Wharves 6/7 and Shoresheds | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Wharves 6/7 and Shoresheds

Item details

Name of item: Wharves 6/7 and Shoresheds
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Other - Residential Buildings (private)
Primary address: 17 Hickson Road, Dawes Point, NSW 2000
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
17 Hickson RoadDawes PointSydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

Wharf 6/7 is of recent construction, replacing one of the original wharves. Despite this, the new wharf contributes to the significance of the precinct by retaining the form and scale of the group of finger wharves.
The Walsh Bay Wharves, associated buildings and works are a predominantly intact port and stevedoring facility created by the Sydney Harbour Trust in response to the requirements of maritime trade during the late Federation period. The precinct documents the workings of a technologically advanced, early twentieth century shipping port, developed specifically to accommodate new mechanised transportation technology. The wharves have a distinctive aesthetic of modular composition within a long wharf building form, and have landmark qualities in the centre of Sydney Harbour. The wharves are unified in materials, form and scale and demonstrate their former maritime use, as well as an important feature of inner Sydney life in the early twentieth century. The precinct as a whole demonstrates technical and creative excellence of the period 1820-1930.
Date significance updated: 05 Oct 06
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: Peddle Thorp and Walker with HPA Architects (original HD Walsh)
Builder/Maker: Mirvac
Construction years: 2000-
Physical description: As part of the redevelopment of the wharf precinct, the single storey Wharf 6/7 was demolished along with its attached shore shed except for the Hickson Road and the western facades.

There are no remaining building elements of heritage significance at Wharf 6/7. The only original significant element reused for the shore shed colonnade is the ironbark columns from the original Wharf 6/7 shed.

The new wharf building at Pier 6/7 was designed to fit within the building envelope of a two storey wharf shed, an originally intended design for Wharf 6/7 that was not carried out. The new building fits seven storeys into the same envelope and accommodates 140 modern apartments, with a basement carpark that is partially submerged. The design retains the long pier form, has a modulated façade to interpret the original design, which gives the composition the same patchwork effect along its two sides. The new building does not connect to the shore shed building, instead forming a sweeping piazza that connects to Wharf 8/9. The new pier was constructed from steel and concrete, removing all the original timber piles, framing and decking. The new steel piles were up to 50m long and were driven 30m into the sea bed.
The new shore shed building is also of modern construction and sits against the retained brick façade to Hickson Road. The shore sheds were demolished from midway between Wharves 4/5 and 6/7 around to the end of the shore sheds at Wharves 8/9. The shore shed colonnade reused the ironbark columns from the original Wharf 6/7 shed. The façade facing the water has an exposed red steel frame, once again broken up into a modular pattern with balconies and shutters and glazing providing a patchwork effect.

The demolished Wharf
The original wharf shed at Pier 6/7 had been intended as a two storey structure with the same modular form as the other piers but delays in the supply of steel and other materials caused the design to be modified. The wharf shed was reduced to one storey, but the construction allowed for a future upper storey to be built and connected to Pottinger Street when funds or the need arose. During the early stages of the original construction, materials were also substituted across the whole project, leading to the timber framed and clad construction of the wharf sheds.
The original wharf shed was a single storey Federation style structure with large sliding doors and openings of similar construction as Pier 2/3. The temporary roof was discovered during the later stages of debate over the future of the wharves and led eventually to the resolution of the final scheme. Wharf 6/7 was noted as having the majority of the significant wharf machinery related to the shipping of wool (CLS&P 1997). This machinery would have been included in the salvaged and interpretation items from the redevelopment project.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Original Wharf : Demolished
Shre shed - largley demolished except for Hickson and western facades which are in good conditon
New Building: Excellent
Date condition updated:01 Aug 08
Modifications and dates: c.2000 - Wharf and most of shore shed: Demolished. C.2000 New Apartment Wharf and Shore Sheds Built.
Current use: Apartments
Former use: Maritime Dock


