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Cockatoo Island, Rozelle, NSW, Australia

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List National Heritage List
Class Historic
Legal Status Listed place (01/08/2007)
Place ID 105928
Place File No 1/12/022/0089
Summary Statement of Significance
Cockatoo Island is highly significant for its associations with convicts and the nature and extent of its remains demonstrate the principal characteristics of a dual use convict site where incarceration is combined with hard labour.
 
Cockatoo Island operated as a penal establishment from 1839-69, primarily as a place of secondary punishment for convicts who had reoffended in the colonies.  Convicts sent to Cockatoo Island were subject to harsh living and working conditions and the place is outstanding as a site of severe punishment and labour.  The main form of hard labour on the Island was quarrying, labouring and construction.  Convicts excavated 580 000 cubic feet of rock creating 45 feet (14 metre) sandstone cliffs to prepare an area to construct a dock.  The Fitzroy Dock was constructed between 1839-1847 and is the only remaining dry dock in Australia built using convict and prisoner labour.  Fitzroy Dock was strategically situated on Cockatoo Island to provide services to the Royal Navy which at that time had no depot in the South Pacific.
 
Convicts also constructed impressive underground silos to store wheat.  These were hand hewn in rock and averaged 19 feet (5.8 metres) deep and 20 feet (6 metres) in diameter.  The silos were built in response to the severe drought of 1837-39 and were part of a strategy to reduce the colony’s reliance on infrequent grain shipments.
 
Cockatoo Island contains an extensive suite of extant buildings and fabric related to the administration, incarceration and working conditions of convicts and has considerable potential to contribute to our understanding of the operation of a convict industrial site.
 
Cockatoo Island is also important to the nation as a pre and post Federation shipbuilding complex.  It operated for 134 years between 1857-1991.  It was Australia’s primary shipbuilding facility for much of this time and contributed significantly to Australia’s naval and maritime history.  It was Australia’s first naval dockyard for the Royal Australian Navy (1913-21) and continued to support and build ships for the Navy through two World Wars, Korea and Vietnam. It retains extensive fabric associated with ship building (including the Fitzroy and Sutherland docks).  The place demonstrates the principal characteristics of a long running dockyard and ship building complex including evidence of key functions, structures and operational layout.  Cockatoo Island contains the nation’s most extensive and varied record of shipbuilding and has the potential to enhance our understanding of maritime and heavy industrial processes in Australia from the mid nineteenth century.

Official Values
Criterion A Events, Processes
Cockatoo Island is a convict industrial settlement and pre and post-federation shipbuilding complex. It is important in the course of Australia’s cultural history for its use as a place of convict hard labour, secondary punishment and for public works, namely its history and contributions to the nation as a dockyard.
 
Fitzroy Dock is outstanding as the only remaining dry dock built using convict and prisoner labour and it is one of the largest convict-era public works surviving in Sydney.  The dock was the earliest graving dock commenced in Australia and was one of the largest engineering projects completed in Australia to that time. Convicts excavated 580,000 cubic feet of rock creating 45 foot (14 metre) sandstone cliffs that extended around the site just to prepare the area for the dock, a huge technical achievement in itself.

The dockyard’s lengthy 134 years of operation and its significance during both world wars, and in Australia’s naval development and service as the Commonwealth dockyard all contribute to its outstanding value to the nation.  It is the only surviving example of a 19th century dockyard in Australia to retain some of the original service buildings including the pump house and machine shop. The powerhouse, constructed in 1918, contains the most extensive collection of early Australian electrical, hydraulic power and pumping equipment in Australia.

The surviving fabric related to convict administration includes the prisoners' barracks, hospital, mess hall, military guard and officers' room, free overseers' quarters and the superintendent’s cottage. Evidence of convict hard labour includes the sandstone buildings, quarried cliffs, the underground silos and the Fitzroy Dock.

Cockatoo Island’s dockyard, through its contribution to Australia’s naval and maritime history, demonstrates outstanding significance to the nation. Fitzroy Dock is the oldest surviving dry dock in Australia operating continuously for over 134 years (1857-1991). The dockyard has direct associations with the convict era, Australia’s naval relationship with its allies (particularly Britain during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries) and Australia’s naval development, especially during the First and Second World Wars. Cockatoo Island’s development into Australia’s primary shipbuilding facility and Australia’s first Naval Dockyard for the RAN (1913-21) further demonstrates its outstanding importance in the course of Australia’s history.
 
