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Could the old Carrington pump house be the new Maritime Museum?

Could the old Carrington pump house be the new Maritime Museum? TweetFacebookCarrington pump house letter

Information lodged with the 1870s building’s heritage listing describes it as the firstof only two such power houses in Australia. The other, built in 1891at Ultimo, was used until 1975 and saved from demolition by the Heritage Council of NSW. It became Darling Harbour’s Pumphouse Tavern, and is now the Pumphouse Bar.

Responding to Mr Suter’s suggestion, Port of Newcastle chief executive Geoff Crowe saidplans were under way to build a plaza infront of the building and to restore at least part of its heritage facade. He said the building was in poor condition and would cost at least$2 million to $3 million to bring back to “structural integrity”.

“It’s a fair idea but there are major structural issues inside,” Mr Crowe said.

“It’s unsafe to enter. The flooring has disappeared among other things. It’s going to cost a significant amount of money to repair.”

Mr Crowesaid Port of Newcastle was concentrating on the outside space and the facade but longer term it would take someone with “deep pockets” to restore the inside.

“If someone approaches us we’ll follow it up,” Mr Crowe said. In February last year, the government saidthe Newcastle Port Community Contribution Fund would provide$300,000 for the plaza and $200,000 for thefacade.

This week, Port of Newcastle announced it would contribute $700,000 to the project, taking the total value to $1.2 million.

Mr Crowe said a contractor had been engaged and work was likely to start in June.

The 1870s brick building, formally known as a hydraulic engine house, stands at the corner of Bourke Street andCowper Street, Carrington, facing towards a nearby part of the harbour known as the Basin.It was probably designed by government architect James Barnet, whose other buildings include Newcastle Customs House.

It provided water power for coal-loading cranes on the nearby Basin wharves. Electrical power was added from the Zaara Street power station in Newcastle East from WWI but the antiquated hydraulics were still operating until the 1960s, when the equipment was pulled out.Used for storage until the 1980s, it hassuffered from vandals “despite security measures”.

e project does not include the interior of the building. Substantial restoration work, estimated in excess of $2 million to $3 million subject to further feasibility studies, would be required to fit the building out. The building is not connected to power, water or sewerage services and does not have adequate flooring, amenities, heating or cooling or internal walls.

As with all port land, Port of Newcastle is open to business proposals for adaptive reuse of the building, consistent with planning and heritage regulations and the port lease. Upgrading the building’s interior will require significant funds for repair, fit out and to connect to services.

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