Mort’s Dock listed on the NSW State Heritage Register

Sarah Ward Maritime Archaeologist

On Sunday 22nd May 2011, a dedicated crowd gathered at Mort’s Park  to commemorate the listing of Mort’s Dock on the NSW State Heritage Register.

Members of the Balmain Association, Heritage planners, Councillors, local residents and Member for Balmain: Jamie Parker, incoming Leichhardt Mayor Cr Porteous and Gabrielle Kibble of the Heritage Council of NSW were all present for this significant event. Sarah Ward, Maritime Archaeologist Office of Environment and Heritage for the NSW Department nominated the site for the Heritage register and opened the event acknowledging that the listing was a significant event for the people of Balmain and would have made Nick Origlass and Issy Wyner proud. It celebrates the social and cultural significance of the site and will help protect Mort’s Bay Park, in years to come.

Speeches made by the outgoing mayor and other guest speakers alike commemorated  the longtime efforts of the Balmain Association and resident action groups who have worked so hard over the years to improve and protect Balmain’s working harbour.

Gabrielle Kibble: Heritage Council of NSW, Mayor of Leichhardt, Rochelle Porteous, Member for Balmain, Jamie Parker

History: Balmain’s Mort’ Dock  named after Thomas Mort, was the first Dry dock of it’s size, opening in 1855 one year before Cockatoo island. It was the largest shipyard and engineering workshop, and the colony’s largest private enterprise.  Also home of the Ship Painters and Dockers union which was established on site in 1872 and instrumental in the creation of what was later become the Australian Labour Party in 1891.

Plaque unveiling at Mort’s Dock

Leichhardt Council, in partnership with the Heritage Council of NSW and the Balmain Association, cordially invite you to help to celebrate the listing of Mort’s Dock on State Heritage at an official plaque unveiling on

Sunday 22 May 2011 at 2pm at the former dry dock at Mort Bay Park.

Mort’s Dock was the largest shipyard and engineering workshop in Australia in the latter half of the 19th century. The site developed into the colony’s largest private enterprise and in many ways helped establish the colony and Sydney as Australia’s premier maritime port. The archaeological remains are possibly the only remains of a dry dock of this size preserved in situ.

Coffee and light refreshments will be provided by Leichhardt Council to celebrate the listing of this important historical item.

For any enquires on this matter please contact Leichhardt Council’s Parks and Open Space Planning Unit at or phone: 02 9367 9270 during normal working hours.

We hope that you can join us.

Sarah Ward
Maritime Archaeologist

Office of Environment & Heritage

NSW Dept of Premier & Cabinet