23 November 2021

Call for community feedback on plans to restore Tathra Wharf

| Albert McKnight
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Tathra Wharf

Tathra Wharf is a much-loved heritage icon on the NSW Far South Coast. Photo: Bega Valley Shire Council.

Plans are underway to restore Tathra Wharf on the NSW Far South Coast, and everyone who loves the iconic site – including fishers, whale watchers and general admirers – are encouraged to give feedback on its future.

Bega Valley Shire Council’s heritage application for the Tathra Wharf restoration project is now available for community feedback through the Heritage Council of NSW.

Council’s project services manager, Daniel Djikic, said the project aims to restore the wharf and its building in accordance with heritage requirements, as well as improve safety and accessibility.

“The state heritage-listed Tathra Wharf is an iconic part of our shire, but it needs to be repaired and restored so it can be enjoyed by future generations,” he said.

“Before we start the restoration work, we need to receive approval from the Heritage Council of NSW to ensure the project will meet their requirements.”

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Built in 1862, the wharf is one of the few remaining coastal deep-water wharves of the coastal shipping era. However, a Statement of Heritage Impact, prepared for council by heritage specialist Pip Giovanelli, said because the wharf has been repaired so many times it is unlikely any of the original timber remains.

The wharf almost didn’t make it into the 21st century as by 1973 its structure had deteriorated so much that demolition was proposed.

Restoration in the 1980s and 1990s saw substantial alteration to it, including destruction of storage sheds, reduction of deck size and curtailment of the stock race. However, the two-storey shed was retained.

The wharf was also significantly damaged during the 2016 East Coast Low, needing $500,000 in repairs.

After these repairs, it was discovered that almost half of the substructure (piles) and half of the girders had deteriorated so much they had to be replaced. All of the decking, stockyard and stock race needs to be replaced, too.

But the restoration will retain its focus on the heritage value of the wharf.

“At completion of the work, there will be very little evidence of change other than the appearance of new timber and fresh paint,” said Ms Giovanelli in her report.

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“Where fabric has decayed beyond a functional life, it will be replaced like for like.”

The proposed work is generally focused on the main deck and wharf. Handrails on the existing ramp will be reconstructed and work is also proposed for the stockyard and stock race.

The Heritage Council of NSW is inviting the community to review council’s restoration proposal and provide written submissions.

The Tathra Wharf Heritage Application and supporting documentation is available online, while printed copies of the documents are available for viewing at Bega Valley Shire Council’s customer service centre at Zingel Place in Bega.

Submissions can be made to the Heritage Council of NSW by Friday, 3 December, via:

The NSW Government has given Bega Valley Shire Council $7.81 million to put towards the upgrade of the Tathra Wharf and Headland precinct.

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