Harbour Control Tower Deconstruction

UPDATE (February 2017)

Work resumes this month on the final stages of the deconstruction of the Harbour Control Tower. The temporary closure of Upper Clyne Reserve is required while the remainder of the tower core is removed. More information (PDF).

UPDATE (November 2016)

The deconstruction of the Harbour Control Tower is progressing well. The contractors are using a method that minimises dust, noise and vibration. This means it is a gradual process, but it is on track. Its removal will complete the vision for Barangaroo Reserve as a recreated natural sandstone headland, typical of others around Sydney Harbour.

Our strong focus on sustainability means almost all the materials will be recycled. For example, the concrete is sent off to a recycling plant where it is pulverized and reused. An interpretation plan will be put in place so future generation can gain an appreciation about why the Harbour Control Tower was here, what it was for and why it became redundant. This will be a combination of digital and physical records of the tower, so while it will be gone, it won’t be forgotten.

7 News story:

UPDATE – Changes to Clyne Reserve Access

The deconstruction of the Harbour Control Tower, as approved by the Minister for Planning Rob Stokes last year, will begin at the end of March 2016.

The 87m-high concrete tower, which is sited within Barangaroo Reserve, became redundant in 2011 when vessel control services were moved to Port Botany. Its removal is the final step in completing the Barangaroo Delivery Authority’s vision of creating a modern, naturalistic interpretation of the original headland.

The deconstruction method has been carefully considered and tailored to maximise the health and safety of local residents, park visitors and workers, plus minimise any other inconvenience.

Specialist deconstruction contractor Liberty Industrial has been appointed to undertake the work. This award-winning Australian company is a leader in its field.

The park will remain open during the works with only a small area directly around the tower being cordoned off.

Why deconstruct it?

The purpose of the Harbour Control Tower was to control shipping movements in and out of Port Jackson. As technology advanced and commercial shipping in the Harbour dwindled, it was no longer necessary to have sightlines on the harbour 24 hours a day.

The Harbour Control Tower became redundant when vessel-monitoring services moved to Port Botany. The Port Authority of NSW’s $10.5 million Vessel Traffic Services system, which includes six radars and nine CCTV cameras, monitors Sydney Harbour and Port Botany.

Removing the Harbour Control Tower is in keeping with the naturalistic vision for the restored park and headland. In addition, the essential character of Millers Point is of low-rise buildings that relate to the waterfront, and Barangaroo Reserve respects and reflects this.

How will it be deconstructed?

Following the erection of a mast climbing work platform system via mobile cranes, deconstruction will be undertaken in three distinct stages.

Stage 1: Initially, soft furnishings and other materials will be safely stripped out and removed using Alimak vertical hoists connected to the mast climbing work platform or via the mobile cranes.

The roof and window facades at the top of the tower will be deconstructed via hand and again either removed via the
AlimBrokk-160-web-versionak or mobile crane. These operations are anticipated to take four months to complete.

Stage 2: Remote-controlled deconstruction robots will be used to remove larger infrastructure, such as internal slabs and beams as well as the tower’s core. These sophisticated deconstruction robots are safer and quieter than alternative equipment and will “eat away” at the circumference of the tower with the resulting rubble pushed into the core shaft and removed at the Cutaway level. The tower will gradually diminish in height, with levels of noise, dust, vibration and visual disturbances kept to a minimum. The debris collected at the Cutaway level will be trucked offsite via Towns Place. It is estimated this phase of the deconstruction process will take three months.

Stage 3: As soon as the core has been deconstructed to the Merriman Street level, mobile cranes will reposition the mast climbing work platform closer to the core. The remote controlled deconstruction robots will continue deconstructing the core until the tower’s foundations have been exposed at the Cutaway level.

The tower’s concrete footing will be deconstructed by using expandable grout or hydraulic crackers to fracture the foundation. Cracking the footing in this way enables it to be removed efficiently with minimum dust, noise and vibration.

Harbour-control-tower-deconstruction-previewClick the image to download printable version

Why choose this method of deconstruction?

After much assessment, and mindful that the Harbour Control Tower is situated close to a residential area with many heritage-listed buildings and is in the middle of a public space, this method was chosen because it has:

  • Minimal impact on users of Barangaroo Reserve and adjacent residents and businesses in Millers Point
  • No requirement to erect a tower crane
  • Minimal safety risks

Approved construction hours are:

  • 7:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday.
  • 8:00am to 3:00pm Saturdays.

Remedial Works

Following completion of the deconstruction, remedial works will be undertaken including the reinstatement of the landscape to Barangaroo Reserve and a new concrete slab to the Cutaway.

Click here for FAQs regarding the deconstruction.