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Heritage steam crane demonstrations (FREE)

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Cost
  • Free
  • No booking required
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Hours

TBD

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Transport
  • Ferry
  • Water taxi
  • Private boat
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Meeting point

Fitzroy Dock, Cockatoo Island, Sydney Harbour NSW

 

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Travel back to the era where steam ruled – attend an upcoming demonstration of one of our vintage steam cranes!

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.

Disclaimer: As our steam cranes require coal fire to produce steam in the boiler to operate, we regret that in the event that a Total Fire Ban is declared in Sydney, demonstrations of the cranes will not proceed for safety reasons.

No. 2 Travelling Steam Crane

Located alongside Fitzroy Dock, this iron giant is a rare example of an early steam-powered crane.

The No. 2 Travelling Steam Crane – like its identical twin at nearby Sutherland Dock – 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.

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Mort's Dock Steam Crane

This steam crane was built by Morts Dock & Engineering Company at Balmain and installed at Fitzroy Dock 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. It has been restored to working order by the Harbour Trust Volunteer Restoration team.

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Plan ahead

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.

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Additional info

Disclaimer: As our steam cranes require coal fire to produce steam in the boiler to operate, we regret that in the event that a Total Fire Ban is declared in Sydney, demonstrations of the cranes will not proceed for safety reasons.

Helpful links

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