Criterion C Research
There has been considerable archaeological investigation on Cockatoo Island by the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust. This has indicated that it has significant research potential in terms of enhancing the knowledge of the operation of a convict industrial site and a long running dockyard.
 
The surviving archaeological elements of now demolished or obscured structures and functions of the dockyard, in particular the remains of docks, equipment, warehouse and industrial buildings and a range of cranes, wharves, slipways and jetties, have potential to illustrate and reveal the materials, construction techniques and technical skills employed in the construction of shipbuilding and dockyard facilities that are no longer available through other sources in Australia. The archaeological resources also have importance in demonstrating changes to maritime and heavy industrial processes and activities in Australia from the mid-nineteenth century.  
 
The dockyard contains the earliest, most extensive and most varied record of shipbuilding, both commercial and naval, in Australia. This is supported by extensive documentary evidence in the National Archives.
 
Criterion D Principal characteristics of a class of places
Cockatoo Island represents some of the principal characteristics of Australian convict sites including: hard labour as a means of punishment and deterrence to the British 'criminal class'; use of convict labour for the establishment of the colony through public works; and secondary punishment for re-offending convicts.
 
Cockatoo Island is of outstanding importance to the nation as a site of severe punishment. The level of severity is expressed through the policy to extend convicts with 'no indulgence beyond the strict Government ration'. The fundamental purpose of Cockatoo Island was to be the worst possible place imaginable and the ultimate deterrent and is a fine example as a symbol of the harsh treatment used to deter the 'criminal class' in Britain. Fitzroy Dock and its associated excavation and buildings are outstanding examples of the use of convict and prisoner labour for public works. The underground silos, remaining evidence from quarrying and the group of convict built structures on the island are also a testament to public works undertaken by the convicts. Although convicts under various sentences ended up at Cockatoo Island, it was established specifically as, and primarily was a place of secondary punishment for re-offending convicts.
 
Cockatoo Island critically represents the principal characteristics of a dual use convict site, one that both incarcerates convicts and provides them with hard labour.
 
The values expressed at Cockatoo Island are important for their ability to demonstrate the function, planning layout and architectural idiom and principal characteristics of an imperial convict public works establishment of the 1840s; and the functions, planning layout and architectural idiom and principal characteristics of a range of structures and facilities associated with the development and processes of the dockyard and shipbuilding industry over a period of 134 years. 
 
Description
In its original state it was 12.9 hectares in size, however  it has been expanded to 17.9 hectares through cutting, filling and reclamation. Almost all of the original vegetation of the island has been removed, and the current vegetation includes plants growing on the quarried cliff faces and planting of exotic species in the garden areas.  Its landscape is articulated by man made cliffs, stone walls and steps, docks, cranes, slipways and built forms (GAO CMP:2005:p2).
 
Cockatoo Island consists of a sandstone plateau up to 79 feet (24 metres) above water level that has been gradually reduced from its original extent by quarrying for sandstone building blocks and excavation for docks and buildings. Spoil from these activities over time has been used to help create the surrounding flat apron areas.
 
The plateau area can be divided into three main areas dictated by the convict era layout. The western end comprises the prisoners barracks and hospital (1839-42) form three sides of an open courtyard with the mess hall (1847-51) comprising the fourth side. West of the barracks a formal lawn encloses the roofless military guard house (1842), and the military officers quarters (1845-57).
 
The central part has the two Free Overseers Quarters and evidence of the Prison Quarry area.  The latter has been built over by a group of six large dockyard buildings. The Electrical shop is built in the area excavated for the water cisterns. These large buildings plus two concrete elevated water tanks are part of the island’s distinctive silhouette.
 
The eastern end of the plateau is the residential area comprising the remaining convict era structures of the Superintendent’s residence substantially enlarged in 1860, the Clerk of Petty Sessions residence is adjacent to Biloela house. A second free overseers quarters was converted to an air raid shelter in 1942.  The rock hewn silos are visible only as covers at ground level and two half silos are exposed from prior quarrying. The symmetrical silos are bottle shaped, and an incision on the surface of the rock indicates the diameter of the silo below ground, averaging 19 feet (5.8 metres) deep and 20 feet (6 metres) in diameter.  Additions were made to three Federation style residences constructed by the dockyard in 1915-16.
 
