NSW Department of Planning and Environment

The heritage-listed White Bay Power Station located at Robert Street, Rozelle, is one of the most recognised landmarks in the Precinct and includes surrounding lands to the White Bay foreshore.

Staged remediation and conservation works at the White Bay Power Station are underway. 

 

These works will prepare and protect the Power Station for future adaptive re-use as part of the Bays West Place Strategy.

 

These urgent conservation works are essential to the preservation of this important part of Sydney’s history. 


What’s happening now?

Recent media announcements of an additional $48 million secured in the recent state budget to go towards the Power Station conservation and repair.

These funds, in addition to $38m already allocated to the Power Station will allow repair activities to continue to make the site safe and secure through to 2024. 

All works will be completed in accordance with the site’s Conservation Management Plan to ensure that the heritage integrity of the Power Station is maintained. Repair works will continue to the roofing and guttering, to ensure each of the buildings are watertight to protect from deterioration. Treatment of corroded structural steel and replacement of cladding and damaged timber framing to the external building structures is also underway.

A major upcoming activity is the installation of scaffolding to the two external chimney structures. The process will involve the use of large mobile cranes which will be positioned within the White Bay Power Station site. The cranes will enter the site through the rear Port Access Road rather than through Robert Street, which will minimise impact to local traffic conditions.

 

White Bay Power Station page tower  606x473pxjpg

 

These works will be in place to support structural and cladding repairs to the chimneys, along with new protective paint coatings to be applied to prevent further corrosion and damage. The paint coating will match the original light grey colour of the chimneys when first built in the 1950s, based on paint scrapes and all works will be undertaken in compliance with the Conservation Management Plan.

The Placemaking NSW Board and Minister for Cities will now begin a process to determine the long-term use of the Power Station, which, in accordance with the Bays West Place Strategy will aim to have cultural and community uses. Community feedback will be sought as part of that process over the next 12 months.

 

Over the coming months work will focus on:

  • repair works on the chimneys – structural, cleaning and lead paint removal
  • erection of external scaffolding on the conveyor, turbine hall and pumphouse
  • lead paint scrape commencement in the turbine hall, pump house and conveyor.

You may have also noticed changes to the façade with existing cladding being removed. Our detailed condition assessment found the exterior cladding of the building is heavily corroded, to the point where it is not performing its intended role in protecting the structural framing elements.


Protecting the building structure from exposure to the weather and water ingress is an essential part of the long-term strategy to preserve the White Bay Power Station. The condition of the existing cladding exterior was previously reviewed as part of the Conservation Management Plan (CMP) for the White Bay Power Station and was found to be beyond repair.

The replacement galvanised steel material will be installed in the same corrugated sheet lengths. It matches the original appearance of the exterior in the 1950s when cladding was first installed, that will weather over time producing a slowly evolving patina effect.


The history of White Bay Power Station

White Bay Power Station was constructed between 1912 and 1917 to power the rail network and is now over 100 years old.


The power station is exceptionally significant as the only one retaining machinery and equipment from before the 1950s, demonstrating the process of electricity production and it’s use throughout Sydney’s extensive rail network.


It is listed on the NSW State Heritage, National Trust of Australia and National Estate registers.


Conservation will allow the White Bay Power Station to become a focal point for the transformation of the Bays West precinct, into a connected and vibrant precinct that is an innovative and sustainable new place for living, working and recreation.

white bay conservation old1370x1024px

The new boiler hall under construction in 1951.

Image credit: Former Pacific Power Collection


white bay conservation new 1370x1024px

Cavernous space of the Turbine Hall mezzanine level. Extensive peeling of lead paint will be remediated as a key part of the critical heritage repairs.


White Bay Power Station timeline

1912

Work commences on White Bay Power Station

1915

Balmain supplies electricity to the North Shore railway

1915

Railway extended from Darling Harbour to Dulwich Hill

1918

440km of electric tram lines throughout Sydney

1920s

Expansion for the electrification of railway lines

1952 & 1958

Construction of the current chimneys, Boiler House and Control Room

1991

Decision to retain White Bay Power Station

1999

Listed as a State Significant item on State Heritage Register

2022 - 2024

Heritage conservation works underway

How to contact the team?

For inquiries, please email: bayswest@dpie.nsw.gov.au