Wollongong Harbour, 1844, 1868-

From Engineering Heritage New South Wales


Captain [Latter Lieut. Col] George Barney, who is remembered for his civil engineering work in New South Wales, was instructed in February, 1837 by Governor Bourke to carry out the harbour works at Wollongong. A basin with a pier forming its northern side was substituted for the breakwater proposed in the 1834 plan. Later in the year about 300 convicts, accompanied by a guard of soldiers under Captain Plunkett were sent down to construct the basin.

Belmore Basin is a fine example of a Victorian harbour. The construction of the harbour is characterised by stone seawalls and retaining walls which remain intact and in very good condition today.

The construction was a major civil work of the time and was to be useful as a port for coal traffic for 70 years.

The harbour and the associated material handling systems with the two tramways to the area facilitated the economic take-off and the development of the industrial base of Wollongong.

The site remains a focus of community life in Wollongong.

THE ENGINEERS • Captain George Barney: Construction of the original basin: 1837 – 1844 100 ft x 35 ft x 14 ft deep. Works carried out by convict labour. • Mr EO Moriarty: Engineer in Chief of Harbours and Rivers Belmore Basin 1861 - 1868.

When completed in 1868, there were three staiths capable of loading 3000 tons of coal per day and there was 1748 feet of wharf frontage "enough for about 15 vessels", and the area of the two basins 3 acres.


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Engineering Heritage Recognition Program

Marker Type Historic Engineering Marker (HEM)
Award Date 28 April 2001 (Plaquing Date)
Prominent People Captain George Barney, Sir Edward Orpen Moriarty
Nomination Document Available here
Ceremony Booklet Available here
Interpretation Panel None installed.
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