Carrington Hydraulic Engine House is set to receive an $850,000 facelift.
The 143-year-old structure, which houses the country’s first large scale hydraulic power system, will undergo upgrades thanks to additional funding announced today by the Port of Newcastle.
The historic site, built in 1877, provided power for the city’s original coal-loading cranes until it ceased operation in 1967.
Restoration of the northern, eastern and western facades will begin this month.
The works were announced this afternoon at the official reopening of the site.
Port of Newcastle Chief Executive, Craig Carmody, said the re-opening, delayed by COVID-19, signalled an important milestone in a long-term plan to restore the site to its former glory.
“Port of Newcastle is proud to be the long-term custodian of this building, which has both historical and architectural significance for the city,” he said.
“With a generous contribution from the NSW Government, we have restored the southern façade and created a new community space so people can enjoy the grounds of this picturesque building after a long period closed off to the public.
“The additional $850,000 of work announced today will restore the other three façades and also provide improved weather protection for the interior by addressing historic roof integrity issues.
“We are protecting and respecting the port’s important historic role of the past 220 years, while also powering ahead with ambitious plans for the next 100 years.”
In a statement, the Newcastle Industrial Heritage Association praised the Port for investing “in the future of this iconic building”.
“It brings us closer to the day when this site will become a valuable destination attraction for the city, allowing us to tell one of our important Newcastle stories,” the statement read.
“State of the art industrial engineering technology was used in 1877 to power the expansion of our coal and maritime industries, growing the lifestyle we all enjoy today.
“It’s a big part of making us who we’ve become. Adaptive reuse of this building to interpret our rich heritage will support tourism growth and enhance our economy.”
Today’s announcement follows the completion of a $1.2 million project to restore the southern façade of the heritage-listed sandstone and masonry building.
Port of Newcastle is hoping the project will create a new public plaza, celebrating the significance and history of the city’s maritime past.