Monday, 8 September 2014

1989: The Finger Wharf set to go

Wooloomooloo's famous finger wharf had fallen into disrepair by the late 1980's. Demolishing it seemed the easy way out at the time.

It began in 1987 when a plan was proposed to remove the wharf and build a "Monte Carlo" style marina.

Source: Anonymous. 1987. "The 'Loo to get Monte Carlo look," The Daily Telegraph, October 7, 18.

That did not impress Premier Barrie Unsworth who then ordered a conservation order to protect the wharf in December 1987, with the support of Environment Minister Bob Carr.

In early 1989, a proposal to redevelop the wharf was proposed, not liked by Federal Treasurer and architectural critic Paul Keating. The proposal comprised of a 400 room hotel, offices and shops.

Source: Anonymous. 1989. "Harbor finger wharf meets its Waterloo," The Daily Mirror, March 3, 16.

But later that year, a conservation order was to be lifted to save $20 million in maintainence costs and open the waterway to the public by demolishing the wharf. The plan to convert the building into a hotel would not proceed. 

  Finger wharf to go sept 1989
Source: Grimshaw, Tony. 1989. "Finger wharf to go in hotel rebuff," The Daily Telegraph, September 8, 5. 

This did not impress Sydneysiders,who held public rallies to save it from demolition. It was successful.

Walker Corp and Multiplex would convert the wharf into an upmarket residential and hotel complex which was completed in 1999, just in time for the 2000 Olympic Games.

In fact it has become one of the premier addresses in Sydney. Hollywood actor Russell Crowe and radio presenter John Laws call the wharf home. The late Charlotte Dawson also lived there.

Some photos I took in 2006.

This one dates to 2012.