Historical notes: The rocky terrain of Millers Point limited its early uses to fortifications, anchorage for whalers and windmills. Economic growth and population pressures resulted in more intensive settlement by the 1820s, and land ownership was confirmed by a number of Crown grants in the 1830s. The decade of the 1830s marks the firm beginning of the continuum of development which ended in the 1920s and gives Millers Point/Walsh Bay its remarkable historic character today. By the 1830s, the present basic road system had appeared together with the earliest buildings still extant. The North Shore ferry began operating from Walsh Bay to Blues Point in the 1840s, the location of its wharf still indicated by Ferry Lane. Other shipping wharves had appeared at Millers Point by the same decade, scattered irregularly along the shoreline from Dawes Point to Darling Harbour.
The bubonic plague outbreak of 1900 caused 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 greatest engineering work in Millers Point was the reconstruction of Walsh Bay. In doing this they made the second major modification to the landscape since the cutting of quarries above Kent Street and the making of the Arglye Cut in the early 19th century. The Engineer-in-Chief of the Trust, H.D. Walsh (after whom the bay was subsequently named), designed and constructed a new system of wharves, stores and associated roads and hydraulic systems to service them. A wide service road, Hickson Road, was excavated around the foreshore and the steep topography was used ingeniously to service the wharves at two levels. The wharves were technologically advanced for the time. They were constructed on a standard modular timber design and incorporated an innovative and successful ratproof seawall (DUAP REP 1989). Construction of the whole complex took place between 1906 and 1922.
Work commenced on the original Wharf 6/7 late in 1913. Earlier wharves, jetties and sheds needed to be demolished before work could proceed. Like the other wharves, the progress was delayed by the problem of deep water and the loose sea bed, which was resolved by long spliced turpentine piles. The old jetty had extended to 280’ (85.5m) by 1915 and the foundations and brickwork of the shore sheds were well advanced by this time. The jetty was substantially completed by mid 1916 when the material supplies became a problem, temporarily stopping the work. The change to the design and materials was decided in 1917 and work recommenced only to be halted again by shortages.related to the war. The wharf was eventually completed in 1918, with some additional equipment added in 1919.
The old wharf was used by Burns Philp & Co from the early 1920s as an agent for the Japanese line Nippon Yusen Kaisha, and was used exclusively by Burns Philp up to about 1941, and they continued to retain the berth through to 1970 when the nature of shipping made the berths obsolete (CLS&P 1997). The wharf remained unused until the redevelopment in 2000 saw its demolition.
The Walsh Bay complex is believed to be the only one of its type surviving in the world (SHI). It planned a major scheme of channel dredging, new wharves and reconstructed roadways in Walsh Bay, Darling Harbour, Circular Quay and Woolloomooloo Bay. HD Walsh, Engineer-in-Chief to the Sydney Harbour Trust, supervised the design and construction possibly basing his ideas on wharves in Liverpool and New York. Walsh designed an improved seawall, built of "L" shaped precast reinforced concrete trestles, and erected it at Walsh Bay between 1907 and 1910. It proved to be rat proof. He developed a standard modular timber design for wharves, wharf sheds, and shore sheds which could easily be adapted to the requirements of individual sites.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services (none)-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Technology-Activities and processes associated with the knowledge or use of mechanical arts and applied sciences (none)-
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 (none)-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The new wharf forms part of the Walsh Bay precinct, respecting the general form, composition and building type of the original. It contributes by maintaining the completeness of the finger wharf group and continues the process of modification of the wharf precinct to meet the challenges of changing use.
The Walsh Bay Wharves and their associated infrastructure are a predominantly intact port and stevedore works created by the Sydney Harbour Trust in response to the requirements of maritime trade during the late Federation period. The precinct documents the workings of a technologically advanced, early twentieth century shipping port, developed specifically to accommodate new mechanised transportation technology (DUAP REP 1989).
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The wharves have a distinctive aesthetic of modular composition within a long wharf building form, and are an item of outstanding architectural interest. The new wharf building respects this character and interprets the main elements in a modern composition.
The wharves are a key element in the locality with landmark qualities that give identity to this precinct of the city, and relate to significant items in Sydney Harbour (CLS&P 1997).
The wharves are unified in materials, form and scale and demonstrate their former maritime use (SHI). The new wharf is built to match the original scale, form and proportion of the wharf precinct and makes reference to the original composition whilst using modern materials.
The precinct as a whole demonstrates creative excellence of the period 1820-1930 (DUAP REP 1989).
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The precinct demonstrates the life of inner Sydney in the early twentieth century. (DUAP REP 1989).
The wharves are a prominent element in Sydney’s character and are likely to be held in high regard by a significant population of Sydney (CLS&P 1997).
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The Walsh Bay Wharves and associated infrastructure demonstrate technical excellence of the period 1820-1930 (DUAP REP 1989). The new wharf also achieved a high level of technical resolution introducing techniques to achieve the resupport of the wharves and introducing submerged parking construction.
The wharves are part of the technologically advanced Walsh Bay complex 1906-1922 (CLS&P 1997).
The wharves contain machinery of technological interest (CLS&P 1997).
SHR Criteria f)
The Walsh Bay complex is believed to be the only one of its type surviving in the world (SHI).
SHR Criteria g)
Demonstrates characteristics of early 20th century port infrastructure in Sydney (SHI).
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.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Regional Environmental PlanREP 16 - Walsh Bay 16 Jun 89   
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Millers Point & Walsh Bay Heritage Review2006 Paul Davies Pty Ltd  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenClive Lucas, Stapelton & Partners1997Walsh Bay Precinct Conservation Plan Vols A, B, C, D (HC endorsed 1999)
WrittenDepartment of Urban Affairs and Planning1989 Walsh Bay REP No 16
WrittenLittle, B., Clarke, S. & Whittaker, W.1979 National Trust Listing Card; Walsh Bay Wharves
WrittenState Heritage Register No. 00559 Walsh Bay Precinct

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: 2426249

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