Waterview Wharf Workshops | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

Waterview Wharf Workshops

Item details

Name of item: Waterview Wharf Workshops
Other name/s: Adelaide Steamship Company wharf; Burns timber yard
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Water
Category: Shipyard
Location: Lat: -33.8549423154 Long: 151.1924799700
Primary address: 37 Nicholson Street, Balmain, NSW 2041
Parish: Petersham
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Leichhardt
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT101 DP816494
LOT102 DP816495
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
37 Nicholson StreetBalmainLeichhardtPetershamCumberlandPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
NSW MaritimeState Government21 Oct 05
NSW MaritimeState Government 
They Group Pty LtdPrivate 

Description

Construction years: 1880-1941
Physical description: Complex:
The Waterview Wharf Workships are an attractive, well-proportioned group of purpose-built maritime industrial buildings on the foreshore of Waterview Bay, Balmain. They form part of the few surviving maritime structures which once stretched along the southern shore of the harbour from Balmain to Garden Island and includs the wharves of Pyrmont, Walsh Bay, Circular Quay and Woolloomooloo (Godden, 1988).

The Waterview Wharf Workshops site, through erection of the stone sea wall and excavation of the former cliff to provide fill on which the Burns Mill was built, illustrates the importance of the waterfront industrial land in Balmain in the late 19th century (ibid, 1988).

The Waterview Wharf Workshops are the last significant remnant of the early 20th century maritime industry which was concentrated in Waterview Bay and included Mort's Dock, West's Sail Loft, the UTA Ferry Workshops and Sydney Slipways (ibid, 1988).

The workshops possess sufficient fabric for the site to be adequately interpreted in industrial archaeological terms (ibid, 1988).

The workshops are one of the few remaining industrial sites which exhibit, through the wharf access road and the air raid shelter, the effect of the Second World War on the fabric of domestic industrial sites (ibid, 1988).

Building 2: (c.1900)
Located at the top of the site adjacent to the Zig Zag Reserve. This western-most building was built at the same time as the lower, c.1900 buildings and is very similar in design and construction, albeit of a much-smaller scale. It has a timber frame with walls clad in corrugated iron, a corrugated asbestos cement roof with skylights and timber floors. It is two storeys, with the same type of windows as found elsewhere on site (ibid, 2016, 6).

Provides physical evidence of an important historical phase on the site, that of the ship-building years of the Adelaide Steamship Company. It relates to the other Edwardian era buildings on the lower part of the site (ibid, 2016, 6).

Its existing corrugated asbestos roof sheeting replaced an original corrugated iron roof c.1940 (ibid, 2016). There is no ceiling lining and the underside of the roof cladding forms the ceiling (ibid, 2016, 8).

Building 1 (c.1940)
Constructed approximately when the roadway was built to provide office space, amenities and storage. Built variously of brick fibro and corrugated iron, it is (one of a number of) general-purpose personnel-centred buildings built, indicative of the historical decline in the ship-building industry and of Adelaide Steamship Company after the (Second World) war as it provides evidence of the last development phase on the site. It is likely the existing asbestos roof and walls are original fabric. It had ancillary functions and did not play an important role in the industrial use of the site (LouiseThom , 2016, 6).
Former use: Shipping Company workshops

History

Historical notes: The key periods of significance of the property relate to the late 19th century and early 20th century use of the site (LouiseThom , 2016). There are three distinct historical phases of development on the site. The first relates to the Burns timber yard from 1880-1898. The second (1900-1939) to the outbreak of (World War II) war was the Adelaide Steamship Company. The third is the Adelaide Steamship Company during the (World War II) war years and its subsequent decline until the 1960s (ibid, 2016, 6).

The Waterview Wharf Workships are...purpose-built maritime industrial buildings on the foreshore of Waterview Bay, Balmain. They form part of the few surviving maritime structures which once stretched along the southern shore of the harbour from Balmain to Garden Island and includs the wharves of Pyrmont, Walsh Bay, Circular Quay and Woolloomooloo (Godden, 1988).

This workshops site, through erection of the stone sea wall and excavation of the former cliff to provide fill on which the Burns Mill was built, illustrates the importance of the waterfront industrial land in Balmain in the late 19th century (ibid, 1988).

The workshops are the last significant remnant of the early 20th century maritime industry which was concentrated in Waterview Bay and included Mort's Dock, West's Sail Loft, the UTA Ferry Workshops and Sydney Slipways. They represent the importance of maritime trade to the development of Sydney in the early 20th century. They are one of the most tangible remnants of the Adelaide Steamship Company which for decades was the largest shipping company in Australia. The siting of the Company's workshops in Waterview (Mort) Bay was a major event in the maritime history of Sydney. The workshops are directly associated with Thomas Elder and Robert Barr Smith who were two of Australia's most prominent 19th century entrepreneurs (ibid, 1988).

The Waterview Wharf Workshops were one of the principal employers of labour in Balmain in the early 20th century. Like Mort's Dock, the Adelaide Steamship Company used casual labour rather than permanent labour and was responsible, in part, for the entrenching of union values in the suburb (of Balmain)(ibid, 1988). The Waterview Wharf Workshops had the reputation for being the finest-equipped repair facilities of medium size in Sydney (ibid, 1988).

Building 2 is from the 1st phase of the Adelaide Steamship Company development on the site between 1900 and 1939. It was built in the final phase of the company('s occupation)(ibid, 2016, 6). It originally had a corrugated iron roof that was replaced with a corrugated asbestos roof c.1940 (ibid, 2016, 3).

Building 1 was originally constructed c.1940, likely of asbestos roofing and walls (ibid, 2016, 3). This building is indicative of the historical decline in the ship-building industry and of Adelaide Steamship Company after the (Second World) war as it provides evidence of the last development phase on the site. It had ancillary functions and did not play an important role in the industrial use of the site (LouiseThom , 2016, 6).

The substantial site works and construction of new buildings on the site in the 1940s coincided with the increasingly widespread use of asbestos as a building material at this time (ibid, 2016, 6).

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 Transport-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Developing local, regional and national economies-National Theme 3
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Forestry-Activities associated with identifying and managing land covered in trees for commercial purposes. Coastal timbergetting-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Forestry-Activities associated with identifying and managing land covered in trees for commercial purposes. Transporting timber and forest products-
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 and shipping history-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Changing land uses - from rural to suburban-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Developing towns in response to topography-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Shaping coastal settlement-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages 20th Century infrastructure-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages 19th Century Infrastructure-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Creating landmark structures and places in suburban settings-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Wharfside and Port Work Culture-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working on the waterfront-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working in ports and on shipping-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Robert Barr Smith, prominent 19th c. Entrepreneur-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Thomas Elder, prominent 19th c. Entrepreneur-

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act See File For Schedule


Order Under Section 57(2) to exempt the following activities from Section 57(1):
(1) The maintenance of any building or item on the site where maintenance means the continuous protective care of existing material; and
(2) Garden maintenance including cultivation, pruning, weed control, the repair and maintenance of existing fences, gates and garden walls and tree surgery but not extensive lopping;
Dec 8 1989
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0068702 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0068708 Dec 89 1191063
Regional Environmental Plan  25 Mar 94   
National Trust of Australia register   31 Dec 88   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Waterview Wharf Workshops View detail
WrittenGodden, Don1988Conservation Policy for Waterview Wharf Workshops

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: Heritage Office
Database number: 5045695
File number: S90/04354 & HC 87 1978


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