The lower part of the island, which surrounds the central area, has been mostly levelled and developed for dockyard purposes and still accommodates over 80 industrial buildings, concrete pads from demolished buildings, cranes, dry docks and wharf related structures. Many buildings and wharves were demolished after the closure of the dockyard, and this has resulted in large open areas on the northern and eastern foreshores. A detailed description of the remaining buildings, machinery and equipment associated with the dockyard can be found in the Godden Mackay Logan Conservation Management Plan, February 2006.
 
The apron areas beneath the plateau can also be divided into distinct precincts.
The southern area with the two docks Fitzroy Dock and Sutherland Dock:
 
Fitzroy Dock is an excavated dry dock 472 feet (144 metres) in length and maximum beam of vessel which could be docked is 49 feet (14.8 metres). Its sides are lined and stepped with sandstone masonry blocks to facilitate shoring of ships and access to ships for maintenance and repair. The dock can be pumped out by the electrical pumping plant located in the Powerhouse building and is connected to the pump wells by a deep conduit alongside the Sutherland Dock. Twelve of the original 15 gun barrel bollards remain in place (three are held in storage). The present caisson was completed by the dockyard in July 1932.
 
The Sutherland Dock is an excavated dry dock lined with bluestone concrete blocks (partly replaced by new concrete in the late 20th century). The dock is 686 feet (209 metres) long when the caisson is in the inner fit, 89 feet (27 metres) in breadth and the depth of the water over the sill at high tide is 32 feet (9.75 metres). The lower altars are bluestone concrete, the broad altars and copings are granite and the upper altars sandstone ashlar. A sliding steel caisson was installed in 1975 to replace the original wrought iron caisson.
 
The eastern area with the large group of interconnected sheds abutting the convict built Steam Workshop built at the same time to support the Fitzroy Dock. The northern part of this apron has had its buildings demolished (1991) except for the Administration Building adjacent to the Parramatta wharf to the main point of entry to the island.
 
The northern apron is also devoid of its main buildings and is now a grassed area ending in the two concrete slipways. At the western end of the island is the brick Powerhouse with its landmark brick chimney.
 
History
Unless otherwise specified, the history is sourced from the Godden Mackay Logan and Government Architects Office CMPs, 2006.
 
In the early 1820s convict assignment was increased to provide cheap labour to free settlers and to relieve the burden on the British Treasury. For those who continued to offend, or whose crimes were such that they could not be assigned, life was often much harder. A report from Governor Bourke in 1837 on the overcrowded secondary punishment penal establishment at Norfolk Island stated the system of convict management produced ‘no real reformation of heart’. This resulted in passing of ‘An Act for the Conditional remission of Sentences of Convict transported to Norfolk Island and Moreton Bay and to enforce the conditions thereof’ (The Public General Statutes of New South Wales:1838-46). The Act substituting hard labour for transportation to a place of secondary punishment was introduced in June 1838. Secondary offenders ‘of good conduct’ who had been sentenced by the colonial courts to Norfolk Island or Moreton Bay could earn conditional remission of parts of their sentences by working in irons on the roads or other public works. The Act made labour available for public works where it was most needed, and remitting sentences reduced costs by removing men from the convict system early. In a climate of changing views about the object of punishment, it also provided a rather different opportunity for prisoner reform (2005 CMP: 2005:16). Cockatoo Island was selected by Governor George Gipps as the ideal location for a place of hard labour; isolated, easy to provision and secure, but not distant and so was ‘under the very eye of authority’.
 
Convict settlement of Cockatoo Island 1839 - 1841
In February 1839, under direction of Governor Sir George Gipps, an initial contingent of sixty commuted prisoners from Norfolk Island was sent to Cockatoo under military escort. The initial establishment was a convict stockade, worked by men in irons, with ‘no indulgence beyond the strict Government ration’ to construct the convict establishment. By May, convict numbers had increased to 167. The island had ample supply of sandstone for quarrying and more permanent prisoners barracks commenced. Convicts constructed a wharf to receive essential supplies of goods and provisions, extensive terraced gardens and walling and with no fresh source of water, cut water tanks in the rock above the escarpment.  In response to drought, fluctuating wheat prices and infrequent shipments of grain to the colony, Governor Gipps ordered convicts to excavate up to 20 grain silos by hand in solid rock to store grain for future use in the colony.  This was later (1841) seen by British Government as an interference with free market forces and all grain was ordered to be sold.
 
