When North Sydney Council decided to protect and repurpose the historic Coal Loader Platform in Waverton NSW, they required a Master Plan to ensure the site would benefit residents now, and well into the future. Learn more about the transformation.


Located in Balls Head Drive, Waverton NSW, the historic Coal Loader Platform is an amazing example of North Sydney Council’s efforts to protect and repurpose an historic site.


Originally used to transfer coal from large carriers to smaller vessels, the Waverton Coal Loader was built in the early 1920s. It remained in operation until the early 1990s.


The Master Plan was tasked with restoring and repurposing:

  • Tunnels which formed part of a railway infrastructure used to transfer the coal
  • Equipment, wharf and other structures, which form an integral part of the site’s history


In 1997, North Sydney Council approached architectural firm Hassell, and Northcroft quantity surveys to develop a Master Plan to restore, repurpose and re-imagine this historic industrial site.


Of significant importance to Council was the:

  • Protection of the precious Aboriginal rock engravings of the Cammeraygal people
  • Restoration of specific, historically significant infrastructure such as the wharf and crane
  • Adaptive re-use of areas to provide modern facilities such as a sustainable living and training centre
  • Interlinking accessible walkways with footpaths
  • Regeneration of surrounding parklands
  • Creation of a community garden area, native bush nursery and food gardens
  • Installation of a rainwater harvesting system and solar panels to power public lighting
  • Construction of a café
  • Conversion of the original coal loading platform to form a large, “green-roof” events area
  • Provision for a shady parkland picnic area
  • Creation of a children’s adventure area
  • Construction of headquarters for the local SES
  • Various information points to explain the history of the site


Master Planning begins


A key component of the Master Plan was identifying individual projects and setting budgets for completion so the whole site could have a holistic approach to adaptive reuse. Since then, Council annually sets aside funds for the completion of individual projects, which are selected according to community priorities.


The first component to be completed was the local SES headquarters, followed by the conference facility and an education centre for sustainable living.


The Master Plan also included income generating facilities such as the café and repurposing some tunnel space as “cellars for hire”. In addition, rainwater harvesting and solar panels were installed to reduce the operating costs of the site and provide a practical example of sustainable living.


Taking a long term view

The Waverton Coal Loader Project has been ongoing since 1997 with the Northcroft team involved in the implementation of each component in the redevelopment Master Plan. The latest project is the repurposing of the original wharf structure into a boardwalk with an interpretive presentation.


Northcroft has considerable expertise and experience with the conservation and adaptive reuse of similar projects. As a result, they were able to provide additional assistance to North Sydney Council by recommending and procuring specialist consultants and contractors. Together with the Northcroft team, these experts were able to develop the best methodologies in preserving and restoring some of the site’s original features and structures.


If you require a Master Plan or assistance by experts in conservation and adaptive reuse of historic sites, contact Northcroft.