The Mort’s Dock Steam Crane and No. 2 Travelling Steam Crane have existed on Cockatoo Island for more than a century and were recently restored by our Volunteer Restoration Team as part of our ongoing efforts to preserve the island’s history.
Installed on Cockatoo Island during the early 1900s, our No. 2 Travelling Steam Crane is amongst the oldest surviving examples of its kind in Australia. Located at Fitzroy Dock, the metal behemoth once played an indispensable role in the operation of the Island’s dry docks, placing props and scaffolding when ships docked for repairs. The crane operated on steam until the late 1980s, before being converted to oil firing. Today, thanks to the Harbour Trust’s Volunteer Restoration Team, the crane has been restored to its former, steam-powered glory.
The oldest steam crane on Cockatoo Island, the Mort’s Dock steam crane has a 9.5 metre jib, and its original lifting capacity was 25 tons. It was built by Mort’s Dock and Engineering Company at Balmain and installed next to Fitzroy Dock in 1891. For over a century it was part of the operating equipment of Fitzroy Dock, last used with steam prior to 1965 and used on compressed air until 1985. Like the No. 2 Travelling Steam Crane, the Mort's Dock Steam Crane is one of the few surviving steam operated cranes in Australia. It has been restored by the Harbour Trust Volunteer Restoration team and is an invaluable piece of Cockatoo Island’s history.
The easiest way to get to Cockatoo Island is by public ferry. The F3 and F8 services operate to Cockatoo Island daily, departing from Circular Quay, Darling Harbour and Barangaroo as well as from wharves along Parramatta River. For further information, including timetables, visit the Transport NSW website. You can also visit Cockatoo Island by water taxi, private boat or kayak.