Update: January 2024

The National Parks and Wildlife Service is replacing the concrete seawall at Nielsen Park, part of the Sydney Harbour National Park.


Works on the seawall resumed on 3 January following a short shutdown over the Christmas break. Construction of the capping beam that connects the foundation piles is continuing to progress along the length of the beach, with 3 concrete pours to the capping beam completed to date. Careful monitoring of the concrete curing is in place to ensure minimal shrinkage cracking as the concrete dries.

Workers pouring concrete to capping beam at Nielsen Park seawall

Completion of the front capping beam will allow backfilling behind the beam to progress, followed by construction of the bleachers, stairs, and access ramps.

Workers with newly poured concrete at Neilsen Park seawall

Delay to program

From June to October 2023, the contractor constructed 217 steel-reinforced concrete piles across the foreshore, which will hold the capping beam and bleachers in place and support the seawall structure.

Unfortunately, during our quality assurance inspections, we found that some of these piles had insufficient concrete coverage and were therefore defective. If left in place this would reduce the lifespan of the pile and potentially the lifespan of the entire seawall structure.

The contractor has now completed all necessary rectification work, at their own cost, including reboring of piles and sleeving of other piles with grouted steel sleeves. This rectification work has had a significant impact on the construction program.

With 217 concrete piles and the sheetpile wall now installed along the full length of the seawall the considerable inground portion of the structure is complete. The contractor’s program now indicates completion of the bleachers in May, with overall completion in June 2024, excluding any inclement weather or latent site conditions.

Heavy equipment sleeving defective piles in the sand at Neilsen Park seawall
Sleeved defective pile, ready for grouting

NSW Public Works are addressing the contractor’s deviation in program and are working with the contractor to identify measures to expedite the completion date.

Visitor access

Shark Beach will remain closed to visitors until the completion of the project. In the interest of everyone’s safety, we kindly request that all visitors refrain from entering the construction site, be it through fencing or water. This area is not safe for visitors.

We appreciate and understand that this further delay is very frustrating, but we are working really hard to ensure that this project is delivered to specification so that this public infrastructure meets its design life of 100 years. Ensuring rectification of any defective work during construction is the only way to ensure we are not left with long-term defects. We will continue to work hard to ensure that everything is executed as efficiently as possible and that we reopen the beach as soon as it is safe to do so.

Did you know?

In 1916, the Nielsen Park Trust built a deep-water wharf and jetty at the southern end of the beach to provide easy ferry access for visitors from Circular Quay and other wharves around the harbour, which made the park a popular spot for picnics. The ferry wharf allowed for a steady increase in park patronage.

However, with the dominance of cars, the ferry service was discontinued in the early 1960s and the wharf was closed in 1972. Due to a lack of maintenance and storm damage, the structure was eventually demolished in 1979.

Black and white image of the Nielsen Park beachfront 1929