A project to restore, revitalise and fortify the iconic Tathra Wharf has taken a major step forward with divers conducting deep water structural inspections and assessments onsite.
Constructed in 1862, the heritage listed wharf is one of the few remaining coastal deep-water wharves of the coastal shipping era, and findings from last week’s dives will inform the scope of the exciting restoration project announced by Member for Bega Andrew Constance late last year.
The wharf sustained significant damage during the 2016 east coast low event, which necessitated urgent repair works. During these works, it was found many of the piles are at the end of their serviceable life and need to be replaced.
Bega Valley Shire Council’s Project Services Manager, Daniel Djikic said the wharf has been an integral part of the shire’s history and for many in our community provided a real sense of place.
“For over a century and a half, Tathra Wharf has brought immense economic activity to our shire, firstly as the district’s lifeline to the outside world as a major deep-sea wharf and more recently as a major tourist attraction,” Mr Djikic said.
“The wharf’s importance and significance are reflected in its inclusion on the NSW Heritage Register and this project represents a once in a generation opportunity to secure its future.
“The underwater inspections mean we can now finalise the detailed condition assessment and start work on the detailed design and stakeholder consultation phase, during which we will be working closely with both NSW Heritage and NSW Crown Lands, our key State Government partners, in delivering this important project.”
Member for Bega, Andrew Constance, said Bega Valley Shire Council was awarded $7.1 million (excluding GST) under the NSW Government’s COVID-19 stimulus program towards the wharf restoration, including the sub-structure and decking, and developing a precinct plan for the Tathra Headland.
“Tathra Wharf is a recreation and tourism magnet that offers a great spot to fish, have a bite to eat, or just take a walk and enjoy the magnificent coastal views and marine life, so restoring it will secure this iconic attraction for many years to come,” Mr Constance said.
Minister for Water, Property and Housing, Melinda Pavey, said the COVID-19 stimulus program was upgrading community infrastructure while supporting jobs and local economies.
“The South Coast is one of NSW’s most beautiful regions but has done it tough with bushfires, floods and the tourism impacts of COVID so this infrastructure upgrade is very welcome,” Mrs Pavey said.
Due to the complexities of the project, it is expected the planning and detailed design work will extend through most of 2021, with construction planned to commence following the busy summer holiday period in early 2022.
Photo: Replacement of many of the deteriorated original 1860 turpentine timber piles is a major element of the Tathra Wharf Restoration Project.