In 1840 transportation to New South Wales was suspended, but it was to be many years before all its convicts ceased to be a burden on the British Treasury. The majority of those who had been transported to New South Wales were assigned, or had tickets of leave, but there remained about 5 000 prisoners who were still under punishment, or who through illness or disability were still maintained by the government.
 
Governor Gipps responded to the considerable pressure for convict accommodation by gazetting Cockatoo Island in 1841 as a place for the reception of male offenders under sentence of transportation (GAO CMP p4(2.1.6)). Transportation to New South Wales had ended, but the worst offenders were now to housed much closer to the heart of the colony.
 
The second building phase – 1841-44
With an increasing workforce, the second phase of building construction included permanent accommodation for the military guard and a combined guard house and barracks for 56 soldiers. Two cells under the cookhouse and a range of twelve solitary cells was completed in 1843. The cells were excavated out of solid rock and accessed by ladder through a trap door from above. By 1844 all of the major penal buildings on Cockatoo Island were complete.
 
In 1842 there were 342 prisoners on the island. With accommodation already overcrowded it was difficult to carry out the only form of classification that had been ordered by the Governor, to keep the Norfolk Island men separate from those who had been sentenced to transportation (State Records NSW in GAO CMP 2005: p20).
 
The numbers decrease, and increase
Captain Alexander Maconochie’s social experiment in penal reform on Norfolk Island meant that it solely received prisoners newly arrived from Britain. Those convicted in New South Wales of transportable offences were sent to Cockatoo Island. The experiment was abandoned in 1844 and all doubly convicted prisoners under sentence of transportation on Cockatoo Island were sent to Norfolk Island. As the remaining convict population of the colony decreased rapidly in the 1840s, the population on Cockatoo Island did likewise, to 85 by 1847. By this time there were no prisoners trustworthy enough to serve as overseers, an integral part of the system. In total, about 1 440 prisoners had been brought to Cockatoo Island from Norfolk Island, the majority of whom had their sentences commuted. Their conduct, Governor Gipps reported, ‘both on the Island and after their release from it, has been such as fully to vindicate the Act, indeed to prove in a remarkable degree the policy no less than the mercy of it.’ (GOA CMP:2005:21).
 
In October 1847 Earl Grey sent instructions for as many prisoners as possible to be given tickets of leave or conditional pardons, to relieve the government of the expense of their upkeep. Those who could not be released on such terms would be sent to Van Diemen’s Land. Once again, insufficient accommodation for this in Van Diemen’s Land resulted in the use of Cockatoo Island. Norfolk Island would be used for convicts still serving their original sentences and requiring strict coercion, while secondary offenders and those sentenced to punishment, deprived of their tickets of leave or returned from private service, would be placed on Cockatoo Island (2005 CMP: 21). 
 
As Cockatoo Island changed from a British penal establishment to a colonial one, the number of civil officers employed in its administration increased. From 1839 to 1847 the island was run by the Superintendent and his assistant, with security maintained by the military guard and prison labour under the Engineer’s Department. All other tasks necessary to run the penal establishment, including the supervision of labour, were carried out by prisoners (2005 CMP: 26).
 
A dry dock to serve the British Navy
As the population of the colony grew, Governor Gipps among others hoped that Port Jackson might become a naval station for the British Fleet. Cockatoo Island was a sheltered, easily accessible but safe and defensible location surrounded by deep water with a workforce that had been sentenced to hard labour, and identified by Governor Gipps as a the best place in Sydney Harbour for a naval establishment (GAO CMP:2005:p22). Although not sanctioned until 1847, Governor Gipps directed convicts to begin clearing and preparing the island for construction of a dry dock in 1845 (Birmingham:1984:p20). Convicts removed large sandstone rock cliffs with an average height of 45 feet (15 metres), just to clear a level space large enough to accommodate the dock. Construction of the dock commenced in 1851 (Parker:1977:p13).  As a distant and remote British settlement, shipping was a vital lifeline for the Australian colonies. The construction of a dry dock within the harbour of Port Jackson ‘would be of great and permanent advantage to the Colony’ and would be built using prisoner labour (2005 CMP: 22). The Royal Navy contributed to the cost of the dock on the condition the Royal Navy ships had preferential use rights (Jeremy:1998:p19). Gother Kerr Mann was responsible for the design and construction of the dockyard. Work on the dock progressed more slowly than anticipated, with a largely unskilled, and often unwilling prisoner workforce. A strong demand for labour in the Colony following the gold rush, combined with Cockatoo Island’s penal status meant that free labour was not an option. The Resident Engineer, under pressure to have the dock completed promptly so it could receive vessels, pushed the prisoners hard, but some refused to work after hours. Alongside the dry dock were engine houses, a police barracks, offices a chapel and a mess room. The dock was finally completed in 1857 and the first ship to use the dock was the survey frigate HMS Herald, which docked on 1 December 1857 (Jeremy: 1998:p9). Of equal importance with the dock were its pumps, the machinery for ship repairs and the workshops in which to the house them. By c 1858-59 the engine house and six bays of workshops had been completed (2005 CMP: 26).  As soon as the dry dock was finished there were plans to extend it and by 1858 the work was under way. Like the original dock, this took a long time as more of the adjacent cliff had to be excavated.
 
