Finger Wharf

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Finger Wharf
Woolloomooloo Bay Sydney.jpg
The Finger Wharf and marina in Woolloomooloo Bay
General information
Town or city Woolloomooloo, Sydney
Country Australia
Construction started 1911
Completed 1915
Client Sydney Harbour Trust
Technical details
Structural system Timber
Design and construction
Architect Henry Walsh
The interior

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,[1] 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At the north end a carpenter's workshop used to exist, and has now been replaced by a concrete and steel apartment building detached from the main wharf building.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.[2] The Trust's Engineer-In-Chief, Henry Walsh, designed the massive waterfront building.[3]

The Finger Wharf was an operational working wharf for much of the 20th century. Each of the twin storey sheds was associated with a ship's berth and these berths were numbered 6 and 7 (on the east side), and 8 and 9 (on the west side).[4]

The shed for berth No.7 was altered in 1956 when it was upgraded to a passenger terminal. This section of the wharf was one of the principal passenger wharves in Sydney and was one of the first contact points for migrants to Australia.[5]

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.[3]

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.[6] Unions imposed a Green ban which stopped demolition crews from undertaking work.[6]

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, billionaire property developer Lang Walker, media personality John Laws, and Grant Barnes and Cara Doolan.[7][8][1]


  1. ^ a b Jonathan Chancellor (10 April 2003). "Crowe's new waterfront pad breaks the apartment price record". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  2. ^ MacMahon, Bill; et al. (2001). The Architecture of East Australia. Edition Axel Menges. p. 49. ISBN 3-930698-90-0. 
  3. ^ a b "The Finger Wharf History". Maju Sequence. Archived from the original on 21 August 2006. Retrieved 11 February 2007. 
  4. ^ "Woolloomooloo Finger Wharf | NSW Environment & Heritage". Retrieved 2018-02-13. 
  5. ^ "Woolloomooloo Finger Wharf | NSW Environment & Heritage". Retrieved 2018-02-13. 
  6. ^ a b Susskind, Anne (1991-01-15). "Live and let lie policy for wharf". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 2. ISSN 0312-6315. 
  7. ^ Lucy Macken (5 February 2017). "Russell Crowe pulls his Finger Wharf apartment off the market, says no to $25m". Retrieved 5 February 2017. 
  8. ^ Sams, Christine (2003-06-01). "On the move with Russell and Danielle". Sun-Herald. Retrieved 2006-10-22. 

Coordinates: 33°52′03″S 151°13′16″E / 33.8675°S 151.2210°E / -33.8675; 151.2210