Past Visit “Cockatoo Island”

Note in your Diary that our Outing to Cockatoo Island is on Thursday, October 24th. We will be going by train to Circular Quay and then by ferry.

Recently added to the World Heritage list, Cockatoo Island is Sydney’s largest island, only accessible by ferry from Circular Quay. This is a very historic site and we’re sure you will find it all extremely interesting.

Unique remnants of the island’s history include solitary prison cells, hand carved silos, a guardhouse and convict workshops. The island was also an industrial school, a reformatory and one of Australia’s biggest shipyards.

Between 1839 and 1869, Cockatoo Island operated as a convict penal establishment, primarily as a place of secondary punishment for convicts who had re-offended in the colonies.

Quarrying provided stone for construction sites around Sydney. Between 1847 and 1857 convicts were used to dig Fitzroy Dock, Australia’s first dry dock. Fitzroy Graving Dock was designed by Gother Kerr Mann, the Island’s Civil Engineer

Mann Street Gosford, is named after him. Gother came to New South Wales in the early 1830s. He married Mary Hely, eldest daughter of Frederick Augustus Hely of Wyoming. He served as local magistrate from 1839 onwards. In 1849 he was elected a district councillor. On the front wall of the old Gosford courthouse is a plaque commemorating Gother Kerr Mann. He later moved to Sydney where he was in charge of the Cockatoo Island Dockyard project

Cockatoo Island was also the site of one of Australia’s biggest shipyards, operating between 1857 and 1991. The first of its two dry docks was built by convicts. Listed on the National Heritage List, the place is significant for its demonstration of the characteristics of a long-running dockyard and shipbuilding complex, including evidence of key functions, structures and operational layout.

During WWII it was the main ship repair facility; 250 ships were converted or repaired. Queen Mary I and Queen Elizabeth I were converted into troopships and over 4 000 men were employed. After WWII shipbuilding continued on the Island. Many naval vessels were built, modernized and refitted. HMAS “Success” was the last ship launched from the dockyard in 1984.

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-19th century.

Ref: Wikipedia: the free encyclopedia : Aust. Govt, Sydney Harbour Federation Trust