Overcrowding in the penal establishment became a regular problem and by 1861 around 500 convicts were held in accommodation built for no more than 328 (Kerr:1984:p26). Overcrowded wards and lack of supervision also lead to physical suffering through lack of fresh air and practices ‘grossly obscene’ between the male prisoners (Kerr:1984:p26).
 
Dual use – Public Works and Social Institutions
The period from 1869 saw the administration of the prison and dockyard split. The land above the escarpment remained in institutional use under the newly appointed NSW Department of Prisons and the foreshores became dedicated to dockyard use under the Public Works Department. 
 
Disturbing reports concerning the harsh treatment of prisoners had caused considerable public concern for years and in 1869 the penal settlement was disbanded and prisoners were transferred to Darlinghurst. The name was changed to ‘Biloela’ (Aboriginal for cockatoo) in order to try to present a new image. 
 
From 1871 to 1888 the prison barracks became an industrial school for girls and a separate reformatory for girls under 16 convicted of a crime (Kerr:1984:p9).  In 1871 the wooden sailing ship, the NSS Vernon moored at Cockatoo Island for the training of delinquent, homeless or orphaned boys in seamanship. An initiative of Henry Parkes, the ship was administered by the Department of Education and housed up to 500 students (Kerr:1984:9). The boys were given an area on the island for recreation with swimming bathes and a vegetable garden to tend (Parker :1977:p8). The dilapidated Vernon was replaced in 1891 by the NSS Sobraon which remained until 1911. Although kept separate from the dock, later the more trustworthy students were given trade training in some of the dockyard workshops on ship building and repairs (Parker:1977: p8). The girls reformatory was relocated to Watson’s Bay in 1879 and the industrial school for girls closed in early 1888.
 
By the time the last extension of the Fitzroy Dock was completed in 1880, the NSW Parliament, keen to see Australia capable of serving bigger vessels in the Royal Navy, decided to build a new dock (GML CMP:2006:2). Construction of the Sutherland Dock commenced in 1882 and was completed in 1890. It was built by free labour under the guidance of a young engineer, Louis Samuel, who died in 1887 at the age of 26. The work was completed under the supervision of his younger brother Edward. The new dock was a spectacular sight. It was a significant engineering achievement designed to be one of the most advanced docking facilities in the southern hemisphere and is reported to have been able to accommodate the largest ships then in service in the world (Jeremy:2006:1). In an official NSW Government publication in 1886, the Sutherland Dock is referred to: ‘The dock is the largest single graving dock yet constructed, and will be capable of receiving the largest vessel afloat’ (Docks, Slips and Engineering Establishments of Port Jackson:p5).
 
With closure of the prison, departure of the school ship and increased international shipping, the shipbuilding, ship repair and engineering activities expanded rapidly and dockyard facilities spread over the whole island. The dockyard at Cockatoo Island was the only one in Australian which was big enough to accommodate (after modification) the flagship of the new Australian Navy, the battle cruiser HMAS Australia. The preoccupation with keeping the Royal Navy engaged with the Colonies port facilities would continue into the new century.
 
Return to a gaol 1888-1909
Overcrowding elsewhere in the colony forced the return of prisoners to Cockatoo Island on 8 June 1888 (Kerr:1984:p11). ‘Biloela gaol’ was a temporary establishment to hold habitual petty offenders, vagrants and prostitutes. Although considered ‘unsuitable’ and ‘temporary’ they were to remain in penal use for a further 20 years (Kerr:1984:p26). Men were accommodated in convict barracks and females housed in buildings in the lumber yard. By 1889, Biloela housed 85 male and 106 female prisoners, with approximately two thirds in some form of employment. By 1896 Biloela could claim to the be the oldest establishment reformatory in Australasia, with 560 prisoners.
 
