes to buildings and elements within the existing Turbine shop complex need to be assessed in light of their impact on heritage values.

c.        Consider the reconstruction of the roof and clock tower of the former convict workshop.

d.       Give consideration to the design and construction of a new building or buildings at the southern end of the eastern apron to be sympathetic in scale with and complementary to the existing urban and industrial character of the existing historic structures.

 

Policy 50

New uses for the workshops should seek to maintain and enhance previous functions and traditions (eg. Specialist/small scale industrial process) where possible.

a.        Adopt a flexible approach to matching uses with existing spaces

b.       Allow adaptation of areas and spaces generally, particularly where this can be in an ‘additive’ form capable of being removed or reversed.

Policy 51

Protect and conserve the important historic buildings on the southern part of the eastern apron to provide a fine urban street edge to the Bolt Wharf foreshore.

 

a.        It is essential to retain the only remains of the north/south ‘street’ that linked one end of the eastern apron to the other.

b.       Retain the way these buildings address and frame the ‘street’ but explore the possibility of making use of the harbour orientation of their eastern elevations.

Policy 52

Any new development proposed in this precinct should be in a form that is sympathetic with the character and heritage values of the precinct.

a.        New development may be permitted if it is sited where:

·         the existing historic thoroughfares, buildings and archaeology and the general historic character of former land use in the vicinity is retained.

·         Its design acknowledges and works with the existing form/massing/scale and gritty hard-edged industrial character

·         It does not adversely affect key views from the Plateau

·         It retains views from the precinct of the cross-section of the grain silos in the cliff face.

 

Dockyard Precincts – Northern Apron Policies

 

 

Policies

Supporting Policies

Policy 53

The historic unified use and development of the Northern Apron is to be conserved and interpreted as part of future use and development.

a.        Conserve the character and scale of its former use with large open spaces interspersed with large building footprints and remnants of previous use.

b.       Generally retain the open nature of the northern apron for passive recreation, camping and the interpretation of foundations of former structures and ship building equipment.

c.        Maintain a sense of a single, integrated precinct with compatible activities within a larger defined whole to facilitate its interpretation of shipbuilding.

d.       In recognition of its former role as a memorial garden the existing lawn area adjacent to Parramatta Wharf will remain a space for passive recreation.

Policy 54

The two shipbuilding slipways and the Plate Wharf at the western end of the precinct are to be conserved and interpreted.

a.        Use of these components is not to obscure the ability to read their original functions and spatial qualities.

b.       Any commercial adaptive re-use must enhance the conservation of the heritage values of the precinct.

Policy 55

Surviving evidence / features relating to previous structures are to be conserved and interpreted in a manner that retains and exploits the large-scale nature of this part of the site.

a.        The cranes within the Northern Apron Precinct are to be conserved. Consider reinstatement of cranes to operable condition subject to appropriate detailing of refurbishment works.

b.       Consideration could also be given to reinstatement of historic artefacts from the islands which were transferred to Spectacle Island for storage in 1992.

c.        Interpret the northern apron to explain the process of the Plateyard and materials / elements being transported and added to the ships being built on the slipways.

d.       Interpret the stories of former workers and of boat launches.

 

Policy 56

New development will be permitted if it maintains the industrial character of the island with retention of significant values and attributes.

a.        New development must be sensitively sited relative to the historic thoroughfares and buildings, the archaeological evidence of earlier structures and the general historic character of land use in the vicinity.

b.       The design of new development must acknowledge and work with the existing form / massing / scale and industrial character of the precinct’s shipyard-related development.

c.        New development must not adversely affect key views from the Plateau to the north, northwest and northeast and towards the island from neighbouring vantage points.

Plateau Precinct – Workshops

 

 

Policies

Supporting Policies

Policy 57

Protect, conserve and maintain the workshop buildings (6, 10, 12, 13, 15 and 19) their industrial character, and their relationship to open spaces and courtyards, whilst ensuring that convict remains are not affected.

a.        Protect, conserve and maintain the fabric of the workshop buildings (6, 10, 12, 13, 15 and 19), their structural systems and the elements which contribute to the significance of the place.

b.       Protect, conserve and maintain the water towers and their fabric.

c.        Carry out archaeological investigation for Convict era remains around Buildings 12 and 13.

d.       Conserve and interpret the remains of the Lumber Yard workshop revealed within Building 13.

e.       Conserve and interpret the Mould Loft floor (first floor Building 10) as an exceptional record of the ships built at Cockatoo since 1912.

f.         Encourage the reintroduction of appropriate light industry through adaptive re-use of workshops.

g.        Interpret the remaining evidence of the Convict Quarry in the northern forecourt area of Building 10.