The NSW State Heritage-listed White Bay Power Station will soon bring new energy to Sydney and Australia as it opens its doors to the public for the 2024 Biennale of Sydney.
We have undertaken extensive remediation and conservation works to repurpose White Bay Power Station as an arts, cultural and community hub.
White Bay Power Station will become a focal point for the transformation of the Bays West precinct into a connected and vibrant new area for living, working and recreation.
The heritage-listed White Bay Power Station is one of the most recognised landmarks in Sydney’s inner west. Remediation and conservation work is well underway to prepare the power station for its future use.
We are completing all works in accordance with the site’s Conservation Management Plan to ensure that the heritage integrity of the power station is maintained.
A total of $100 million has been invested in the conservation and repair of the White Bay Power Station.
All work is being done in accordance with the site’s Conservation Management Plan to ensure the heritage integrity of the building is maintained.
- repair to the roofing and guttering, to ensure buildings are watertight and protected from deterioration
- treatment of corroded structural steel and replacement of cladding and damaged timber framing to the external building structures
- stabilisation of the 2 external landmark chimney structures.
White Bay Power Station was one of the longest serving power stations in Sydney. It was constructed between 1912 and 1917 to power the tram system and the later rail network. It supplied power to the electricity grid after 1958. The power station remained in service until 1984 when it was decommissioned.
The buildings are now over 100 years old, with significant upgrades completed in the 1920s and 1950s.
The power station is significant because it is the only station retaining machinery and equipment from before the 1950s, demonstrating the process of electricity production at that time. The site is listed on the NSW State Heritage, National Trust of Australia and National Estate registers.
In 2000, the NSW government through the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (now Place Management NSW) transferred the 4 ha site from Pacific Power.
The government confirmed that the White Bay Power Station would be retained for cultural and creative purposes as part of the Bays West Place Strategy and precinct planning.
Remediation works started in 2021. There has been significant investment from government to restore the power station to a point where the community can enjoy it. The power station will attract local visitors from across Sydney, Australia and throughout the world.
Conservation will allow the White Bay Power Station to become a focal point for the transformation of the Bays West precinct.
Aboriginal Cultural heritage
The stretch of Country now known as Bays West has been known for millennia as Gari Gurad/Nura (Saltwater Country) and Nattai Gurad/Nura (Freshwater Country). This Country is celebrated for vast expanses of garaban (rock and sandstone) that provides gibbaragunya (stone/cave shelters) and yiningmah (steep cliffs).
Country and its significance within Aboriginal cultures is informing all planning for the Bays West Precinct, including the power station. As part of the Bays West Place Strategy, we developed a Bays West Connecting with Country Framework to establish the importance, relevance and power of connecting with Country. This approach will be embedded in all phases of the Bays West development.
White Bay Power Station has been zoned for predominantly cultural and community use and the future purpose presents an extraordinary opportunity.
Placemaking NSW will be engaging with the community and cultural sector (big, small, local and regional) over coming months to share an overview of the building and spaces, consider what is possible in each space and to hear about requirements and needs.
The vision is for White Bay Power Station to be a multi-purpose cultural facility suitable for a range of cultural, artistic and commercial functions, including First Nations programming.