Sydney Harbour Federation Trust
The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust ("Harbour Trust") is an Australian Government agency established in 2001 to preserve and rehabilitate a number of defence and other Commonwealth lands in and around Sydney Harbour. These lands were off limits to the public, some for over 100 years. Over the last ten years, the Harbour Trust has remediated the lands and, with one exception, all are now publicly accessible.
The Harbour Trust has transformed the lands into urban parklands with walking tracks, lookouts and picnic areas. Precincts have been landscaped and services upgraded. Buildings and facilities have been renovated and leased to businesses as diverse as research institutes, restaurants and cafes, education providers, gymnasiums and office-based businesses. The Trust now offers short-term holiday accommodation at Headland Park in Mosman and Cockatoo Island which also boasts a camp ground with harbour and city views. An ecological sanctuary is being created at North Head Sanctuary at Manly.
Public programs run by the Harbour Trust include open days, guided and self-guided tours, children’s activity trails, a popular audio tour of Cockatoo Island, children’s vacation activities and a wide range of publications, interpretive signage, documentaries and other explanatory material.
The Harbour Trust has implemented a comprehensive events program to promote and utilise its lands, particularly on Cockatoo Island, the largest island in the harbour. Events have included a three-day music and cultural festival, contemporary art installations, a comedy festival, a component of the Sydney Festival and an international motocross competition. The island is a major venue for the Biennale of Sydney.
The lands managed by the Harbour Trust are:
- Cockatoo Island
- Headland Park, Mosman (Middle Head, Georges Heights and Chowder Bay)
- North Head Sanctuary (Former School of Artillery, North Head, Manly)
- Woolwich Dock and Parklands
- Macquarie Lighthouse
- Snapper Island
- Former Marine Biological Station, Watsons Bay
- HMAS Platypus Neutral Bay
A number of other bodies have responsibility for the management of lands around Sydney Harbour including the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority and the Sydney Harbour National Park, both entities of the New South Wales State Government.
Parking and other illegal activities on Sydney Harbour Trust land is enforced as a Commonwealth offence by special Sydney Harbour Trust rangers, which is a minimum $100 fine and is not enforced as a NSW-Government State Debt Recovery Office matter.