Following Federation in 1901 the name returned back to and has since remained Cockatoo Island (Parker:1977:p5). The male prison section was closed in 1906 and prisoners were transferred to the new Long Bay Gaol. In 1909 female prisoners were similarly relocated to Long Bay. NSS Sobraon was relocated in 1911 by the Commonwealth Government for use as a naval training ship and the boys were moved to a boys farm at Gosford (Parker:1977:p5).
 
Between 1904 and 1908 extensions were made to the shops and yard plant, new slipways were built, and cranes and other machinery were acquired. The formation of the Australian Navy (the RAN from 1911) opened the way for local construction of warships. The first RAN warship built at Cockatoo Island was the destroyer HMAS Warrego, completed in 1912. Warrego was built in pieces in Scotland and re-assembled in Sydney.

Commonwealth-owned Dockyard
In 1913, the Commonwealth Government purchased Cockatoo Island for the building of major naval vessels as well as for ship repair (Balint et al:1982:p47). It was the first Naval Dockyard for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and continued to support and build and service ships for the Navy for some 80 years through two World wars, Korea and Vietnam.  In 1928, the Commonwealth Shipping Act 1923 stated that ‘where possible, all repairs, construction etc. of Commonwealth vessels to be at Cockatoo Island’ (Balint et al:1982:p49). The first steel warship to be wholly built in Australia, HMAS Huon, was completed on the island in 1916. Cockatoo dockyard also built the first steel ship ever built in Australia, the tug Hinton, in 1886, assembled from imported components. 
 
The period from 1910-19 saw the greatest expansion of the facilities on Cockatoo Island since construction of the docks. Prior to World War One 800-900 men were employed on Cockatoo Island, by the end of the war this had increased to a maximum of 4 085 in December 1919 (Jeremy:1998: p250). In 1918 a large powerhouse and chimney was built to provide electricity to the island. The building housed steam-turbine generating plant, the dock pumping machinery and hydraulic pumps and air compressors for dockyard services.
 
With the outbreak of World War Two development of the dockyard increased dramatically. From 1933 the dockyard was leased from the Commonwealth by Cockatoo Docks and Engineering Co Ltd and during World War Two the workforce, which reached an average of 3 043 in 1942, was employed on the island fitting out troop ships, building naval vessels and repairing allied warships (Birmingham: 1984:p11,12).  After the war the lessee company became a member of the world-wide Vickers Group and dockyard undertook a continuing programme of re-converting ships for commercial service, modernising warships and constructing warships for the RAN, including the construction of the first all-welded warships to be built in Australia. Cockatoo Island dockyard also built the propulsion machinery for most of these ships. Cockatoo Dockyard was the largest steam turbine builder and repairer in Australia, servicing turbines for ships, power plants, sugar mills, oil refineries and other industries throughout Australia.
 
For over a hundred years, since the late 19th century, Cockatoo Dockyard contributed to the development of Australia by producing products for power stations, bridges, dams, ports, mines and major projects including the Snowy Mountains Scheme. From 1960 to 1991 the dockyard undertook a long programme of submarine refitting for which special facilities were built in 1969-71. For the last 20 years of operation the refit and maintenance of the RAN’s Oberon-class submarines was the main role of the dockyard during which time it had one of the most advanced (non-nuclear) submarine refit facilities in the world.
 
In its 137 year history, Cockatoo Dockyard docked or slipped some 12 000 vessels, more than any other dockyard in Australia, it built Australia’s first modern warship and the largest (at the time) roll on/roll off passenger ship in the world. Cockatoo Dockyard introduced the first formal quality control system in any Australian dockyard and trained many thousands of young Australians through the dockyard apprentice training scheme. The combination of such a wide range of work in one establishment reflects the strength of the position of Cockatoo Dockyard in the heavy engineering industry of the day.
 
