Transport NSW (Former NSW Roads and Maritime Services)

Putney, Sydney
2014 - 2016


Cosmos Archaeology were the consultants of choice to undertake an archaeological assessment of a derelict, 20th-century wharf on the Parramatta River, after a Development Application was made to NSW Roads and Maritime Services seeking its demolition. The project uncovered a fascinating link to Australia’s first brewery.

The wharf was part of the Halvorsen’s Boat Building Complex in Putney, which was established at the start of World War II, producing both military and pleasure craft until the 1970s. The boat building complex and associated 20th-century timber wharf were identified in the Sydney Harbour Catchment Regional Environmental Plan 2005 as a heritage item of state significance, and was nominated for a listing on the State Heritage Register.

Our skilled maritime archaeologists undertook an assessment of the complex, including diving inspections, and identified remains of a jetty dating from the 1790s. It was soon discovered that this jetty conveyed produce, beer, stores, supplies and passengers to and from the James Squires estate, where Australia’s first brewery was established.

After extensive surveying, our team produced an archaeological sensitivity map, which grades the maritime archaeological potential of a site. A report was also created, which provided expert advice regarding the preservation and management of the site in line with current heritage legislation. Cosmos Archaeology later undertook an archival photographic recording project of the timber wharf.