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Heritage steam crane demonstrations (FREE)

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Pictured: Mort's Dock Steam Crane, Fitzroy Dock
  • Free
  • No booking required


  • Ferry
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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.


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.

No 2 Travelling Steam Crane Cockatoo Island Fitzroy Dock Sydney 650X550

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. 

Morts Dock Steam Crane Demonstration Fitzroy Dock Cockatoo Island Sydney 650X550

Plan ahead

Getting here arrow

For information about getting here, including by public transport, see: Visit Cockatoo Island

Disclaimer – Total Fire Ban arrow

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.

Morts Dock Steam Crane Furnace Cockatoo Island Sydney 650X550

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