In the run-down prior to closure of the dockyard at the end of 1992, most Commonwealth and company assets were sold, a number of buildings were sold and demolished for scrap, and the docks flooded. Sale of the island was proposed. ‘Friends of Cockatoo Island’ a group of mainly ex dockyard employees fought the sale and the island became vested in the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust (SHFT).
Condition and Integrity
Cockatoo Island has been vacant from all industrial activity since 1992 and many buildings have deteriorated during this time. The various uses of the island since the convict era have resulted in the layering of fabric and some destruction and adaptation of original fabric. The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust commissioned a survey of all external penal settlement building stonework on the island and the results show that it is in good to reasonable condition with the main areas for remediation being mortar joints and some refacing with only minimum stone replacement needed.  A program of stonework repairs is scheduled to commence in 2007. Decontamination works have been completed for all buildings.
 
The buildings and machinery such as cranes are subject to corrosion in the exposed maritime environment and require conservation and maintenance (GMLCMP 2006:134).
 
The prisoner’s barracks was converted to an air raid shelter during World War Two which saw a concrete roof, supported on freestanding internal concrete columns, and blast walls added to the northern and eastern wings. The sequence of finishes and bed arrangements are only partly visible, obscured in many areas by later modifications. The two wards have both been subdivided and their original volumes are not evident. The eastern quarters building has good stonework, but the building’s integrity was significantly reduced through partitioning for later dockyard uses. The southern wing of the barracks, which was used as the infirmary, is in good condition and was fitted out as offices and boardroom for the dockyard. The original roof framing may exist under the existing metal roofing. The courtyard has been covered in bitumen and large puddles are formed during rain.  The central division walls largely survive as does evidence of the sequence of institutional colour schemes and plugs in the walls. 
 
The military guard room and kitchen is roofless. Stonework is in sound condition and all external metalwork, for example the iron gun racks and window bars, were conserved in 2000. There is some weed and other vegetation growth. 
 
The mess hall is substantially intact, and the stonework is in mainly good sound condition. Pine floor boards lie on top of original flagged stone flooring, the condition of which is not known. Windows have been elongated to suit dockyard use of the building.
 
The officers quarters has been added to substantially over time. It is in fair to good condition. The building is divided into two units.
 
The free overseers’ quarters  is in fair to good condition and will be the subject of major conservation works (2007-08). The other remaining structure of the three dwellings, has been significantly altered in its conversion to an air raid shelter with only its external and middle interior stone walls remaining. 
 
Biloela House has been divided into two with a wall and is in good condition.  It has been re-roofed losing the original separate curved veranda roof profile. This will be rectified when future conservation works take place (2007-08). Stonework of the north and south wings is in mainly good condition.
 
The clerk of petty sessions cottage The original stone cottage has been extended and the whole building is in fair to good condition.
 
One intact silo is able to be viewed and is in excellent condition. A grill covers the mouth of the silo and rain water has built up inside. No investigations have been done to date to check the condition of the other silos.
 
Dockyard buildings. Over 80 buildings remain from the dockyard periods. A more detailed description can be found in the Godden Mackay Logan Conservation Management Plan 2006.
 
Two Dockyard Residences, two brick detailed cottages and a two storey semi detached have been conserved externally in 2001 and are in good condition.
 
The Drawing Office was the home of the embryonic Australian aircraft manufacturing business. The building is in fair condition and will be the subject of a program of conservation works (2007-08).
 
The Powerhouse Building brickwork is mostly in good condition. Repairs to windows have been completed and re-roofing will be completed in 2007 to fix current leaks. The basement area including the pumps has been pumped dry.
 
The Mould Loft is a steel-framed galvanized iron clad building dating from about 1910. It is possibly the only surviving full-size shipbuilding mould loft remaining in Australia, and is certainly the oldest. Recent cleaning of the floor by the SHFT has revealed the full-size body plans of the last ships lofted at the dockyard and there is evidence that lines scribed into the floor may date back to World War Two, although this is still to be confirmed. Conservation works will be completed during 2007.
 
The Fitzroy Dock is now filled with water. The sandstone dock has been extended and the floor reconfigured but the original stone altars and coping with gun barrel bollards remain intact. The caisson for Fitzroy dock is in excellent condition as are the 12 bollards. The stonework has been subject to extensive weathering and wear.
 
The Sutherland Dock stonework has been subject to extensive weathering and wear. Some of the dock’s original equipment is still intact, including the steam travelling jib cranes. It is thought the condition of the Sutherland Dock caisson is good.
 
The Engine House workshops and Pump house, built in a number of stages suffers from rising damp (currently being treated with sacrificial render) and roof leaks. Otherwise this robust building is in fair to good condition.
 
