Cockatoo Island crane restored to steam-powered glory

The Harbour Trust Volunteer Restoration Team has completed restoration of the Travelling Steam Crane “C002”. The crane, which dates back to the early 1900s, has been restored to working order in its steam-powered state. Over a three year period, the team of volunteers worked to dismantle, inspect and repair all elements of the crane, and return it to its original condition.

This Travelling Steam Crane, and its matching, unrestored pair “C001”, are rare examples of early steam powered cranes and are amongst the oldest in Australia. They played an indispensable role in the operation of the Island’s dry docks used for putting the props and scaffolding into the dock when ships came to the Island for repairs. They were used from the early 1900s until well into the late 1980s, and eventually converted to oil firing.

“The restoration of the crane helps to preserve the naval and shipbuilding history of the Island, and make this heritage available for everyone to enjoy,” said Harbour Trust, CEO Mary Darwell. “This achievement would not have been possible without the incredible efforts of the Cockatoo Island Volunteer Restoration Team whose work to preserve these great assets on the Island allows everyone to celebrate the industrial heritage of Sydney’s working Harbour.

“Simultaneously, the Harbour Trust has completed a significant $1.75 million restoration project on the Island’s Convict Workshops with support from a National Historic Grant of $1 million from the Australian Government. These buildings date back to the 1840s and require conservation to retain and reveal their cultural significance. The works included restoration of the stonework and joinery in order to preserve these buildings into the future.

“The Harbour Trust’s continued restoration of the Island allows visitors to gain an insight into the Island’s Indigenous, Convict and Naval history, and discover how it was adapted and used over time with the buildings and dockyards open to the public to visit daily,” said Ms Darwell.

The Convict Workshops have exceptional heritage significance as they relate to the first development of the Island as a penal establishment, and were constructed by convicts using sandstone quarried on the Island. The Convict Workshops and other buildings within the Convict Precinct on the Island are recognised on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Cockatoo Island offers guided and audio tours, special events and exhibitions, food and beverage options as well as glamping, camping and house and apartment accommodation, with the highly coveted New Year’s Eve Glamping and Camping currently on sale for NYE 2017.

Source: Sydney Harbour Federation Trust

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