Sydney Architecture Images- The Rocks

Sydney Harbour Control Tower




Millers Point


1972 (not been used since 2011)


Late 20th-Century Brutalist


87-metre high landmark


Note- there are plans to demolish this building. I think that it is worth keeping for the following reasons
-great Brutalist look
-tangible connection to Sydneys past. This part of Sydney (Darling Harbour) was a rough ugly working harbour only 35 years ago and this is the only remnant of that.
-very cool landmark. Would make a great restaurant, cafe or studio.
I will regret to see this go.
Above- part of the embarrassingly gritty Rocks area.

Plans for the tower were drawn up in 1972 after two ships collided in the shipping channel near Millers Point.

But as technology advanced and commercial shipping fell in the Harbour, it was no longer necessary to have eyes on the harbour 24 hours a day, Sydney Ports harbour master Philip Holliday said.

"Roughly speaking, there are three times as many shipping movements in Port Botany than there are on Port Jackson," he said.

"When you add that to the other benefits of having harbour control in our operations centre, it made sense to come here (to Port Botany)."

Sydney Ports' $10.5 million Vessel Traffic Services system, which includes six radars and nine CCTV cameras, monitors the Harbour and Port Botany.

Former PM Paul Keating wanted it gone, and the National Trust fought to save it.

But fate of the Sydney Harbour Control Tower at Barangaroo was sealed in July 2015 when the state government granted approval to knock it down.

A statement from the office of Planning Minister Rob Stokes said the Barangaroo Delivery Authority sought to remove the tower "in order to achieve a naturalistic form and character for the reserve that is consistent with the site's concept plan".
"The proposal was exhibited last year and submissions were carefully considered," the statement said.

The tower would be replaced with a "interpretive historical display" focusing on maritime history and Millers Point, it said.
Variously called a "concrete mushroom", "the Pill", a "hypodermic in God's bum" or just an eyesore, the tower has been an 87-metre high landmark at Barangaroo since 1974, when it was installed to control berths in the harbour.
It was closed in 2011 when vessel control services were moved to Port Botany.

But the National Trust argued the tower symbolised more than 200 years of shipping trade in Sydney and should be conserved.
The NSW Heritage Council recommended that it be listed on the state heritage register, affording it the highest level of protection. This push was recently rejected by Heritage Minister Mark Speakman.
The council's advocacy set it on a collision course with the former prime minister, who is such a champion of the headland park that in April its lead landscape architect referred to him as the site's "client".
In December, Mr Keating said a government report outlining other potential uses for the tower, commissioned on behalf of the heritage council, was a "complete abuse of process" and the "sort of exercises that truly give heritage a bad name". (beauty is clearly in the eye of the beholder....)
This had proposed re-use options including an adventure or viewing tower, plus a restaurant with sweeping views over the harbour.
"[The tower] does not have a shred of heritage about it," Mr Keating said at the time.

The National Trust's Graham Quint said on Thursday the detractors had "won out again and Sydney is the worse for it, for losing its industrial heritage".
"Unfortunately, because the building is an example of industrial heritage, a lot of people just don't like the look of it," Mr Quint said, nominating Garden Island's Hammerhead Crane as another case.
"We'll have no evidence of Sydney ever being an industrial port, and it's very sad that we just can't keep that sort of history."
The Department of Planning and Environment had recommended a number of conditions to address impacts resulting from the demolition, Mr Stokes' office said.
The Barangaroo Delivery Authority would now begin preparing the tender documents for the demolition, a spokeswoman for the agency said.
"The tower will be carefully deconstructed to minimise the impact on public use and the local community," she said.



Its owner, Barangaroo Delivery Authority, is seeking planning approval to demolish the structure because it is not in keeping with its vision for a naturalistic headland and cultural space at the northern end of Barangaroo.
The authority had considered a number of options for the 40-year-old tower, a spokeswoman said, but measures such as adapting it for tourism purposes were rejected ‘‘due to its limited access, occupational health and safety requirements and significant costs’’.

Instead, the authority has proposed a circular roof opening for Barangaroo's new cultural space as a ‘‘heritage interpretation strategy’’ that would create a shaft of light the same size and shape as the tower’s column.
But the National Trust’s advocacy director, Graham Quint, said if the historic landmark did not fit with the authority’s vision, then ‘‘its vision is faulty’’.
‘‘Sydney Harbour is one of the world’s greatest harbours but its maritime history and heritage is being obliterated,’’ Mr Quint said.

The tower's former owner, Sydney Ports, had included it in its heritage and conservation register – an inventory required of each government agency to help them "identify, conserve and manage" heritage assets.
The tower allowed for "visual oversight of major wharfage areas and the operations of Sydney Harbour’', the entry said, "for the first time in over 150 years".

But Mr Quint said the Barangaroo Delivery Authority had no such register, questioning why the tower’s listing – as well as that for a pumping station and sandstone wall – could ‘‘disappear’’ when the site’s ownership was transferred.
‘‘This demolition does not augur well for the other historic buildings in Millers Point and The Rocks with the Barangaroo Delivery Authority having no regard for the heritage significance of one of its few heritage items,’’ he said.
The trust has raised its concerns with the new Heritage Minister, Rob Stokes, as well as lodging the request for an interim heritage order with his department.

An Office of Environment and Heritage spokeswoman said the Heritage Council was considering the trust's request and would provide advice to the minister.
Being placed on a heritage and conservation register "doesn’t provide additional statutory protection" for a structure, she added.

The Barangaroo Delivery Authority spokesman said it was currently developing its register in consultation with the Office of Environment and Heritage.
Its list will include the pumping station - readapted for use as public toilets - as well as an 1820s stone slipway and 1860s seawall, she said.