The Turbine Shop group of steel framed sheds that abut the engine house workshops to the west are in fair to good condition.
 
The group of five buildings to the east of the engine house workshops varies from fair to good condition.
 
The group of buildings on the southern apron are mainly robust brick structures that are in good condition.
 
Many items of plant and machinery were sold in 1991.  Demolition removed some forty buildings from the island. All slipways existing in the last decades of the dockyards operation are still present. Several other structures are no longer extant including Fitzroy Wharf, Destroyer Wharf, Plate Wharf, Coal Wharf and Cruiser Wharf. New sea walls were constructed at the site of the Cruiser, Destroyer and Plate Wharfs, and around the northern shipyard fill.
Location
About 18ha, in Sydney Harbour, between Birchgrove Point and Woolwich Point, comprising the whole of the Island to low water.
Bibliography
Attenbrow, Val: 2002. Sydney's Aboriginal Past - Investigating the archaeological and historical records. Sydney:UNSW Press.
 
Australian Dictionary of Biography Online. http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/adbonline.htm
 
Birmingham, J., Crisp, P. Hayward, J. Kerr, D. Sheedy and G. McKanna. 1984. Cockatoo Island (Part 2). An Analysis of Documentary and Physical Evidence and an Assessment of the Cultural Significance of the Dockyard and Other Industrial Remains Throughout the Island. For Department of Housing and Construction.
 
Balint Godden and Whittaker Associates, 1982. Historical Equipment and Facilities, Cockatoo Island. Stage 1 report. Department of Housing and Construction, Sydney.
 
Chambers, M. 2000. Cockatoo Island Shipyard, A Guide to the Records. For Sydney Harbour Federation Trust. National Archives of Australia.
 
Fitz Roy Dry Dock (Report from Engineer-in0Chief). Journal of the Legislative Councl 1865-1866, Vol. 13)
 
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Godden Mackay Pty Ltd Heritage Consultants. 1997. Cockatoo Island Conservation Management Plan . For Department of Defence.
 
Godden Mackay Pty Ltd Heritage Consultants. 2006. Cockatoo Island Dockyard Draft Conservation Management Plan. For Sydney Harbour Federation Trust.
 
Godden Mackay Logan. December 2006. Cockatoo Island Powerhouse Machinery and Equipment Conservation Management Plan.
 
Jeremy, J. 1998. Cockatoo Island. Sydney’s Historic Dockyard. University of New South Wales Press.
 
Jeremy, J.C. 6 November 2003. Some Notes on the Sutherland Dock, Cockatoo Island.
 
Jeremy, J.C. 2005. Cockatoo Island. Sydney’s Historic Dockyard. University of New South Wales Press.
 
Jeremy, J. 2005. Safe to Dive, submarines at Cockatoo Island 1914-1991. For Sydney Harbour Federation Trust.
 
Jeremy, J. 2004. To Build a ship. The construction of HMAS Success at Cockatoo Island.  For Sydney Harbour Federation Trust.
 
Jeremy, J. 2006. The Island Dockyard – Shipbuilding at Cockatoo Island 1870-1987.
 
Kerr, J. S. 1984 b. Cockatoo Island Penal and Institutional Remains, for Department of Housing and Construction, National Trust of Australia (NSW), Sydney.
 
Kerr, J. S. 1984. Design for Convicts: An account of design for convict establishments in the Australian Colonies during the transportation era, Library of Australian History, Sydney
 
Kerr, J. S. 1988. Out of sight, out of mind: Australian places of confinement, 1788-1988, S.H. Ervin Gallery, National Trust of Australia, NSW, Sydney.
 
NSW Department of Commerce. Government Architects Office – Heritage Services Division, 2005. Draft Conservation Management Plan for Cockatoo Island, for the convict buildings and Remains. By Sydney Harbour Federation Trust.
 
Parker, R. G. 1977. Cockatoo Island: A history, Nelson, Melbourne.
 
Philip Cox, Richardson, Taylor & Partners, 1988. Cockatoo Island conservation policy: report for Department of Administrative Services. Construction Group, Kingston ACT.
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Stedinger Associates, Heritage and Archaeology. 2003. An Archaeological Assessment of the route of the proposed HV Power Cable and Substation sites, Cockatoo Island, NSW. For Sydney Harbour Federation Trust. Mosman NSW.
 

Report Produced  Wed Sep 17 16:19:49 2014