Coal Loader at Balls Head Reserve

This is one of the tunnels underneath the Coal Loader, located at Balls Head Reserve on the western side of the Waverton peninsula.

This is an interesting site with several items of historic significance including the coal loader, some large Aboriginal carvings and some old cabins where people lived during the depression years.

The coal loader was a controversial development from the early 1900s as highlighted by the 1916 protest poem “The Sacrifice of Balls Head” written by Henry Lawson in opposition to plans for the coal depot. Despite the opposition the depot was built by the 1920s and continued operating for 70 years until 1992.

The purpose of the loader was to transfer coal from large carriers to smaller coal-fired vessels. It includes an elevated platform where coal stockpiles were kept. Underneath there were the tunnels in which chutes were used to transfer coal into carts. These carts were part of a cable hauled railway system which operated on a continuous loop through two of the tunnels then out onto a wharf and into boats. In the mid-70s this system was replaced with a high speed conveyor as the site serviced more ships carrying export coal.

After 2003 the North Sydney Council started working with partners such as the State and Federal Governments to transform the site into the Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability. It opened in 2011 and promotes innovations and technologies for sustainable living.

Note: I try to be as accurate as possible but make no guarantees. Please use this information at your own risk.


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Balls Head Middle Harbour

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