Gosford Wharf Site | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Gosford Wharf Site

Item details

Name of item: Gosford Wharf Site
Other name/s: Wharf
Type of item: Archaeological-Maritime
Group/Collection: Transport - Water
Category: Wharf
Primary address: Reserve, Dane Drive, Gosford, NSW 2250
Local govt. area: Gosford
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Reserve, Dane DriveGosfordGosford  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The Gosford Wharf site on the foreshore of The Broadwater, adjacent to Dane Drive, Gosford has historic and social significance as a very early access point to Gosford district, associated with the early development and industry of the Gosford township, and early transport systems to the region. Although none of the original 1880 structure remains, this does not diminish the site's significance due to its continued use as a wharf site and as a landscape feature of the area.
Date significance updated: 24 Sep 15
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Designer/Maker: N/A
Builder/Maker: N/A
Construction years: 1880-
Physical description: Largely reclaimed land. To the west is a sandstone block and concrete breakwater. A large concrete and bitumen surfaced ramp leads to the wharf. A timber wharf presently forms the entrance to the boat shop. A large timber framed structure is located to the east. Some timber floor boards are bowing and loose and so the structure requires general conservation
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Requires conservation of timber structure and elements
Date condition updated:29 Sep 13
Modifications and dates: No original 1880 structure remains visible from the first wharf.
Further information: Not the original wharf location.


Historical notes: Marks early access point to Gosford township prior to the establishment of the Great North Railway. Site probably in use since 1820s/ 1830s. The steamers plied trade to Darling Harbour and Pyrmont in Sydney in the early 1900s which made a big difference to the economy of Gosford. The steamers were the "Gosford" and the "Erina". Two launches called four times a week and horse drawn carriages pulled up to the dock. During the late 1930s, the very short original 1880 wharf was demolished and a new wharf constructed when the foreshore was filled.

Note: Original wharf location is shown on the parish map 'Plan of Survey, part Town of Gosford, 1884, N5902071', Lands Dept. NSW, is now within an area of reclaimed land.

Until European settlement, the area around Gosford was inhabited by the Guringai peoples, who were principally coastal-dwellers and the Darkinjung people that inhabited the hinterland. Along with the other land around the Hawkesbury River estuary, the Brisbane Water district was explored during the early stages of the settlement of Sydney. In the early 19th century some pioneering European settlers began occupying the land, for timber-cutting (mainly ironbark and Australian red cedar), lime production and grazing.[citation needed]

Gosford itself was explored by Governor Phillip between 1788 and 1789. The area was difficult to access and settlement did not start before 1823. By the late 19th century the agriculture in the region was diversifying, with market gardens and citrus orchards occupying the rich soil left after the timber harvest. The road between Hawkesbury (near Pittwater) and Brisbane Water was a cart wheel track even in 1850.

Convicts once lived and worked in the Gosford area. In 1825, Gosford's population reached 100, of which 50% were convicts.

East Gosford was the first centre of settlement. Gosford was named in 1839 after Archibald Acheson, 2nd Earl of Gosford a friend of the then Governor of New South Wales George Gipps.

In 1887, the rail link to Sydney was completed, requiring a bridge over the Hawkesbury River and a tunnel through the sandstone ridge west of Woy Woy. The introduction of this transport link and then the Pacific Highway in 1930 accelerated the development of the region.

Gosford became a town in 1885 and was declared a municipality in 1886.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Transport-Activities associated with the moving of people and goods from one place to another, and systems for the provision of such movements Wharf-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Utilities-Activities associated with the provision of services, especially on a communal basis Transport facility-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Civil works by local Government-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The site marks the general area where the first public wharf was located in order that people and goods could be transferred between the vessel which serviced the residential locations around Brisbane Water. The primary Gosford wharf records a period of the development of the Brisbane Water area, when ferry transport was vital to the community. It is also a record of a period when agricultural produce was shipped by ferries to market days in Gosford.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Water transport and the general development of Gosford and the villages on Brisbane Water
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The character of the stone wharf can be interpreted from the remnants at the end of the approach road/wharf. The remnants are characteristic of the traditional early wharves consisting of perimeter stone retaining walls with inner fill. The current structure contributes to the shoreline view as the primary wharf destination on Brisbane Water, larger in scale, similar materials and design that record the earlier communities so dependent upon water transport. The wharves are a characteristic and dominating feature of the area.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The Gosford wharf site has a high level of social significance as generations of the local community, agricultural producers and visitors experienced the ferry journey and its scenic qualities to and from the areas around Brisbane Water. The wharf is likely to have had a significant impact on the economic and social development of those living in the vicinity of Gosford and Brisbane Water. The site has been identified as having significance in previous heritage studies and lists.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The site has maritime archaeological value. The site remnants have archaeological value as relics, under the NSW Heritage Act.
Integrity/Intactness: Poor/Poor
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:

Recommend for retention on the Gosford City Council LEP. Consideration should be given for requirement of an Assessment of Heritage Impact prior to any proposals for works which may adversely impact on the significance of the site, its curtilage or its landscape value. The form, scale and character of the site should be retained. The relevant authority who has jurisdiction over the site should be notified with the aim of ensuring preservation. List as category 4 item. Not the original wharf location.


Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Statutory InstrumentList on a Local Environmental Plan (LEP)29 Sep 13
Recommended ManagementNotify Relevant organisations or agencies29 Sep 13
Recommended ManagementPrepare a maintenance schedule or guidelines29 Sep 13
Recommended ManagementCarry out interpretation, promotion and/or education29 Sep 13


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanGosford LEP 2014A811 Feb 14   
Local Environmental Plan 2421 Dec 12   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Gosford Heritage Study1999 Graeme BrookesGBA No
Gosford Heritage Review - Stage 2200112Suters Architects  Yes
Gosford Community Based Heritage Study2013 David Scobie Architects Pty Ltd  Yes

References, internet links & images


Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 1620051

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