13 May 2021

Deep dive marks the start of Tathra Wharf project

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Tathra wharf piles

Divers conducted deep water structural inspections and assessments at Tathra Wharf. Photo: BVSC.

A multi-million dollar project to restore, revitalise and fortify an historic wharf on the Far South Coast has taken a major step forward with divers conducting deep water structural inspections and assessments.

Constructed in 1862, the iconic Tathra Wharf is one of the few remaining coastal deep water wharves of the coastal shipping era and findings from the dives will inform the scope of the restoration project.

The heritage-listed wharf sustained significant damage during the 2016 east coast low event which necessitated urgent repair works. During these works, it was found many of the piles are at the end of their serviceable life and need to be replaced.

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Bega Valley Shire Council’s Project Services Manager Daniel Djikic said the wharf was an integral part of the shire’s history and for many in the community provided a real sense of place.

“For more than a century and a half, Tathra Wharf has brought immense economic activity to our shire, firstly as the district’s lifeline to the outside world as a major deep-sea wharf and more recently as a major tourist attraction,” Mr Djikic said.

Structural inspection

Replacement of many of the deteriorated original 1860 turpentine timber piles is a major element of the Tathra Wharf Restoration Project. Photo: BVSC.

“The wharf’s importance and significance are reflected in its inclusion on the NSW Heritage Register and this project represents a once in a generation opportunity to secure its future.

“The underwater inspections mean we can now finalise the detailed condition assessment and start work on the detailed design and stakeholder consultation phase, during which we will be working closely with both NSW Heritage and NSW Crown Lands, our key State Government partners, in delivering this important project.”

Member for Bega Andrew Constance said Bega Valley Shire Council was awarded $7.1 million under the NSW Government’s COVID-19 stimulus program towards the wharf restoration, including the sub-structure and decking, and developing a precinct plan for the Tathra Headland.

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“Tathra Wharf is a recreation and tourism magnet that offers a great spot to fish, have a bite to eat, or just take a walk and enjoy the magnificent coastal views and marine life, so restoring it will secure this iconic attraction for many years to come,” Mr Constance said.

Water, Property and Housing Minister Melinda Pavey said the COVID-19 stimulus program was upgrading community infrastructure while supporting jobs and local economies.

“The South Coast is one of NSW’s most beautiful regions but has done it tough with bushfires, floods and the tourism impacts of COVID, so this infrastructure upgrade is very welcome,” Mrs Pavey said.

Due to the complexities of the project, it is expected the planning and detailed design work will extend through most of 2021 with construction planned to commence following the busy summer holiday period in early 2022.

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