Balls Head Coal Loader

The Balls Head Coal Loader wharf is located on the western shore of the Waverton Peninsula in the North Sydney local government area, in Balls Head Bay. The Coal Loader is part of the historic Balls Head coal loading facility on adjacent land owned by North Sydney Council.

The wharf was built around 1917 and was originally used to store coal for bunkering vessels. From the 1970s it was used as a transshipment facility for exporting coal from the Hunter Valley. Wharf operations ended in 1992.

Updates and announcements

Roads and Maritime Services will be carrying out stabilisation work on the Balls Head Coal Loader Wharf, from Thursday 6 September 2018. The coal loader ceased operations in 1992, and has deteriorated over the past 16 years. Over this period many of the timber components have collapsed into the water and present a significant risk to navigational safety, both in the immediate vicinity as well as more broadly into Sydney Harbour’s busy shipping lanes.

Some emergency removal of collapsed timber elements and stabilisation work to minimise further damage to the structure has already been undertaken. This has required a considerable amount of the central part of the wharf to be removed. Unfortunately due to the advanced deterioration of the timber elements there is no option to reuse any of the removed structure.

The stabilisation work is necessary to address significant safety risks, and it will be overseen by structural engineers ensuring due care for the structure’s heritage values and potential future inclusion in the Sydney Heritage Register.

The work on this site includes:

  • Removal of the western terminal section of the conveyor frame.
  • Removal of the fourth and fifth sections from the western end of conveyor frame, including remnants of pumping equipment and pipes.

The landward section of the wharf is relatively stable and is not expected to be impacted by the current work. Roads and Maritime will continue to monitor the entire wharf after this work is completed to prevent any subsequent uncontrolled collapse.

Work is expected to be conducted between 7am and 6pm from Monday to Friday, and 8am to 1pm on Saturday and will take up to six days (weather permitting). There will be no work on Sundays and public holidays.

For more information please see the fact sheet (PDF, 52.2Kb) for the safety work at this site. If you would like to contact the project team please email

Balls Head Coal Loader wharf in disrepair
Close up of Balls Head coal loader wharf
Close up of Balls Head Coal Loader wharf
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