About the Coal Loader

The Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability (the Coal Loader) is the face of sustainability at North Sydney Council.

Located on the Waverton waterfront, the Coal Loader is a place to relax, be inspired, grab a coffee or lunch, and learn.

It is a platform for the delivery of a wide range of sustainability programs and a location where people can visit to be inspired to make change for sustainability in their lives.

It is a community meeting point and hub for Council's extensive range of environmental and sustainability programs and a site with an interesting history as an ex-industrial coal bunkering site on Sydney Harbour.

It has been transformed into a place which displays best-practice sustainable technology, community gardens, native bush nursery, food gardens, regenerated parklands and a fascinating history.

In 2011 the then Mayor of North Sydney, Genia McCaffery said:

"The opening of the Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability signals a major milestone in a very long process to save the site for current and future generations. It will now be a place where the community can come together to learn about sustainable living practices, or to simply enjoy the stunning park lands."


Genia McCaffery Centre

  • See how we retrofitted this historic building to demonstrate a range of sustainability concepts including stormwater harvesting, energy and water-saving technology, best-practice architectural refurbishing, use of solar power, low environmental impact materials and recycled materials throughout.

  • Grab some information on how to green-up your life.

  • Stop by the Book Swap to swap some of your old favourites.

  • Drop off your batteries, compact fluorescent lightbulbs, toner cartridges, corks, and mobile phones for recycling. 

  • Council staff are also on hand to show you around this building during opening hours.

Coal Loader Platform
  • See how we transformed the old coal loading platform into a green roof and public open space for North Sydney.

  • Check out the urban harvest precinct that comprises 40 raised garden beds, aquaponics facilities, fruit trees and herb planters.

  • Visit the native garden demonstration area and see what plants you can grow on a green roof.

  • Learn how we incorporated sustainable design and technologies into this sympathetic reuse of an ex industrial site.


Coal Loading Tunnels

  • Explore one of the 160m tunnels from the historic coal loading system. Visit Tunnel 1 and see the original coal feeder and cart still in situ.

  • Enjoy the walk through tunnel 2 to the bushland of Balls Head and beyond. Sensor lighting will turn on to guide you.

  • Two other tunnels are currently closed to the public with one being home to threatened micro-bats which roost in the alcoves in the ceiling! The other tunnel is lined with 50 rainwater tanks that store water that falls on the platform and is used for re-irrigation above.


Cottage Community Garden
  • The Coal Loader Cottage Community Garden has been growing organic vegies with its members since 2007.

  • Take a look at the different ways that food is grown - in the ground, in containers, up the wall, in water gardens.

  • Check out our different composting systems and worm farms.

  • Get some tips and ideas for your own garden or balcony.


Bushland Community Nursery

  • The community nursery is a vital component in Council's Bushcare program which protects and rehabilitates our local bushland.

  • Community volunteers are working with Council to propagate local native plants with seedlings being grown for bushland rehabilitation, green corridors and home habitat gardens.

  • Pop in on a Wednesday or Thursday to chat to our Nursery Coordinator, Helen, about growing local native plants.

  • Note we do not sell plants at the nursery.


Aboriginal Bush Foods Garden

  • The 'bush foods' garden has a variety of edible and otherwise useful native plants from the local area.

  • For more information refer to the Aboriginal Heritage Office.

Aboriginal Rock Engraving

  • Explore Aboriginal rock engravings thought to be thousands of years old.

  • For more information refer to the Aboriginal Heritage Office.



Space for the community

  • The Coal Loader is the base for many of North Sydney Council's sustainability programs and workshops.

  • View the event listings on now, or drop-in to to see what's on.

  • The Mess Hall and Genia McCaffery Centre are available to the community for hire for meetings and events. View the details and book.


Foreshore Park and Walks

  • The 2.8ha site features a native havens demonstration garden (habitat for fauna), wetlands, picnic areas, and foreshore walk.
  • The parklands have been developed using best practice sustainable design and construction. Read about the site's heritage and sustainable transformation on interpretive signs as you walk.

  • Walk from here to Balls Head Reserve and traverse the largest bushland remnant in North Sydney!


Studio Space

  • North Sydney Council annually invites an artist to work at the Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability for a ten month period, with lease. The selected artist will be passionate about creating works using sustainable methods and must be willing to share their creative insights with the community via workshops and regular interaction with site visitors. This low-cost studio program has been supporting local artists since 2007. For information contact A/Team Leader Arts & Culture 02 9936 8100 artsandculture@northsydney.nsw.gov.au

Coal Loader studio interior

The Coal Loader Cafe


Chook Run

  • Learn how to keep chooks at home.

  • Join the Coal Loader Community Garden to be part of a group caring for the chickens.


 Sydney Library of Things – coming soon  



Join in and get involved...

The Coal Loader and Platform has a range of ongoing events and activities that you can click to get involved with...!

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