All The World's A Stage
...everything that's old is new again
The Walsh Bay wharf precinct is situated north-west of The Rocks, between Millers Point and Dawes Point and comprises wharves, shore sheds, bond stores, bridges and roads. A standard modular timber design was developed for the wharves, wharf sheds and shore sheds so that they could easily be adapted to the requirements of individual sites.
In 1900 the bubonic plague broke out in The Rocks and other parts of Sydney, causing widespread alarm and the resumption of most of The Rocks and Millers Point by the Government. Control of the area passed to the port authority, the Sydney Harbour Trust (later the Maritime Services Board, 1936). The Trust's primary commercial aim was to redevelop the wharfage along modern lines. However, because of the quantity of housing under its control it became landlord for Millers Point and between 1900 and the 1920s effectively transformed the area into a type of 'company town'. As well as the reconstruction of Walsh Bay, the Trust, together with the Government Housing Board, constructed workers' housing, shops, kindergartens, hotels and warehouses and also refurbished and reconstructed many existing buildings. In this way the population which serviced the port was accommodated nearby with all its community facilities. By 1930 Millers Point had been reshaped into its present form by the Trust and the area and the nature of its population have changed little since then, apart from a declining component of port workers in the population.
These wharves are constructed of turpentine piles spaced on a 10ft grid, come spliced together to reach down to rock 145ft below sea level. Rows of piles are capped with a 14in by 14in iron-bark headstock and tied together by 12in by 12in iron-bark girders at 3ft 4in centres. The whole was covered with 9in by 4in brush-box decking. Later this was covered with a 4in thick concrete deck. The wharf sheds (typically two storey) are of simple post and beam construction with 9in by 4in hardwood decking and 5in by 2in diagonal sheathing. Travelling platforms run the full length of the wharf shed.
The shore sheds are of similar construction but typically irregularly shaped. Overpass Bridges above Hickson Road give access to the upper levels of each shore shed. Hickson Road which was quarried from the sandstone cliffs gives sea level access.
- Wharf 1 is a long shore wharf with cement rendered wharf shed facade to Hickson Road. Outstanding feature is deep timber balcony to Harbour side end.
- Wharves 2/3 and 4/ 5 are finger wharves with two storey wharf and shore sheds, brick facades to Hickson Road.
- Wharf 6/7 is a finger wharf with one storey wharf shed and two storey shore shed, brick facade to Hickson Road.
- Wharf 8/9 is a finger wharf with two storey wharf and shore shed and adjoining administration block, overhanging top storey.
Construction of the whole complex took place between 1906 and 1922. Wharf 1 was completed in 1913. Wharf 2/3 and sheds were completed in 1920-1921. Wharf 4/5 and sheds completed in 1920-1921. Wharf 6/7 and sheds completed in 1918. Wharf 8/9 and sheds completed in 1912. The Administrative Block was completed c1912.
The hydraulic power system of wharves 8 and 9 is one of the most important power systems developed in the nineteenth century. The system includes the accumulator, pump and electric motor, the high pressure pipes and 3 ton hydraulic lift and two hydraulic hoists and was an essential part of the operations of the wool handling wharves, supplying power to lift hoists and the original wool dumps (bale presses). Other original features include bale elevators, bale elevator platforms, remnants of the bale stacking systems, trucking gangway and openings for the nine hinged wool chutes.
Other industrial and engineering artefacts include ladderways, bale hoists, overhead pulley systems, floor hatches, wooden rollers, a hydraulic ram and cat hoists, overhead travelling cranes, a lifting beam, electric lifts, wool bale drops, wool slides, hoist wells, mooring piles and heavy timber bracings.
Superseded by changing shipping technology in the 1970s, the Walsh Bay complex is believed to be the only one of its type surviving in the world.
The Walsh Bay Wharves have since been converted into a complex of restaurants, a theatre and a hotel. If you take the time to enjoy a lazy stroll around all of the wharf complex, you will be able to see these new features while experiencing glimpses of the area's former maritime glory.
Instructions to locate the cache:
The coordinates for the starting point for this cache will lead you to Wharf 2.
- Some stealth will be required as this wharf is almost always populated by fishermen.
- Bring your own pen or pencil.
Go to Step 1.
Ruth > Geoffrey > Wendy > Barry > Googie > John > Tim > Neil > Hugo > Brian > JC > Nick > John > Hayes
Go to Step 2.
Bertie says, "Good hunting and have fun!"