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Crane Day 2022

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Cost
  • Free admission for crane demos
  • Tour tickets – from $16
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Hours
  • Saturday 9 July
  • 10am to 2:30pm 
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Transport
  • Ferry 
  • Water taxi
  • Private boat

 

To plan your trip, see: Visit Cockatoo Island

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Location

Fitzroy Dock, Cockatoo Island, Sydney Harbour NSW

 

Google Maps

Travel to the era when steam power ruled – and meet one of Cockatoo Island’s ‘Iron Giants’ – with Crane Day 2022, which is being held during the Winter School Holidays on Saturday 9 July.

Between 10am and 2:30pm, visitors to the island will be able to see the No. 2 Travelling Steam Crane in action for FREE. This metal behemoth (together with the nearby Mort's Dock Steam Crane) has been restored to its former steam-powered glory by our skilled Volunteer Restoration Team.

Steam crane demonstrations are scheduled to run at three times during the day (10am, 12:30pm and 2pm), and will include an opportunity to hear directly from a volunteer heritage crane specialist. 

PLUS: Our regular Saturday tours – the World War II Shipyard Tour (all-ages) and the Convict Precinct Tour (all-ages, accessible) – will also be running during Crane Day 2022. Tour tickets are available from $16, and bookings are essential.

Timetable

Crane Day 2022 is a fun and educational all-ages event with activities that the whole family can enjoy during the school holidays...

Time Schedule
10am to 10:30am Live demonstration of the No. 2 Travelling Steam Crane (Docks Precinct) plus a talk with a Cockatoo Island Volunteer crane specialist. FREE activity.
11am to 12pm  World War II Shipyard Tour - tour bookings are essential. Tickets from $16 per person.
12:30pm to 1pm  Live demonstration of the No. 2 Travelling Steam Crane (Docks Precinct) plus a talk with a Cockatoo Island Volunteer crane specialist. FREE activity.
1:30pm to 2:30pm  Convict Precinct Tour - tour bookings are essential. Tickets from $16 per person.
2pm to 2:30pm  Live demonstration of the No. 2 Travelling Steam Crane (Docks Precinct) plus a talk with a Cockatoo Island Volunteer crane specialist. FREE activity.

About our cranes

Cockatoo Island's heritage cranes contribute to the island's industrial terrain as well as the iconic skyline of Sydney Harbour...

No. 2 Travelling Steam Crane

Located alongside Fitzroy Dock, the No. 2 Travelling Steam Crane is a rare example of an early steam-powered crane. Like its identical twin at nearby Sutherland Dock, this iron giant was built by Priestman’s of Hull, England and installed during the 1890s. Powered by a vertical boiler and steam engine, the crane was in constant use until the late 1980s.

Operated by a driver and two riggers, it played a vital role in the operation of Fitzroy Dock, moving along rails to place props and scaffolding when ships docked for repairs. Due to its low speed, high torque and traction system, it was also used to tow ships into dock. In 2017, the crane was returned to working order by the Harbour Trust’s volunteer restoration team. These skilled workers also restored the enclosed cabin, which had been a feature of the crane since World War II.

Mort's Dock Steam Crane

This steam crane was built by Morts Dock & Engineering Company at Balmain and installed at Fitzroy Dock, Cockatoo Island in 1891. Possessing a 9.5m jib and a Reciprocating Twin Cylinder Steam Engine, it was used to move supplies and equipment in the dockyard.

Although small, it could lift 10 tons — more than any other Crane on the island at that time. Despite being a steam-powered crane, there was a twenty-year period (1965 to 1985) when it was powered by compressed air. In addition to being one of the few surviving steam-operated cranes in Australia, it is one of the oldest steam cranes on Cockatoo Island.

Iron giants of Cockatoo Island

Formerly a ship-building complex, Cockatoo Island played a major role in Australia's maritime affairs from 1857 to 1991. Today, 17 cranes survive from this golden era.

Cockatoo Island's heritage cranes include both steam-powered and electrical cranes. Together with the island’s remnant industrial buildings, dry docks and wharves, these metal behemoths provide visitors with a window into a period spanning 134 years.  

Learn more with our 'Iron Giants of Cockatoo Island' Google Arts & Culture exhibition. 

Day tours

Book one of our Saturday day tours and immerse yourself in Cockatoo Island's fascinating convict and maritime history...

World War II Shipyard Tour (all-ages, accessible)

Cost: From $16 | Duration: 60 mins | Available: Saturdays at 11am

Book tickets for our World War II Shipyard Tour to learn about the significant contribution Cockatoo Island's dockyard made to the Allied war effort during the global conflict. A knowledgeable guide will delve into this fascinating slice of maritime history as you visit key landmarks including the Turbine Shop, Fitzroy and Sutherland Docks and the Slipways.

Convict Precinct Tour (all-ages)

Cost: From $16 | Duration: 60 mins | Available: Saturdays at 1:30pm 

During the Convict Precinct Tour, our guide will lead you through the turbulent history of the island's former penal establishment, stopping at iconic landmarks including the Mess Hall, Barracks, Guardhouse, Military Officers Quarters and Solitary Confinement Cells. 

 

Helpful links

Learn more about Cockatoo Island with these useful links...