Tuesday’s budget allocated more than $45 million for repairs to sites managed by the Sydney Harbor Federation Trust, about half of which went to Cockatoo Island.
- Government allocates $45.2 million for emergency repair work on Sydney Harbor
- Most of the funds will be donated to the World Heritage-listed Cockatoo Island/Walemaa
- Environment minister says island won’t exist in 10 years without funding
The largest island in the harbor, where indigenous peoples, convicts and industrial heritage overlap, the World Heritage island is falling into disrepair and more areas are being closed for safety.
Now the federal government is racking up cash to work on a “significant backlog” of maintenance work needed to keep the tourist attraction alive.
Also known as Wallemaa, the island has been a gathering place for Aboriginal clans long before the arrival of the British.
“It has been used for tens of thousands of years by the Indigenous communities living around the harbor,” said Janet Carding, executive director of The Harbor Trust.
In the 19th century, Cockatoo Island operated as a prison.
The prisoners quarried the sandstone and built the barracks that still stand on the plateau of the island.
They also built the first dry dock in the Southern Hemisphere, which took ten years to drill.
It was the shipbuilding industry that changed the island the most.
During both world wars it was used for repairing and building ships.
The industry continued into the early 1990s, with submarine conversion being the last project.
Thirty years after the shipyard closed, the rusty wreck is a photographer’s paradise.
But years of neglect have caught up with the island, causing cliffs to crumble and wharves to rot.
For safety reasons the tunnel is one of the fenced sections.
Environment and Water Minister Tanya Plibersek said the funds had expired and repairs had to be done before it was too late.
“Sydney Harbor’s legacy belongs to all Australians,” said Privasek.
“What we have seen is its history, its heritage literally slipping into the harbor.
“This spending is absolutely essential. We have to protect it now. We cannot protect it in 10 years.”
Carding said Fitzroy Dock, Australia’s only surviving convict-built dry dock, is in urgent need of maintenance.
“[It] It’s one of the main reasons why this island has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site,” she said.
“We can do them [maintenance] It will work for the next few months. “
About 200,000 people visit the island each year, many of them students studying Australian history.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-05-06/45-2-million-in-budget-to-repair-sydney-harbour-heritage-sites/102312970 Government allocates more than $45 million for heritage around Sydney Harbor