The Finger Wharf and marina in Woolloomooloo Bay
|Town or city||Woolloomooloo, Sydney|
|Client||Sydney Harbour Trust|
|Design and construction|
The Finger Wharf or Woolloomooloo Wharf is a wharf in Woolloomooloo Bay, Sydney, Australia. The structure is the longest timbered-piled wharf in the world, and was completed in 1915. During its working life for around 70 years it mainly handled the export of wool, but also acted as a staging point for troop deployment to the World Wars as well as a disembarking point for new migrants arriving in Australia.
Today it has been redeveloped as a fashionable complex housing a hotel, restaurants and residential apartments.
The wharf, with a length of 410 metres (1,345 ft) and width of 64 m (210 ft), is composed of two side sheds running almost the length of the jetty, connected by a covered roadway between. The roofline is three parallel gable roofs and the external elevations are distinguished by a repetitive gridded structure.
At the north end a carpenter's workshop used to exist, and has now been replaced by a concrete and steel apartment building detached from the main wharf building. On the west side is a promenade running the length of the wharf with a marina on the waterfront and restaurants at the south end. On the east side is a roadway for vehicular access to a carpark for residents.
The Ovolo hotel (formerly the W & the "Blue" hotel) occupies most of the south part of the wharf building while apartments mainly make up the rest of the structure.
The wharf was built by the Sydney Harbour Trust between 1911 and 1915 with the charter to bring order to Sydney Harbour's foreshore facilities. The Trust's Engineer-In-Chief, Henry Walsh, designed the massive waterfront building.
The Finger Wharf was an operational working wharf for much of the 20th century. By the 1970s, new container ports with larger wharfing facilities and cruise liner terminals around the city meant the usage of the wharf declined. By the 1980s the wharf lay derelict and empty and in 1987 the state government decided to demolish the Wharf.
A new marina and resort complex was approved to replace the wharf in Woolloomooloo Bay, but when demolition work was due to begin in January 1991, locals blocked entrance to the site. Unions imposed a Green ban which stopped demolition crews from undertaking work.
Due to such a strong public outcry it was decided that the existing wharf would instead be renovated into a boutique hotel, featuring 104 guestrooms, loft-style suites and private residencies. Walker Corporation undertook that renovation. The hotel features several restaurants and bars, including the popular Water Bar, frequented by many visiting local and international celebrities. The hotel was officially launched as "W Sydney - Woolloomooloo" and it was W Hotels' first property to be launched outside of the United States. The hotel's licensing to Starwood Hotels & Resorts expired in 2007 and re-branded as "Blue Hotel", managed by Taj Hotels & Resorts. Notable residents include actor Russell Crowe and media personality John Laws.
- Jonathan Chancellor (10 April 2003). "Crowe's new waterfront pad breaks the apartment price record". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
- MacMahon, Bill; et al. (2001). The Architecture of East Australia. Edition Axel Menges. p. 49. ISBN 3-930698-90-0.
- "The Finger Wharf History". Maju Sequence. Retrieved 2007-02-11.
- Susskind, Anne (1991-01-15). "Live and let lie policy for wharf". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 2. ISSN 0312-6315.
- Sams, Christine (2003-06-01). "On the move with Russell and Danielle". Sun-Herald. Retrieved 2006-10-22.