Prime Sydney harbourside site open for development

An artist’s impression of the new urban park planned for the former HMAS Platypus at Neutral Bay in Sydney Harbour.

AN area of prime harbourside and a key part of Australia’s maritime history shut off from Sydneysiders for the last 150 years was unveiled to the public today.

Chief executive of the Harbour Trust, Mary Darwell, said parts of the site will be opened to the public from as early as mid 2018, while restoration work is completed.

HMAS Platypus submarine base and view to North Sydney

Aerial view of HMAS Platypus.

An artist impression of the site at North Sydney

An artist impression of proposed overwater pathway linking Platypus to Kesterton Park

“Once completed, we will see Sub Base Platypus become a special destination for Sydneysiders and visitors alike, providing a range of facilities and venues for cultural performances, function areas, cafes and restaurants, as well as offices and commercial spaces,” Ms Darwell said.

The 1.8 Hectare site, called HMAS Platypus functioned as a naval base for much of its history, and was home to the Navy’s submarine school.

The new plan for the site, which has been renamed Sub Base Platypus, was unveiled by the Sydney Harbour Trust and North Sydney Federal MP Trent Zimmerman.

Torpedo Factory view from the lower level

The Northern Park at HMAS Platypus

The 1.8 Hectare site functioned as a naval base for much of its history

“This is a site rich in Sydney’s history, first as a gasworks and more recently as a submarine base and it has played a crucial role in our naval history and our military efforts,” he said.

“This place will also be a place of reflection for those who served in our Navy and think that’s a really important part of this site going forward, that we’re interpreting and preserving that part of our naval heritage, which is reflected here in former submarine base.”

The site was originally used as a gasworks powering North Sydney’s street lamps, homes and businesses.

The site will undergo an expressions of interest process

But when World War II happened the site was resumed by the Commonwealth Government and became a manufacturing base for torpedos as well as servicing vessels used in the war’s Pacific theatre.

In 1967 it was used as a base for Australia’s Oberon Class Submarines.

Much of the naval infrastructure, such as racks used to house recently built periscopes remain in the site’s buildings.

The site will undergo an expressions of interest process so businesses and cafes can have a chance to lease space in the historic slice of land, chair of the Harbour Trust Kevin McCann said.

Much of the naval infrastructure remain in the site’s buildings

Inside the Fleet Workshops

“We’re going to have a combination of public facilities such as parks and walkways, and commercial uses.”

Ms Darwell continues, “So the process is in two stages, stage one is being launched today, we’re calling for expressions of interest.

“We’re looking for great ideas for commercial, cultural and community uses, that are sensitive to the heritage of this site and its very special location.”

Submarine HMAS Oxley at HMAS Platypus Wharf, August 1967

Aerial view of HMAS Platypus showing ships at wharf in the 1970s

The Royal Australian Navy used HMAS Platypus as a base for its submarines.

Torpedo Maintenance Works At Hmas Platypus, Around 1944

At the commissioning of HMAS Platypus in August 1967, a brass platypus was presented to the Fourth Submarine Division. Minister for the Navy Don Chipp, the commanding officer of HMAS Platypus, Commander W.L. Owens, Minister for Defence Mr Fairhall, the RAN’s Flag Officer Submarines, Rear Admiral L.L.M. McGeogh, and the Minister for Public Works in NSW, Davis Hughes. Picture: Royal Australian Navy

All of the funds raised through commercial leases will be reinvested back into Harbour Trust sites, which along with Sub Base Platypus include Cockatoo Island and North Head Sanctuary at Manly.

Source: “Prime Sydney harbourside site open for development”, The Daily Telegraph, August 31, 2017

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Prime Sydney harbourside site open for development